Nowadays, agave syrup can be found in many kitchens as a vegan sugar substitute. Ideal for sweetening mueslis and drinks, the honey-like syrup has secured its position outside of coffee shops. It gets its pleasant sweetness from a mixture of fructose and glucose. The agave belongs, if you can believe it, to the asparagus family. Since the plant takes several decades to form an inflorescence, it is also referred to as a plant of the century. The cultivation areas range from the south of North America to the north of South America. The fruits or the finished syrup are therefore imported from overseas, which of course isn’t always very ecological. Very important for vegan cuisine: agave syrup is not suitable for baking.
Whether it’s for baking, cooking or unusual drinks, beaten egg whites are a very popular and versatile kitchen ingredient. And they have a revolutionary, vegan twin in the form of aquafaba, which can be used in exactly the same way as the animal product. This vegan miracle ingredient is obtained from water in which various pulses have been soaking or cooking. The word “aquafaba” is made up of the Latin words “aqua” (“water”) and “faba” (“bean”). Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are very often used, meaning that the color of the vegan equivalent looks almost exactly like the original.
During cooking, the high starch content of the water gels, making it viscous and thick. In 2014, a French chef found out by accident that this water can be whipped up to make a foam. This means it can be used as an emulsifier, a raising agent in baking, or as a replacement for beaten egg whites. Simply whisk the drained liquid with a little icing sugar until you get stiff peaks and the mixture is so solid that you can hold the bowl upside down over your head.
Butter is one of those ingredients which conjures up images of food lovingly cooked by grandmothers. The secret of why it tastes so great is simple: fat carries flavor. Whether it’s special blends of plant-based fats, oils and proteins, or shea butter or margarine etc., there are many different types of “vegan butter” for spreading on your children’s sandwiches, frying and baking.
Whether black, white or kidney beans - beans are part and parcel of vegan cuisine as they are so versatile and very healthy. It’s important to remember to always cook them through so that they don’t give you an upset stomach. The useful fiber in the beans can help to prevent the body from absorbing carcinogens (cancer-causing substances). Beans contain antioxidants which fight free radicals, thus helping to prevent cancer. What’s more, they contain relatively few calories, plenty of protein and are low in fat. It’s not without reason that beans are a staple of people’s diets in South and Central America. Why not try black bean brownies? They're really delicious and easy to prepare!
Behind the somewhat technical term ‘xylitol’ is a vegan sugar which is particularly popular in Scandinavia. The raw material for this, so-called wood sugar (xylose), hence the name birch sugar, occurs in birch wood. However, it is also made from other hardwoods and other raw materials such as corn cob residues, straw, cereal bran and sugar cane bagasse, the fibrous residues from sugar production. In terms of taste, xylitol hardly differs from normal sugars and is therefore an alternative for vegan baking and cooking recipes. With excessive consumption, birch sugar can have a laxative and bloating effect, so you should be careful with quantity. In addition to xylitol, erythritol, another sugar alcohol, is often used. Incidentally, sugar alcohol has nothing to do with alcohol in the colloquial sense and can also be used by alcoholics.
If you’ve chosen a vegan diet, it’s likely that in addition to doing it for the health benefits, you had animal welfare in mind. Leather, wool, silk, down, fur, buttons made from horn or mother of pearl, and raincoats impregnated with beeswax are all products of animal origin. Synthetic fabrics, or fabrics made from bamboo, linen or hemp are just a few of the alternatives. A vegan lifestyle can be about much more than just a vegan diet - it’s also a way of putting a great deal of thought into our whole lives and environment.
Coconut oil is a great alternative for frying and cooking, and you will find it on many an ingredient list for vegan recipes. Who knows whether it really has the healing properties that many claim it does. Substances in coconut oil such as lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid, in addition to various polyphenols, are indeed well known for their health-giving properties. High-quality coconut fat and coconut oil should never be confused with palm fat and palm oil, however, as they are obtained from different plants.
