As well as the much-documented health and environmental benefits of the vegan diet, a large driving force is the desire to prevent cruelty and exploitation of animals.
For some vegans, eggs fall into a grey area here; however, most will argue it is, in fact, black and white- if you eat eggs, you are not a vegan.
Confused? Let’s delve further into this interesting and controversial topic…
So, are eggs vegan?
No. The reason is simple. The vast majority of vegans don’t like to eat anything which has been produced through the exploitation of animals.
As eggs are produced by hens using their reproductive system, eating eggs is not the right thing to do.
The grey area arises with regard to their exploitation. Laying eggs is a natural process for chickens and causes them no harm, so what is the problem?
The problem lies firstly in the barbaric treatment factory farming hens are made to endure.
Male chicks are killed and discarded at birth (260 million each year in the US alone).
It’s not much nicer for the females whose lives are spared.
Their beaks are hacked off to stop them from pecking each other in their horribly cramped cages, where these normally clean animals resort to urinating and defecating on each other.
Then, the second issue is that they are- exploitation grey area aside- undeniably an animal product.
But what about if the hens are free range?
That does not play a role as far as most vegans are concerned. They are still animals producing food for human consumption.
Do some vegans eat eggs?
Yes, there are vegans that eat eggs. An increasing number of “veggans” allow themselves eggs on the basis that there is *no* exploitation or harm in free-range and ethically-harvested eggs.
Stauncher vegans argue they are still animal products.
Where you stand here is, of course, a personal choice.
What About Vegan Eggs Substitutes?
If you are in the more staunchly vegan camp, don’t worry, there are plenty of alternatives when it comes to eggs.
One of the most popular ones is linseed. It is a staple in many vegan households and is found in most vegan pantries. Linseed (also known as flaxseed) is one of the more cost-effective alternatives to eggs. On top of that, the health benefits of linseeds are well documented.
When you would like to follow strict vegan rules and avoid eggs, you can also try other foodstuffs. The most popular ones include:
- Apple sauce
- Egg substitute powders
- Ripe bananas
- Silken tofu (for scrambled eggs or pureed for baking)
- Tapioca starch
Apple sauce is great for adding to your baking. When baked, it achieves more or less the same constituency as eggs do when they are baked.
In the stores you can also get decent egg substitutes from brands like JUST, Simply Eggless and Follow Your Heart.
Can I Use Chickpea Flour As An Egg Substitute?
With the cost of many foods going up, using chickpea flour as an egg substitute is becoming increasingly popular.
The only problem is that the taste is not quite there. To make chickpea flour taste more like eggs, you can add black salt.
Black salt is a unique tasting experience. If you have never heard about it before, you must try it as it can take your vegan cooking to the next level. Produced in India, Nepal and Pakistan, it is a natural salt also known as kala.
Black salt is also well known for its therapeutic properties. Kala and Ayurvedic medicine go hand in hand.
Are Eggs Substitutes Healthy?
All egg substitutes are good for you. If you are using powders, you want to make sure that no flavour and colourings have been added. It is easy to presume there are no “e numbers” in ready-made vegan food; unfortunately, that’s not the case, and it’s worth a double-check.
Are eggs vegan? Although in principle no animal has been harmed during organic or free-range eggs production, eggs are still not considered vegan by the virtue that they do exploit animals.
Luckily, for the stricter vegans who refuse even the ethically-harvested eggs, there are many great substitutes available.
Check out this super-easy vegan scrambled egg recipe from those wizards at Bosh…
If you enjoyed this article, check out our other pieces on vegan food!