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Prepared vegan food options grow along with public demand

Brianne Helms is a baker and creator of Vegan by BB. The Wayne County business produces vegan baked goods.

Ellen Pill

"The movement for being healthy and following a vegan lifestyle is really starting to find its way into the mainstream," Ryan Helms said.
His wife Brianne Helms is a baker and creator of Vegan by BB. The Wayne County business produces vegan baked goods.
"The reason I started doing this was my love of baking and passion for being vegan," Brianne Helms said.
The vegan baker also wanted a connection with the community, and vegan friends encouraged her. "It was time to do something that mattered to me, rather than just thinking about it," she said.
The term vegan is often misunderstood and/or confused with being vegetarian. Vegetarians do not eat any meat: no fish, pork, chicken, beef, seafood or any other food that involves killing an animal.
"Vegan is no animal products whatsoever," Brianne Helms said, "nothing that comes from an animal, whether the animal is alive or dead, including dairy, honey and some sugars."
Brianne Helms said she has observed benefits for herself from her vegan diet and/or lifestyle. "There are benefits for the animals, for your health and for the environment," she said. "Since becoming a whole-food plant-based vegan, my health has never been better. I don't get sick, and I have more energy."
Brianne Helms is referencing her diet, which includes no refined sugars, no refined flours, and no processed or refined foods of any kind including oil. "When a food is refined, you are losing all the health benefits, so the goal is to keep it as natural as possible," she said.
Brianne Helms believes demand has increased for vegan foods. "I think it has for many different reasons. Everybody has a different reason for being vegan or being plant based. People are becoming more open to it, rather than thinking it strange," she said.
She explained the broad range of reasons individuals might turn to vegan foods. "There are people with allergies and people who want to be healthier."
Vegan food can be an alternative for those allergic to dairy and eggs. It also can fit in with a diet for those who have heart problems.
The journey toward becoming a vegan baker began for Brianne Helms while writing a report about animal rights in a high school English class. "My love for animals is where I started, and that class sort of catapulted it from there," she said.
Brianne Helms is very conscious about not offending others with her life choices. "I don't want to offend anybody, but I feel very passionately. I'm just trying to live my truth," she said.
Brianne Helms has been a full-time vegan for seven years. "I'm committed. I make things that I like, so I think other people will like them. It's not about me. It's about helping animals. That's my main point," she said.
For those daunted by the notion of vegan cooking, the local baker offered some tips. "I can 'veganize' anything," she said.
Her favorite substitute for eggs in baking is ground flax mixed with warm water. Applesauce can be a substitute for oil.
"Many of our clientele are looking for a way to eat better and healthier, and it's definitely popular," Melissa Williams of Local Roots said, speaking about vegan offerings in the store. "You don't have to be vegan to enjoy vegan food."
Ryan Helms explained that he gets a lot of comments from people who don't understand what he eats. "One guy said to me, 'I just see you eating leaves and sticks.'"
Both Ryan and Brianne Helms laughingly asked that it be known they do not eat sticks.
"We are not deprived in any way," Brianne Helms said. "My whole family is vegan. I believe that food can be medicine."
Being vegan is about more than diet for the Helms. "It's a whole lifestyle," Brianne Helms said. "It's not just the way I eat. My shoes have to be vegan: no silk. If it came from an animal in any way, shape or form, it's not in my home or part of my life. The last car I bought, I did research to make sure there was no leather in it."
The baker explained her thoughts on the environment and agriculture. "What we are doing to the environment with animal agriculture is appalling," she said. "It's important to learn what's going on. If you don't know, you can't do anything about it."
Through her baking Brianne Helms wants to raise awareness and share information about a vegan lifestyle choice. "One person can make a difference," she said. "Such a big impact can be so simply made. What you eat can change the world for everyone."

Published: October 11, 2017
New Article ID: 2017171009967