Many people are not aware of how many animal products are to be found in everyday cosmetics. Unfortunately, it’s very common for them to contain fats or substances from animal organs such as the kidneys. Yet the fact that vegan cosmetics do exist shows that another way is possible. A further advantage is that vegan cosmetics usually do not use animal testing. Isn’t it beautiful when beauty can be beautiful for everyone?
Coconut blossom sugar is a great vegan alternative to industrial sugar. It is extracted from the nectar of the coconut palm. In addition to important nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, zinc or iron, its glycaemic index is very low, allowing blood sugar levels to rise slowly and evenly. The taste is comparable to brown sugar and is somewhat reminiscent of vanilla and caramel.
Using conventional cleaning products will get your home really clean - but you might be using animal products in the process. In order to have stain-removing properties, they contain so-called surfactants, which bind grease and water together. Surfactants can be purely plant-based, but in some cases they are obtained from animal fats. What’s more, it’s also worth watching out for what the plant-based origin is, because surfactants obtained from crude oil or non-sustainably produced palm oil will make your cleaning products dubious for other reasons. If you want to be on the safe side, go for products with natural, sustainable ingredients which are labeled vegan.
Chilli sin Carne is an international vegan classic. This dish is hearty and spicy by nature. Unlike traditional “con” (with) “carne” (meat), Chilli sin Carne doesn’t contain animal ingredients. The secret? A stewed fibrous texture throughout and a fiery sauce that serves as a base for the casserole.
There are countless recipes featuring tofu, seitan or tempeh and different chilli varieties. Chillies from Latin America are traditionally boiled down, giving them more volume. In Mexico, beans are eaten as a side to the dish.
Asian chillies can be used in combination with more paprika. For children, simply swap the chilli for paprika.
In addition to ready-made chicken alternatives (like the popular Chicken Style Chunks), you can now make vegan chicken substitutes yourself.
Seitan serves as a great high-protein basis for making these. A simple seitan base mix is kneaded into a homogeneous mass with a little water and the relevant spices or vegetable stock. This then is cut into big pieces and cooked in a saucepan; the water used to cook it can be seasoned to taste too. To give the chicken substitute more texture, you can braid or carve the raw dough pieces before cooking. Another option for adding texture is to combine several layers into a larger piece.
Once cooked, the seitan chicken alternative is ultra-versatile and can be used in fricassees, salads or sandwiches – however you like!
Curries are a wonderfully filling vegan dish brought to us by Indian and South(-East) Asian cuisine! Quick to make, colourful and with an endless range of flavour possibilities, creamy sauces and spice variety make curries a popular dish, and not just in vegan cuisine. Peas, lentils and other pulses can be used as a basis for vegan versions. Mixed with fresh seasonal vegetables, vegan curry paste and aromatic herbs, a wholesome, healthy meal with high nutritional value and an abundance of flavour can be conjured up in next to no time.
Incidentally, the yellow curry powder is a spice mix which is more common in Europe – and used only rarely in Indian cuisine.
An alternative for sweetening foods without sugar is dried fruit. Figs, dates, raisins and apricots in particular are great for sweetening breakfast muesli, or smoothies. Especially when baking, dried fruit has long been used in a number of vegan and non-vegan recipes. In addition to many vitamins and minerals, digestibility is another reason for using dried fruit. Dates in particular have made a triumphal advance on our kitchens, not to mention the fact they are a great snack.
Dates play a greater role in vegan diets than many people would imagine. Thanks to its mild sweetness, you’ll find this palm fruit as a sweetener in many recipes where you wouldn’t expect it. Its firm consistency is a favorite for giving foods a basic structure – dates are often used in vegan snack bars, for example. Dates contain plenty of fiber and will get your digestive system moving again. By eating dates, you increase the number of gut bacteria that create a balance in your gut, thus decreasing your risk of getting bowel cancer or piles. What’s more, dates also contain vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin K, and folic acid.
Vegan variations on recipes for baking and cooking need an alternative to conventional eggs, and many people don’t want to have to do without their beloved omelette either... but that isn't a problem... Vegan egg replacement products usually need to be beaten like egg, and often use pea protein or starches such as tapioca, but they can also be made from linseeds and can be used in different proportions. Egg replacements are very easy to store and are an indispensable ingredient in vegan cuisine.
