Vegan Deli

Vegan Deli  by Jo Stepaniak

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Raising Vegetarian Children
by Jo Stepaniak, M.S.Ed., & Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D.

Raising Vegetarian Children

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Do you have questions about being vegan? Send them to Jo using this easy form. She would be happy to address your individual concerns as well as general inquiries about vegan ethics, philosophy, practical applications, and living compassionately. Jo cannot respond to questions about nutrition or answer questions that have already been addressed in the Archives

Jo will make every attempt to answer each question personally, however, due to her schedule, this may not be possible. If a reply is forthcoming, it could take up to a few weeks, so please be patient. It is also possible that your question will be answered directly in the "Ask Jo!" column rather than an individual response.

If you'd like to view previous questions Jo has answered, visit the Ask Jo! Archives.

Hidden Ingredients

question.gif - 1.4 K I have been a vegetarian for over a year now and am beginning to pursue my beliefs a step further into veganism. The only major obstacle I am finding is that many of the ingredients in foods are animal products or by-products in disguise. I was curious if you might be able to provide a list of sorts, identifying the most common animal products used that I wouldn't otherwise recognize.

answer.gif - 1.3 K There are a number of ingredients often found in commercially-produced food products that are typically animal based and easily identifiable. A few of the most common are albumin, calcium caseinate, calcium stearate, carmine, casein, cochineal, gelatin, honey, isinglass, lactase, lactose, lard, myristic acid (tetradecanoic acid), oleic acid (octadecenoic acid), palmitic acid (hexadecanoic acid), pancreatin, pepsin, propolis, royal jelly, sodium caseinate, suet, tallow, and whey.

What complicates matters is that many ingredients that appear to be animal-derived could also have been made from plant sources or produced synthetically. Some of these are adipic acid (hexanedioic acid), capric acid (decanoic acid), clarifying agents, disodium inosinate, diglyceride, emulsifier, fatty acid, glyceride, glycerol, lactic acid, magnesium stearate, monoglyceride, natural flavoring, polysorbate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, and stearic acid. Often manufacturers don't know if their ingredients are from animal or non-animal sources because buyers frequently alternate among suppliers depending on who has the lowest market price. In other words, there may be no definitive way for you to determine the origin of certain ingredients.

Many people who are new to veganism get caught up in an endless and frustrating search for "hidden" animal ingredients. Some vegans become consumed to the brink of obsession with unearthing the tiniest trace of animal derivatives. Sadly, this misses the point of being vegan, which is to reduce suffering. Instead, these vegans end up chasing rainbows and ultimately heap anguish upon themselves and those around them. A classic scenario that illustrates this absurdity is the vegan who idly walks past a homeless person while pondering whether or not the diglycerides in her bread are animal derived. Wouldn't it be more in the spirit of veganism to forget about the diglycerides and share some bread and conversation with the person in need?

There are specks of animal products in practically every commercially produced commodity from glue to plastics, from sugar to wine, from medicinal tablets to paints. There is little that we encounter throughout our day that is not the product or by-product of the slaughter industry. Even books about veganism or animal rights are likely bound with animal-based glue, printed on equipment lubricated with animal fats, and packaged by workers who eat meat and wear leather shoes. So where do vegans draw the line?

Sense and sensibility must be our guiding factors. Otherwise, we are doomed to insanity, for persisting in achieving the, as yet, impossible will surely drive us mad. Yes, it is infuriating that animal parts are used so pervasively. But is it realistic and prudent to rebel against the minutia while draining energies that could be better spent in eradicating the source of these components?

Focus on the "bigger picture" and abstain from buying, using, or supporting any commodities, ingredients, or enterprises that are obviously and incontrovertibly nonvegan. However, avoid getting caught up in the "I'm more vegan than thou" syndrome that emphasizes personal perfection at the cost of realistic and achievable goals. By accentuating the attainable, you will release yourself from needless anxiety and can help make compassionate living more appealing and practical to nonvegans, which will do far more to advance the vegan cause and end suffering than all other actions combined.




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Vegan Vittles:
Second Helpings

Vegan Vittles: Second Helpings by Jo Stepaniak

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The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

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Review by Dan Balogh

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The Food Allergy
Survival Guide

The Food Allergy Survival Guide

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