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Answer: Yes. To give you a sigh of relief, flour is indeed vegan.
While the question has been a highly debatable topic, it’s safe to say that flour is vegan-friendly.
Flour has been around for thousands of years, and it is a staple in many countries around the world. But no matter where you’re from, you probably have some flour laying around in your kitchen or pantry. Maybe you use it regularly, or perhaps you bought it once for a party and forgot about it.
But regardless of the fact, you’ve probably consumed food made from flour at least once in your life. However, in recent years, with more people following a vegan lifestyle, it’s common to see people questioning whether a food is vegan friendly or not. And if you’re one of those people, you’re probably here because you’re wondering if the flour is vegan-friendly or not.
What Is Flour?
Flour is usually a white powder obtained by grinding grains, beans, nuts, seeds, or roots. It is commonly used to bake and cook different kinds of food, including bread, biscuits, cookies, and many more. There are also many types of flour you can find, and each flour has its unique purpose.
The earliest evidence of the use of flour dates back to 6000BC. However, the Romans were the first civilization to grind seeds for flour from cone mills.
How Is Flour Made?
Throughout our history, humans have been making flour in several different ways. Traditionally, humans made flour by grinding grains in between steel wheels and stones. However, with the development of tools, floor production has taken a much-sophisticated turn.
In modern days, flour mills come with modern machines installed in them that make the process much more productive. These mills require less labor and also make a higher quality of flours.
How Many Types Of Flour Are There?
When you talk about flour, the first thing that comes to people’s minds is wheat flour. However, wheat flour is not the only type of flour. Flour comes in more than 20 different varieties.
Here are some types of flour:
All-purpose flour is perhaps the most common type of flour. It is a mixture of hard and soft wheat and contains around 10 to 12 percent of protein. If you buy something that has “flour” written on the list of ingredients, it is most likely all-purpose flour.
As the name suggests, this flour is suitable for baking and cooking different types of food. It is great for making cookies, bread, pie crusts, pasta, and muffins.
Cake flour probably has one of the lowest amounts of protein among the different types of flour. It is low in gluten, making it an excellent option for baking soft food like cakes and muffins.
I love cake flour because it absorbs more sugar and liquid, allowing you to bake a moist cake.
Pastry Flour usually comes between all-purpose and cake flour with roughly around 9 percent protein. It is likely the best flour if you want to bake something flaky and tender.
Bread flour is the hardest and strongest flour with high protein levels. As the name suggests, bread flour is best for baking yeasted bread.
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is also very popular due to its high fiber content. It is an excellent option if you want to bake pancakes and cookies.
Gluten-free flour is the best choice for people who follow a gluten-free diet. You can also make gluten-free flour by using potato, rice, corn, quinoa, and a bunch of other ingredients. Gluten-free flour is excellent for baking cakes, pancakes, cookies, and bread.
So, Is Flour Really Vegan?
The reason why vegans debate on whether the flour is vegan is because they want to make sure no animals are hurt while making flour. If you’re a dedicated vegan, you’ll want to make sure that no animal is ever harmed for the food you eat. So the question arises, is flour genuinely vegan?
Let’s find out.
Usually, there’s no issue in consuming flour, whether you’re vegan or vegetarian. However, as vegans, you need to consider a few things before you consume this food.
Impact On The Environment
The industries that deal with flour production have a comparatively low impact on the environment compared to other sectors. For comparison’s sake, flour requires roughly around 1500 liters of water to make a kg of bread. On the other hand, other foods such as red meat production require more than 15,000 liters of water for one kg.
By looking at the data, it is clear that flour does not have a lot of impact on the environment. And as concerned vegans, this should make us quite happy.
Another advantage of flour for our environment is that it is present everywhere. And as such, the use of flour reduces the level of pollution by reducing transportation costs.
Is The Production Of Flour Humane?
Yes, the production of flour is humane since it can be locally produced. It means that you won’t find inhumane working conditions or forced labor in flour industries.
Farmers in the US usually control the production of flour, and as such, there are no poor practices in flour production. However, it is worth mentioning that most farmers that do produce flour have a hard time getting by.
Does Flour Contain Any Animal Products?
Flour is generally produced without the use of animal products or animal exploitation. However, you will come across flours that have animal bone marrow in them. But rest assured, it is unlikely for you to come across such a product.
That does not mean you should buy your flour with a blind eye without looking at the ingredients. There are several instances where flour also comes with small amounts of dairy products and eggs. These products are not vegan, and you should avoid them at any cost if you follow a vegan diet.
How To Identify Flour That Has Animal Products?
As said earlier, flours containing animal product is very rare. But since they do exist, you need to know how you can identify them.
Flours containing animal products are very easy to identify since they come with a different name. They will have a specific name written on them so you can avoid them with no issues. Animal-based flour includes bone marrow flour, crickets’ flour, and many others.
So, be sure to keep an eye out for them.
Is Flour Healthy?
As you already know, flour comes in several variants. However, the most popular flour is white refined flour. This flour is not healthy.
Since it is refined, the healthy part of the flour gets eliminated during the whole process. However, that does not mean that flours are not fit for vegans. As long as you choose the right ones, flour can be healthy too.
Below are some of the healthy types of flour:
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Quinoa Flour
- Almond Flour
- Coconut Flour
The above flours have a high nutritional value along with high fiber content. The best way to eat healthy with flour is to find the most natural products you can.
Nutritional Properties Of Flour
Flours, in general, have a good content of nutrients in them. The supply of those nutrients helps our body grow and enjoy good health.
You will mostly find flour in cereal products like pasta, cookies, bread, and biscuits. It is through those products that we get the nutrients to help us go through the day.
Some of the nutrients you’ll find in flour are fiber, vitamins, proteins, and carbohydrates.
Flour, especially whole wheat flour, is very high in fiber. Yet if you eat refined wheat flour, you will get none of those fibers.
In 100 grams of wheat flour, you will get about 12 to 15 grams of fiber. This means that flour contains fiber that is about 12-14% of its weight.
Flour is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including manganese, selenium, copper, phosphorus, and folate.
Protein is one of the essential nutrients that our body needs. It gives us energy and also helps repair our muscle tissues. Fortunately, flour is also very rich in protein as it contains around 7 to 22 grams in about 100 pounds.
Like just about every cereal grain-based product, flour also has a high amount of carbs. Unfortunately, consuming too many carbs is not healthy for the body. Increased consumption of carbs can lead to an unhealthy spike in blood sugar levels, and as such, it is not suitable for people with diabetes.
However, there are some processed flours that you can buy that contain a lower level of carbs. The consumption of this flour does not increase blood sugar levels, and so people with diabetes can also take them.
If you’re a vegan trying to sort out your diet, I hope this article has helped you. Yes, most people debate on whether flour is vegan or not. But since flours don’t usually contain animal products, it is definitely vegan-friendly.