This vegan sugar alternative comes very close to the taste of normal sugar, it is found in fruit and pistachios, but is often chemically produced as a sweetener. Due to the similar taste to conventional sugar, erythritol is used a lot in baking. If you sweeten pastries, cakes, drinks or other foods with this alternative, then here’s another fun fact: erythritol contains zero calories. It is a sugar alcohol and often more versatile than xylitol. Incidentally, sugar alcohol has nothing to do with alcohol in the colloquial sense and can also be used by alcoholics.
Flexitarians (also referred to as ‘semi-vegetarians’) are people who refrain from permanent fish or meat consumption, but allow it in moderation. This flexible attitude gives flexitarians their name. Animal welfare, health and environmental protection are now a reason for many people to think more about the consumption of animal products and to deal with nutrition more consciously.
The Field Bean has many names: puff bean, field bean, broad bean, pig bean, horse bean, faba bean, faber bean, fava bean, cattle bean and thick bean. The thick bean shares only its name with the French bean – it is not related. The small protein bombs (8g per 100g) were eaten back in the Stone Age. Even on the salty North Sea coast, field beans were the first pulse cultivated there early in the first century AD. In addition to their high protein and fibre content, zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron make them small powerhouses. Egg substitutes are increasingly made from field beans because they have many advantages over soy. Growing is straightforward and possible in almost all climates, so expect to see the superbeans cross our paths more and more often.
When you want a gelling agent for a sweet or savory dish, there’s no need to use animal gelatin. Agar Agar, for example, is a well-known plant-based gelling agent made from seaweed, which is often used in vegan and vegetarian cooking. The gelling power of pure agar agar is ten times that of gelatin, which means it has to be proportioned accordingly.
According to some surveys, Generation Y, who were born between the early 1980s and late 1990s, make up around 60% of vegans. However, particularly among older generations, the proportion is fortunately increasing too.
As with all products made using gelatin, gummy bears nearly always contain animal-derived ingredients. This is because the collagen needed to produce the gelatin is often made from the bones of cattle or pigs. Foods which are dyed red are particularly likely to contain animal products. The additive “E120” is often used here. This code refers to the coloring carmine, which is obtained from dried female lice.
If you don’t want to have to go without gummy sweets, make sure you go for products which are marked vegan – because there are more and more animal-free alternatives on the market, and they’re just as yummy as conventional sweets!
Honey isn’t vegan! Good vegan alternatives are agave syrup, sugar beet syrup, dandelion or maple syrup. Dried fruits are also a great vegan way of sweetening muesli.
Vegablum’s plant-based honey alternative is super-sweet and produced without bees. This delicious “Wonig” is extracted from regional fruit and flowers and the product is 100% vegan right down to the label used. Free from palm oil and animal suffering, there’s a wide range of exquisite Wonig flavours to try out, with classic options like daisy, dandelion and nettle, while more adventurous culinary palates can jump straight into the eclectic apple pie, gingerbread or chilli flavours.
The easiest way for us to influence our immune system in a significant way is through our diet: if we eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, we automatically consume lots of vitamins, minerals and secondary phytochemicals which support our immune defenses. A balanced vegan diet provides the best conditions for a healthy immune system: the proportion of fruit and vegetables is significantly higher than in the average omnivore diet, and nutritious, fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds also contribute to the health of the gut and of the body in general.
Both too little and too much iodine can have a negative impact on the thyroid and overall health. Non-vegans tend to get their iodine mainly from meat and fish, but this needs to be replaced in vegan diets. In addition to iodized salt, iodine-containing seaweeds or algae are ideal for supplementing iodine levels in a targeted way without having to resort to artificial dietary supplements. The iodine content of plants and vegetables varies depending on the iodine levels in the soil in which they grow, which means that you can’t rely on a certain iodine level being present. Iodine deficiencies show up as weight gain, tiredness, skin problems such as dandruff or dryness, as well as concentration problems and hair loss.
