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Do vegans eat whole wheat bread?

by Natalie
(San Francisco, California)


I bought some whole wheat sourdough bread today and the ingredients were: whole wheat flour, unbleached wheat flour, water, sea salt, barley malt, vitamin C (in trace amounts)

I hear many vegans say they don't eat even whole wheat bread. I called the number on package and asked the manufacturer if it was vegan and they said it was. If so, why do vegans refrain from whole wheat bread??? It is vegan... right? I'm newly vegan and I've been trying to figure lots of stuff out so I realize I haven't been most knowledgeable as of late :/ But this site has really helped me out. It's great!!! Thank you :)


Congratulations on making the change to veganism. You ask a very good question, and one that I think a lot of people wonder about. If something is vegan, but vegans say they don't eat it, what gives?

For something to be vegan, it can't have any animal products. Vegans will always stay away from anything with meat, dairy, eggs, or byproducts of animal products. One common byproduct of animals that you'll find in bread is honey. So, perhaps the vegans you've heard this from are referring to some byproduct like honey, or even whey or butter.

If, however, they are talking directly about a bread that they know to be vegan and they still say they aren't going to eat it, you might be talking to someone who prefers to stay away from bread in general.

Many vegans also choose to eat healthier foods in addition to following the lifestyle simply for ethical reasons. There are now so many junk food products that are made without animal products that you could subsist on an entirely unhealthy diet and still be vegan. And, some people do, and even then I would probably say their bodies are better off than if they were eating the meat equivalents. I've heard of someone who lost tons of weight entirely by switching from regular hamburgers to veggie burgers, and so on with all his old fast foods.

In the past, that wasn't really the case. People who chose to be vegan for ethical reasons often ended up eating healthier foods because of the lack of vegan ice creams, cheeses, faux meats, chips, cookies, and cakes in stores, and the amazing recipes to make any of the above at home. We are now lucky enough to be able to eat virtually anything we want, but that doesn't mean that all vegans will eat that stuff.

Many of us still try to stick to healthier, more macrobiotic diets. I personally advocate a diet based on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. That's not to say that I never eat junk, because I do, but I feel much better when I eat the way my body likes best.

So, what I think is happening when you hear of vegans saying they don't eat whole wheat bread is that they might be trying to eat more actual grains, such as quinoa, rice, barley, teff, millet, etc, rather than eating a bunch of baked goods made from flour, even if it is whole wheat. And plenty of people completely avoid wheat itself, regardless of whether it's in its whole form or not.

If you like to bake at all, you might enjoy my ebook, The Vegan Bread Box, which is filled with bread recipes. There are a few that are made with totally whole grains, and you can easily adjust to make things gluten-free, sugar-free, or put in add-ins to suit your taste.

I hope this helps!

Comments for Do vegans eat whole wheat bread?

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Newly vegan
by: Grace Fabian

Thanks Vegan Nutritionista! I got an answer about whole grain bread. I'm newly Vegan.

No more wheat for me. Why?
by: Alice

I've been vegan for three years now, and the diet changes cured most of my health problems. I changed my diet for athletic performance, like triathlete Brendan Brazier and firefighters in growing numbers, and soon found wheat to be an inefficient fuel that wants to settle around my middle. After reading Wheat Belly by William Davis MD and Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, MD, I know what a monster modern wheat has become, and I have avoided it completely for the last month. The high-yield, dwarf wheat strains grown since 1985 have many times more gluten than the wheat we grew up with, and has been linked to Alzheimer's, diabetes, heart disease and more. Even the 100% organic, sprouted grains I was eating sparingly were subtracting, not adding to my health or anything except that last five pounds around my middle. Rice and quinoa occasionally are my only starchy carbs and I feel great at last. No folded wheat proteins clogging up my brain.

Do vegans eat whole wheat bread?
by: Anonymous

I have found that many times people confuse my vegan eating habits with being Celiac or wheat gluten sensitive. I'm not sure why. Someone will often say: Oh yes, I try to stay away from wheat too! I wonder how a wheat free diet ties into a vegan diet. I wonder if people who are Celiac are advised to follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. Though I can be sensitive to conventional wheat products at certain times (when I am particularly ill from asthma); however, most of the time I eat whole wheat bread (organic and/or sprouted), vital wheat gluten and bulgur on a regular basis as they are all plant derived and healthy. If a wheat bread has an animal product in it, there are plenty more that don't, so I rarely have a problem. The best way to eat any food is in its natural state (the more processed something is the less nutrients it retains) so, I'd say whole wheat bread is a far cry from whole wheat berries. Maybe those people are so conscience of their eating habits that eating processed food is in the same category as eating animal products when it comes to health, like Cathleen said. Also, as Cathleen stated, I'm one of those people who started off my vegan diet eating processed vegan foods and yet, my health still increased dramatically. Now I'm doing even better since I started incorporating more whole foods into my diet.

Whole wheat bread
by: Margie

I just make my own whole wheat bread and leave out the egg, etc. It is delicious and the whole family loves it. I'm the only vegan in the house, but since I'm the cook, it's easy for me. Since becoming vegan nearly a year ago my diabetes has completely reversed. My a1c's are perfect and I don't take any medications. I watched my dad die slowly from heart disease as a result of diabetes, so I am thrilled with the vegan lifestyle. I try to stay away from junk food, and especially refined sugar. We joined a farm co-op at church so every week I get a big load of veggies fresh from the farm down the road. Life is good!

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