Honey Substitutes for Vegans
Although the issue of honey is not considered the most insistent concern of many vegans, honey is nonetheless considered an animal product.
Because there are various alternatives to honey, from a vegan standpoint there is no reasonable justification for using it. Moreover, the vegan position on honey is conclusive.
Honey was banned for use by vegans according to the 1944 philosophy of the British Vegan Society. This position is a constant with the requirement for full (vegan) membership in the American Vegan Society since its foundation in 1960.
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Even though honey has a delectable flavor, is versatile and has numerous medicinal properties, pure vegans choose to avoid this enjoyable nectar because it’s harvested from bees.
If you are a pure vegan and you want to indulge in sweets, there are numerous alternatives available. You don’t need to choose between abusing humans or bees in order to satisfy your sweet tooth. In truth, you can either eliminate sweets from your diet or choose empathetic alternatives.
Gratefully, there are numerous honey substitutes, all with their own distinct qualities. These sweeteners are 100 percent vegan, and many contain healthy vitamins and minerals. Moreover, the sweeteners can generally be used as a honey alternative in most recipes.
Agave Nectar: This vegan substitute looks and tastes similar to honey. Agave Nectar is either beautiful light brown or dark amber in color. The darker nectar tastes comparable to caramel. While the light colored of the two closely resembles honey.
Coconut Nectar: This sweet nectar is made from the reduced sap of coconut palms. It is high in many healthy nutrients such as amino acids, minerals and vitamins (particularly B vitamins). It’s also low on the glycemic index (a less impact on blood sugar). This sweet treat has a mild sweet coconut flavor and is a great alternative to honey with a 1:1 ratio. Add Coconut Nectar
to smoothies, breakfast cereals like granola and other sweet treats.
Date Paste: Not only are dates naturally sweet but they are high in antioxidants, minerals and fiber. You can either buy date paste or make it easily at home. Simply soak 1 cup dates and ½ cup liquid such as filtered water, apple or orange juice. Blend the mixture in a food processor until well mixed. You can use more or less liquid, depending on your preference. Date paste can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Use to sweeten cakes, cookies, brownies, ganache, puddings, pies and more.
Maple Syrup: Pure maple syrup is not just for pancakes or French toast. This decadent sweetener is a great vegan alternative to honey. You can use it in various baked goods like cookies, cakes or homemade granola.
Quick Note: Generally the best maple syrup is organic Grade B; it is richer in flavor and a lot more nutritious. This is because Grade A is heavily filtered.
Yacon Root Syrup: This sweetener is extracted from the tuberous roots of the yacón plant (Smallanthus sonchifolius) indigenous to the Andes Mountains; Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru. It was consumed by the Incas and is still utilized by the Peruvian people for it medicinal properties.
It is said to be an excellent antioxidant and is used as treatment for diabetes, digestive problems, constipation and renal disorders. Moreover, according to Wikipedia, research shows that a daily intake of yacón syrup produced a noteworthy reduction in body weight when given to obese pre-menopausal women.
Yacon Root Syrup is a rich source of iron, high in fiber, helps with the absorption of magnesium, acts as a pro-biotic, is low-glycemic (won’t spike blood sugar) and contains about 50% FOS or Fructooligosacharides. Even Dr. Oz has made waves about Yacon Root Syrup. As well, it is very low calorie compared to other sugars. A 100-gram serving of fresh roots contains as few as 14 calories.
The light type of syrup tastes similar to caramel and the darker versions tastes more like molasses. Like molasses, Yacon Root Syrupis dark and sticky and thick. This sweet treat adds a nice appeal to teas and desserts. With its distinctive flavor, it is best paired with raw food recipes.
Smoothies or raw desserts are particularly a good match with Yacon root syrup. What is more, it is healthier and far tastier in baking compared to molasses or brown sugar. It can be used measure for measure, as you would use honey in any recipe.
Stevia: This newfound ancient plant is native of Mexico, South America and Central America. There are also several species that found in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. Stevia rebaudiana is the most sought after species. Nonetheless, other Stevia species are also consumed.
Guarani Indians of Paraguay use Stevia (ka’a he’ê) for numerous conditions such as hypertension, heartburn, obesity, infections, to lower uric acid levels and as a cardiac stimulant.
In China and Asia, people drink stevia leaf tea for its anti-aging and longevity properties. And more, in Brazil it is used to treat high blood pressure, diabetes and depression or anxiety. For more information on stevia see Stevia | Hip or Hype?
You can add Stevia to teas, coffee, smoothies and just about whatever you prefer. It is also available as a powder and as a concentrated liquid. What is more, it is a great substitute for honey.
Note: A little bit of stevia goes a very long way. The average rule of thumb for 1 cup of sugar is:
- 18 to 24 stevia sweetener packets
- 1/2 teaspoon of undiluted stevia powder
- 1 teaspoon of liquid stevia extract (concentrate)
I also encourage you to taste whatever you are cooking before you add more stevia. Always start with a little and add more according to your taste. Also note that the volume will be very different than what you’re used to e.g. less liquid if you typically use honey, etc.
Other Honey Substitutes for Vegans
There are two other honey alternatives worth mentioning; Barley Malt Syrup and Brown Rice Syrup. Both of these sweeteners have individual nutritional value and their own unique taste.
Barley Malt Syrup is ideal for baking dark breads like rye, pumpernickel or wheat. It’s also great over cereal and on pancakes, plus makes moist gingerbread, spice cakes and muffins. Use 1 1/3 cups of barley malt for 1 cup of sugar, and reduce the liquid in the recipe by approximately ¼ cup.
Brown Rice Syrup can be used in baking and cooking to sweeten foods. It has a similar consistency to honey but has a mellower taste that still satisfies your sweet tooth. For a sugar substitute, use 1 ¼ cup rice syrup for one cup sugar, using ¼ cup less of another liquid in the recipe. Try drizzling brown rice syrup on pancakes or waffles, to sweeten iced tea or in baked goods such as cookies, muffins, cakes or puddings.
Finding the Best Honey Alternatives
Disclaimer: The statements enclosed herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products and information mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. Before starting any diet or introducing new foods into your regular eating habits, seek expert advice.
Honey and crackers: avrene via photopin cc
Honey in tea cup: Flооd via photopin cc
Honeycomb: chrisjohnbeckett via photopin cc
A jar of maple syrup on wooden stand: Chiot’s Run via photopin cc
Yacon root syrup: CIP Headquarters via photopin cc
Stevia plant: Monitos en la pared via photopin cc