The Jack fruit, also called jackfruit, Jack tree fruit, Jaca or Jacob fruit, grows on the relatively short trunk of the evergreen jackfruit tree. The plant species with its many subspecies belongs to the mulberry family (lat. Moraceae) and has its origin in the tropical areas of India. Today, the fruit with its many nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin C, beta-carotene, magnesium and potassium is grown in many tropical countries throughout the world. Jackfruit is playing an increasingly important role in vegan cuisine given that the fibrous fruit is ideal for hearty dishes. Meat-free goulash or ragout? No problem with JACK. Young fruits in particular are used, as they are a little firmer in their consistency. Left to ripen, the superfruit can then be enjoyed as fruit. The cores have it all too: B vitamins, magnesium, iron and sulphur are abundant and, cooked or roasted, the seeds taste similar to chestnuts or potatoes.
Animal products probably aren’t the first thing that springs to mind when you think of enjoying a delicious jam or marmalade for breakfast. But watch out: if it isn’t explicitly labeled as vegan, there may be animal-derived products hiding in your sweet fruit spread.
The problem here is the gelatins which are often used as gelling agents in jams. Adjuvants such as gelatins, glutin or collagen are all animal-derived, but don’t necessarily have to be mentioned on the label: this is because if these additives are just adjuvants “giving a helping hand”, there is no obligation to declare them. If you want to make sure you’re only consuming vegan products, you need to do your research – or ask. If in doubt, however, it’s easiest to just go for products which are explicitly labeled as vegan. There’s a great choice!
The secret to recreating the taste of eggs – KALA NAMAK is a specialty from natural, vegan, Indian cuisine. The vegan “universal remedy” is a seasoning with a great deal of talent. It’s a black salt with a characteristic sulfurous flavor, which can be used to give many dishes a delicate egg flavor. Perfect for vegan “scrambled eggs” or vegan “egg salad”, the seasoning is a basic part of the toolkit of any top vegan chef. Kala Namak is a very intense seasoning, so take care not to use too much! A tiny amount on the tip of a knife is often enough!
The reddish brown to purple colour of Kala Namak salt comes from its high iron content, making it an ideal way to top up your levels.
Lupins are a great example of how the plant world provides us with superpowers. Lupin protein (which starts off as a mass that looks like soft cheese) is often used as a dry powder. Sweet lupins are used to make vegan flour, vegan spreads, pasta, protein powder and even coffee, milk and meat alternatives. The lupin plant, which has colorful, almost butterfly-like flowers, grows in Europe too and therefore doesn’t need to be transported all too far for us to have it in our kitchen cupboards. This is an advantage in terms of sustainability which the food industry is also becoming increasingly aware of.
Miso is well known as a Japanese soup. The basis of the soup is miso paste, which is made from fermented soya beans. But this paste is so much more than just a soup ingredient. The piquant, salty flavor is very versatile, and can be used with ingredients such as tofu or seitan. Miso is also a well known example of the fifth basic flavor, umami. If you like your food strongly seasoned, you’ll love miso!
Gone are the days when you could only find a soy latte or oat drink in only the hippest of cafés. Alternatives to plant drinks is obtained from the proteins and fats of various plants. Almond, oat, soy, lupin and pea drinks have become a regular feature in many kitchen cupboards, even though the people buying them aren’t necessarily lactose intolerant. Intensive dairy farming, with all of its awful consequences for male calves and their mothers, has brought about an ever-growing increase in the popularity of plant-based drinks. The taste is also most certainly a factor! Nowadays, it comes as standard to be able to enjoy vegan plant drink with your muesli or in your coffee.
Vegan maple syrup is a favourite on PANCAKES. Even in tea or vegan salad dressings, the sweet brown syrup is used as an alternative to normal sugar. Maple syrup with its distinct taste is available in various shades; the darker the more intense the signature maple taste. The largest growing area is still Canada, the land of the maple leaf.
Nuts and seeds have been part of our diets since the dawn of humanity. The little powerhouses can be enjoyed as they are or can be used to cook with. Many nuts and seeds contain fiber, which has a positive effect on digestion. Most types contain various vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins and vitamin E as well as magnesium, potassium, sodium and phosphorus, alongside a small amount of carbohydrate and many “good” fatty acids. We should also mention some of the nuts which technically aren’t nuts - cashew “nuts”, for example, are not actually nuts, but are packed with almost everything that the “real nuts” contain, which makes them veritable little powerhouses as well.
