You might think they make for a great camping snack. They’re easy to pack and make for great fun around a campfire.
I bet you can feel a growing sense of dread in your stomach as you realize that I am indeed talking about marshmallows and there is a giant ‘BUT’ on the way.
They might taste good, and you might even think they smell good. But did you know that marshmallows are actually a lot worse for you than you might think?
Don’t worry, I’ll give you an alternative shortly. But first…
What’s in a marshmallow?
First, you’ve got our old friend sugar.
Did you know that a single marshmallow contains roughly 4 grams of processed sugar?
And let’s face it – few of us eat just one marshmallow in one sitting.
And with just 10 marshmallows, you’ll have blown right past your daily sugar limit. With marshmallows alone. Never mind whatever else you’re going to eat for the day.
Make a habit of consuming too much sugar, and congrats – you’ve now exposed your body to liver damage, fat increase, metabolic dysfunction and high uric acid levels.
Next up, gelatin!
Do you know what gelatin is made of? PETA does.
Gelatin – that gummy substance that thickens marshmallows – is made by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments and bones from cows or pigs.
A lot of people think gelatin is a totally healthy substance – mainly because it contains a great deal of protein.
The truth? Gelatin is really just filler. It contains protein, but the manufacturing process can leave it essentially devoid of any other nutrients.
And lastly, corn starch.
Marshmallows do also contain water.
So, we’ll end this marshmallow critique with a critique of corn starch.
Studies have shown that corn starch is every bit as bad for one’s blood sugar levels as processed sugar. Corn starch floods the bloodstream with sugar, which causes your pancreas to release more insulin than usual.
Your body responds to this excess insulin with cravings for even more sugar.
So, if we can’t eat conventional marshmallows, what should we replace them with?
Don’t you worry one bit – I’ve got you covered. With the help of The Vegetarian Baker, I’m about to show you a vegan marshmallow recipe that’s totally healthy!
- 4 teaspoons of agar powder (gelatin substitute)
- 1 cup of cold water
- 1 and 3-quarter cups of vegan granulated sugar (I recommend replacing with half a cup of honey)
- 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
Note: The Vegetarian Baker chose to include corn starch and powdered sugar in his recipe. I’ve left those out for the sake of keeping things as healthy as possible.
- To create your guilt-free marshmallows, soak the agar powder in half a cup of cold water for roughly 10 minutes.
- In another container, mix in the other half cup of cold water along with your honey or sugar.
- Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat – between 240 and 246º F.
- Then, place your agar and water mixture over low heat and stir until it dissolves.
- Next, pour your agar mixture over the sugar/honey and water. Add your vanilla extract in at this point.
- Whisk this mixture for 10-15 minutes until it resembles whipped egg whites.
- Pour your mixture into a pan and let this sit until the marshmallows have become firm. Then, cut them into small pieces and refrigerate in an airtight container.