Vegans in US can still satisfy junk food craving

VEGAN JUNK FOOD: A woman holds a Cuppy Cake Kabob at the Healthy Junk Vegan Faire on July 31 in California.


    Aug 11, 2016

    Vegans in US can still satisfy junk food craving


    VEGAN diets are considered by most as healthy and environmentally responsible, with celebrity poster children touting benefits like weight loss, clear skin and more energy.

    But even vegans - who eschew all animal products like meat, eggs and dairy - crave junk food.

    As the movement becomes more popular, temptations including doughnuts, pizza and mock burgers allow vegans to eat just as badly as everybody else.

    "There are a lot of unhealthy options. It's hard to resist at first," Jessica McCully, 28, said at a vegan food festival in the Los Angeles area, a fake chicken taco in her hand.

    She is a new convert to "mock meat" and says that in just two months of adopting a vegan diet, she feels happier and "more energetic."

    According to a Harris Interactive study, between seven and eight million Americans identify themselves as vegan.

    Today's animal product-free diet goes beyond the stereotypical lentils and granola, with restaurants offering gourmet vegan dishes like watermelon salad with almond cheese and toasted pistachios.

    There are also restaurants serving "comfort" vegan food, such as tofu or mock meat that has been breaded and fried.

    Los Angeles even holds an annual "Vegan Oktoberfest" - allowing vegans to imbibe while sampling from an assortment of indulgent snacks.

    At the vegan food fair in the suburb of Anaheim, bowls of quinoa are hard to find. "I like my junk food; I won't lie," said Lori Whitaker, 54, who was standing in line.

    Today, she said: "You can get a vegan pizza, a vegan taco - I think this is great because a lot of people think vegans eat only celery and carrots."

    In LA's hipster Silver Lake neighbourhood, Donut Farm sells vegan sugary, fried confections in flavours like green tea and salted caramel.

    But at the end of the day, "it's a ball of fried dough with lots of calories", said sales person Chris Boss.