Omega 3 fatty acids are very important for human metabolism. They are building blocks in our cell membranes, and they keep the outsides of our cells supple. They are also needed in the production of various tissue hormones (the body’s own messenger substances). Good vegan sources of omega 3 fatty acids include walnuts and linseeds, or linseed oil. The German Nutrition Society recommends a daily intake of 250mg per day.
The name Pescatarian is derived from the Latin word for fish ‘piscis’. Unlike vegans and vegetarians, the consumption of fish and seafood is a fixed part of the diet of pescatarians. They only abstain from the meat of warm-blooded animals, such as cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry, etc. Pescatarians can essentially be classed as vegetarians, as they have animal-based foods such as eggs, milk and honey, from live animals in their diet.
Small but most definitely perfectly formed. The small pulses have a very long and old history behind them, so much so that today it is no longer possible to say exactly where the small green balls come from. The pea calls the Mediterranean and Asia Minor its home and is grown all over the world. Peas contain just 81 calories and limited fat, which makes them ideal for healthy weight loss. 100 grams of peas contain seven grams of protein, four grams of fibre and eleven grams of carbohydrates. In addition, peas contain countless vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins E and B and beta-carotene as well as magnesium, iron, phosphorus, calcium and zinc. Peas are the new star in the sky of milk alternatives. Similarly rich in protein, pea milk also contains a number of omega-3 fat acids, is rich in calcium and can rival cow's milk or a soya drink any day. Quite simply the protein bomb among the vegan milk alternatives – and tastes like it too.
A balanced vegan diet with enough calories will provide sufficient levels of all the important amino acids. The main plant-based protein sources are pulses and whole grains. Additional sources include nuts and seeds as well as soy products, chickpeas and tempeh.
The biological value of plant-based proteins can be improved by means of preparation (boiling, steaming) or by combining very different plant-based protein sources. To be sure that you aren’t deficient in protein, it’s recommended that for a purely vegan diet, you consume 10% more protein than an omnivore should (0.8g per kg of body weight per day, plus 10%).
This alternative to milk is made from pea protein, and thus joins the ranks of other popular plant-based drinks made from almonds, oats, cashews, and soy. Its creamy taste is popular – and not just with coffee lovers. Pea-based milk alternatives are considered nutritious, protein-rich and low in carbohydrates. A combination which makes its nutrient profile appealing – and not just for sportspeople – because ingredients which are low in sugar and contain a whole host of healthy fats and proteins are a good choice for any of us. The icing on the cake is that pea-based milk alternatives also have a very good environmental footprint!
The quality of dietary proteins is generally determined by the biological value of the protein, in order to categorize what potential the protein has to meet our daily recommended intake. This “protein value” indicates how many essential amino acids are provided by the protein source. In this context, “essential” means that the body cannot produce them by itself, which is why we need to get them from food. The gold standard for a biological value equivalent to 100% is (arbitrarily) a hen’s egg. All other protein sources are then measured in comparison to the egg. It is possible, however, for a food to have a value of more than 100, meaning that the hen’s egg can be “outdone”, so to speak.
P for protein & power! It's no secret that vegan power bombs can pack a protein punch too, after all, plant-based proteins are more than equipped to meet our daily amino acid requirements. These vegan protein bars are ideal as an energy bar to snack on or for short recovery breaks during exercise. Based on nuts, seeds and grains, these powerful bars aid a fast energy boost, without weighing down your stomach. With an endless range of flavours to choose from, from savoury to fruity and sweet, there’s something for everyone.
Quinoa is an ancient domesticated plant, and belongs to the family of amaranthaceae, as does the grain amaranth. Quinoa shoots and leaves are edible, but the seeds are what are usually eaten – just boil them like you would do with rice. Quinoa is an outstanding source of essential amino acids such as lysine, tryptophan or cystine, as well as containing polyunsaturated fatty acids. Furthermore, quinoa has a high mineral content – containing minerals such as magnesium (approx. 300mg), iron (approx. 8mg) and potassium.
