January 25, 2007

Are you really a vegetarian?!

So, this gets more interesting. That's why aunty *insert familiar name here* always used to say, while also waggling a warning finger, "Don't keep reading all that nonsense on the computer" - it was always "computer", not internet, the poor machine got the blame each time :)

So what did I read on the computer? Among many other websites, I have recently started reading the Mahanadi food blog and am hooked! She has a variety of healthy recipes that always surprise me with their flavors - I tried 4-5 recipes (notice how subtly I linked to my food blog here - so cool :p) so far and almost all of them have received a nod from k.

So, that's the background. Today, I was reading through her recipes for pasta and noticed her comment on how American foods that look vegetarian aren't really so. She lists table salt, sugar, cheese among other things. And I faithfully googled about animal products in day-to-day foods that I eat and shocked myself.

So, That's a whole bunch of paragraphs beginning with so, so to not lose the trend... :)

So, if you are among the few fighting a losing war (eating vegetarian food) and are interested in alternatives, here's what I found:

Sugar - try looking for labels that say that animal-cruelty-free or just look for organic evaporated cane sugar/juice and you should be safe. Regular refined sugar might use charcoal made from animal bones in the process of refining sugar. Brown sugar makes the cut though plus it is yummy!

Salt - haven't been able to figure out what animal product goes into making salt? But, for now, I have decided to switch to sea salt instead of regular salt. Heard many good things about sea salt, remember to look for sea salt with iodine though.

Honey - Reading about the procedure involved makes me want to puke, maybe I'll just switch to good ole' maple syrup or sugar and water instead of honey.

Cheese - Look for cheese products that say "no animal ingredients", rennin means the cheese is not vegetarian. You might want to just buy "Horizon Organic Cheese" - they declare - 'No animal products'and I trust them - hey! you gotta trust someone!

Milk, Yoghurt, milk products, pastries, cereal, jelly - Look for products/bottles that do not contain "gelatin". K or Kosher does not necessarily mean the product is vegetarian.

Fur, leather, silk, down - we already know the story here. So, I'll skip the lecture here.

Shampoo, conditioner, soap, pills - this is a tough one. Organic stuff in this category that say "not tested on animals" are usually pretty expensive and some pills might not have a vegetarian alternative. So, can't do much here. And don't trust those shiny red apples you see in the grocery store, who knows what was sacrificed for the sake of "shine"?

So before you throw a mildly-shocked look at me and declare, "Oh, I don't eat mushrooms or garlic. I am a pure vegetarian!", do take a look at these links.

Hmm...on second thoughts, you are better off not reading all this and feeling bad about it, ignorance is bliss. Indeed.

Organic Food Stores @ Lex (expensive! but hey you can buy yourself some peace of mind and that's definitely worth it!) - Good Foods Coop and Wild Oats.


shamly said...

check out this link
Apparently the silver leaf used to decorate sweets are not purely 'vegetarian'!!! dont know how far its true.

Zeppelin said...

good post.. but its kinda strange how we dont notice such things back home... even staunch vegetarians (esp. tambrahms) do not care and dont possibly know about the sugar and salt stuff.. Sugar, most commonly is procured from the ration stores.. and if I remember right, back in grade school I was taught that gelatin and sugar are made from some bone stuff...

this post kinda slightly has a slant towards "vegans" methinks.. :)

RS said...

shamly, wow thats news to me!

zeppelin - Yes, the more I read about it (note to self - stop reading about it!), the more I tilt towards veganism. Long time no talk, what's new with you?

sb said...

idhu thevaya, nanna saptoma thoonginoma nu illama anavasyathukku google panni confuse aganuma?
btw, i am back in blogging. consistently a post/week. :-)

RS said...

sb - so your blog is back in a non-expired state?! Welcome back!

Aswin said...

Hi RS,

Stumbled upon your blog and read this article. I thought that I was all alone in this world to be a strict lacto-vegan. Looks like the situation is not that way. Am happy.

I was not able to track down the article on But here is what I know about Silver leaves. I knew right from school days itself (90s) that Silver leaves were prepared by placing silver between fresh sheaths of cow's skin/flesh. This whole stack of skin/flesh-silver was then beaten using hammers manually. This information was on Doordarshan.

I strictly avoid sweets decorated with Silver. Even the various sweet shops (including famous ones aren't aware of the Silver leaves issue)

Biscuits/choclates usually contain Lecithine. Unless otherwise its Soya/sunflower Lecithine, it can be taken for granted that its Lecithine derived from Egg.

Am sure many of you eat in Restaurants? Are you sure that they prepare your dish after washing their hands after preparing sausages. Now please, don't tell me that they do not use their fingers to place meat slices on bread.

Do people really care about the Emulsifiers in their food stuff? All they see are some numbers like E501, E200. People aren't aware that they are Emulsifiers. Many Emulsifiers are derived from meat.

I can support the above statement by saying that the people of Islam faith have a list of Emulsifiers that they should avoid, as it is derived from Pig fat.

There are lots of issues surrounding the topic of Vegetarianism.

In general, I would avoid any food stuff that is not devoid of Emulsifiers, lecithine etc.,

Be a Vegan or atleast a Lacto-Vegan and live a healthy life. Spare the poor animals.


Viji said...

Yet another tormented soul here.... :)
Though I'm a vegetarian, I'm not able to control my love for silk sarees... :(

RA said...

true!! true!! true!!

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