Here’s My Beef With Vegan Donuts

Over the past couple of years we’ve witnessed an explosion in vegan-friendly donuts and donut shops taking root across the country. Vegan donut shops are sprouting up everywhere along with vegan-friendly offerings from many traditional donut shops. So what’s so special about vegan donuts?

Let’s explore the vegan lifestyle for just a sec…consume no animal products, by-products, or derivatives of any kind. This includes meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, cow tongue, chicken feet, sheep brains – you get the idea.

So what goes into making a traditional vs. vegan donut? Your run-of-the-mill traditional raised donut generally consists of flour, sugar, water, eggs, milk, butter (or shortening), and yeast. So making a vegan donut is as simple as skipping the eggs, milk, and butter, right? Not so fast.

Eggs provide leavening, binding, and flavor while the milk adds moisture, smooths the dough texture, and aids in gelatinization of starch in the flour. Oh, and butter? Butter adds flavor, flavor, and flavor, along with tenderness and some leavening (think puff pastry). Without these essential ingredients, you’d be left with a sweet dried clump of flavorless sugar-flour.

How then, exactly, do you make a vegan donut without all those animal products? After all, vegan donuts still need leavening, texture, tenderness and flavor – all the same features of their non-vegan friends. Well my friends, the name of the game is substitution.

There’s a myriad of vegan alternatives to traditional baking ingredients, including various “milks” such as coconut, soy, rice, almond, and a few others. Eggs have several substitutions, while vegetable-based oils and even certain margarines can be used as suitable substitutes to butter.

Ok, if I’m being honest with you, I don’t have a beef with vegan donuts…per se.

My contention lies squarely on how vegan donuts are perceived and misunderstood by the general un-vegan-educated public. The vegan lifestyle is esteemed by many as the epitome of healthy living. Shunning cancer-causing animal products leads to unsurpassed vitality and longevity. But donuts, even vegan donuts, when consumed in excess, are not good for you. Let me be clear here:



Besides the obvious fact that the words ‘healthy’ and ‘donut’ shouldn’t ever be in the same sentence, the facts don’t lie. Excess consumption of carbohydrates and fats, and yes, even vegan carbs and fats, will inevitably lead to a waistline whose shape and circumference resembles that of an actual donut.

Yes, you CAN safely argue that vegan donuts are in many ways healthier than traditional donuts, just like a Quarter Pounder w/Cheese is healthier than a Double Quarter Pounder w/Cheese. Bottom line is too much of either can be bad for you! So next time you think you can pound a dozen vegan donuts because “Hey, they’re healthy!”, think again my friends, and take all indulgences in moderation, even donuts.

To all my vegan friends and vegan donut shops, I love you, and fully support what you’ve done to make vegan donuts available to the masses, and encourage anyone who is hesitant to try a vegan donut to put down the steak knife for a minute and broaden your horizons…in moderation of course.


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