Originally rice syrup comes from Japan, but today it is also produced in Europe. It consists of glucose, maltose and multiple sugars and contains fewer calories than household sugar. A great feature of this vegan sugar alternative is the tolerability for people with a fructose intolerance. Since rice syrup has a high water content, its sweetening power is rather low, but this makes it ideal for vegan drinks and cocktails.
Do you crave vegan food with all the freshness of the sea, but without the fish? There’s a simple solution: seaweed. Whether it’s hijiki or nori, there are many countries where seaweed has always been used to give food the fresh taste of the sea. When paired with tofu or seitan, seaweed gives your food real flavor while fighting against overfishing and factory farming in the form of fish farms. It’s quite simple, really: “Seaweed doesn’t taste like fish; it’s fish that taste like seaweed, because that’s what they eat!” So what do we need to eat the fish for in the first place?! Give up fish without giving up the taste!
Seitan was originally developed by Buddhist monks in Japan, where it is also known as “Fu”. It’s easy to produce, as the basic mixture consists solely of wheat protein. It’s only when you add flavors and spices in combination with flavor carriers such as oils that you can create infinite savory vegan dishes. By pulling the mixture repeatedly and - watch out, here comes a tip for those who really take cooking seriously! - by kneading, you can create fibers reminiscent of meat or fish. This means that seitan can be used as the basis for vegan chicken wings, gyros and sausages - and whatever else our customers want to make from it. Unfortunately, as seitan consists mainly of gluten, this culinary all-rounder is one food that coeliacs and people with gluten intolerance need to avoid.
Is sugar vegan? Not always, unfortunately. During sugar production, animal bone char (a waste product of the meat industry) is used for filtering during the refining process. While this should theoretically no longer be the case in Germany, the process is unfortunately still particularly common in other countries, and still does not have to be declared on packaging.
This vegan sugar alternative has the advantage that it is produced in Northern Europe, which prevents long import routes. The syrup contains plenty of folic acid, iron, potassium and magnesium and is one of the alkaline foods. The malty, tart-sweet taste has something very special and so sugar beet syrup is often used alone as a spread or when baking. Insider tip: this syrup is perfect for giving a special sheen to dark sauces.
The stevia plant originates in South America and has a true star status among vegan sugar alternatives. Its up to 450 times greater sweetening power (compared to household sugar) and insulin-independent metabolization is a hit with diabetics and has led to real hype in Western countries since its approval in 2011. The low-calorie stevia is available in liquid, powdered or tablet form.
Tapioca - or tapioca starch - is obtained from the cassava plant and is a common ingredient in vegan products. The ingredient made from the South American super-tuber is often used in egg replacement products, for example. Tapioca itself is rather neutral in flavor, and completely gluten-free. You are particularly likely to encounter this type of starch while trying your hand at vegan baking.
Tempeh is a classic dish from Indonesia which consists of fermented soy beans. It has a more solid consistency than tofu. It’s perfect for marinading, as it absorbs the marinade very well. The fermentation occurs by adding a fungus, which is also responsible for the slightly nutty aroma. Alternatively, tempeh can be made from lupin grown in Europe. Tempeh made from soya is slightly more bitter, which is why lupin tempeh is, to a certain extent, becoming more popular in Europe. Proportionally, tempeh also contains more iron than tofu or seitan.
Tofu is probably the best known vegan ingredient. Originally from Asian cuisine, this soy product is now available in a seemingly endless number of variations. The terms “bean curd” or “soy curd” are often slightly misleading, even if tofu is a curdled liquid obtained after boiling soya in saltwater before pressing it.
Toothpaste often isn’t vegan, as it may contain animal fats (glycerin), beeswax or bonemeal. Vegan toothpaste is just one example of how it is possible to support using high-quality personal hygiene products which are plant-based rather than being of animal origin.
For a long time, scientists thought that there were only four flavors: sweet, sour, salty and bitter (“spicy” is not a flavor, it’s an irritation of the mouth). The fifth flavor, umami, was not discovered until 1907 - by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda in Japan. It is often described as “hearty” or “meaty”. The umami taste nerves on the tongue react to the salts of glutamic acid: so-called glutamates. Glutamates are present in almost all natural foods. The word “umami” is Japanese and means “delicious”.
People who decide to live a vegan lifestyle choose to give up foods of animal origin as well as foods where animal substances are used in the production process. Every person has different reasons for their decision. In addition to religious motives, veganism is based on arguments from animal ethics, environmental protection and sustainability, preventing world hunger or similar areas - or people might just choose a vegan diet for health reasons. The use of animal products (such as leather) or using animals for medical reasons (animal testing) are also issues within veganism. This means that for many followers, veganism means more than just a vegan diet: it involves a rethink in many areas of life.
What are vegans? Generally, those who have opted for a vegan lifestyle do not eat any products of animal origin like meat, fish, milk, honey or eggs. So no food from animals – dead or alive. However, this awareness goes a step further for many vegans: everything animal is dispensed with – even in cosmetics, medicines or clothing. The motivations are very different. In addition to religious or health reasons, animal welfare and animal and environmental protection play a strong role in the decision to opt for a vegan lifestyle.
People who refrain from eating killed animals, but do eat food such as dairy products, eggs or honey, i.e. from live animals, are called vegetarians. There are also many vegetarians who forego milk and egg products or who do not eat meat but do eat fish. This result? A number of vegetarians subgroups: ovo-vegetarians, lacto-vegetarians, ovo-lacto-vegetarians or ovo-lacto-pesco vegetarians. Vegans renounce everything animal – whether from killed or live animals.
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is water-soluble, has various functions in the body and is an essential nutrient. It’s involved in many metabolic reactions, such as building connective tissue, bones, cartilage, and gums. It’s known for its antioxidant properties, which means it protects against cell damage. It can also improve the body’s ability to absorb iron from plant-based sources. Furthermore, vitamin C is involved in the production of certain messenger substances and hormones, and plays a role in wound healing. The main sources of vitamin C are fruit and vegetables and their juices (or smoothies). Good sources of the vitamin include, for example, bell peppers, blackcurrants, sea buckthorn, parsley, kale, broccoli, fennel, citrus fruits, rosehips or cress. Many other foods are enriched with vitamin C.
Wine isn’t always vegan! Grapes themselves are of course vegan and the starting product, but animal materials are often used for clarification in conventional winemaking. For instance, casein, a protein produced using fresh milk, is frequently used to age turbid substances at the base of the cask. Animal egg-white protein, gelatine and dried fish swim bladders are used too. Since animal substances are used only in the production process, these do not need to be listed. Thankfully there are vegan wines, which are designated as such too. Only vegetable proteins, bentonite from volcanic ash and activated carbon are used for vegan wine. What is referred to as sedimentation is a very traditional process where the wine or must is left to stand and the particles settle. With careful skimming, these are left behind, gently improving the quality.
Xanthan is a natural polysaccharide, and is used as a vegan binding and gelling agent, among other things. As the human body is incapable of converting this type of carbohydrate, it is considered a type of dietary fiber instead. It is used in baked goods, soups, sauces, jams and ice cream. Particularly when used in the baking of bread or bread rolls made from a yeasted dough, xanthan ensures an open crumb and prevents doughs from losing shape during baking. Xanthan is a good vegan alternative to gelatin, as it is particularly high-yielding, meaning that only very small amounts of it need to be used to achieve the desired effect. As well as having a positive effect on gut health, this vegan binding and gelling agent has a neutral flavor, too.
Not only does conventional sugar contain masses of calories - health experts also have varying views on it.
Plant-based “Xucker” (a variation on the German word for sugar, “Zucker”) is a good alternative which is free from animal products, of course. The polyvalent alcohols xylitol and erythritol which go into it are obtained from plant fibers or cereal starch. As well as containing significantly fewer calories than conventional sugar, Xucker will also win you over in terms of taste. It’s a sweet win-win situation.