Saturday, March 29, 2008


Hidden Animal Products

It is very difficult to avoid animals products in this 'modern day and age'. Here is a list of some common things that surprisingly contain animal derivatives and others that are safe.

Casein: This is a product made when milk is heated with an acid, like lactic acid. This stuff mostly occurs in "no-lactose" soy cheeses like Soyco, Soy Kaas, AlmondRella, Zero-FatRella, HempRella, and TofuRella Slices.
The labels say "lactose-free" (lactose is another milk derivative), but that doesn't mean they are therefore vegan, as we used to incorrectly assume. Soymage soy cheese is 100% vegan, but it's kind of gross. Vegan-Rella is also totally vegan. Casein is also used in plastics, adhesives, and paint manufacturing.
Caseinate: Casein mixed with a metal, like calcium caseinate or sodium caseinate.
Chewing Gum: Some chewing gums contain glycerine. Wrigleys gum contains a vegetarian source of glycerine.
Margarines: Can contain fish and other marine oils. Many margarines contain whey.
Nougat: Usually contains gelatine.
Pasta: May contain egg, especially if fresh. Some pasta in Italy contains squids's ink; this can easily be recognized because the pasta is black.
Pastes: Glues. May be animal or fish derived.
Pastry: Animal fats used in most shop-baked pies etc. Check ingredients.
Phosphates: Derived from glycerol and fatty acids. May be from animal bones too.
Rennet: An enzyme taken from the stomach of a newly killed calf. Used in the cheese making process. Look for rennin or the words "made without animal rennet".
Shortening: Can be made from animal fats. Used in the food industry especially pastries and biscuits.
Stearate: This usually comes in the form of _calcium stearate_, and it is found in hard candies like Gobstoppers and Sweetarts as well as other places. It comes from stearic acid, which usually is derived from tallow, or animal fat. Stearate is also used in vinyls (like car seats) and plastics.
Sweets: Watch out for gelatine, eg.: wine gums. Nearly all mints eg.: Polo, Trebor, Extra Strong etc contain gelatine. See also Nougat.
Whey: Liquid part of Milk

What is cochineal/carmine?

Cochineal is a bright red colouring matter made from the dried bodies of a Mexican insect Dactylopius coccus. Billions of these insects are raised and destroyed each year for a red colouring that is used in desserts, some strawberry soya milks, clothing, etc.

What is cochineal/carmine?

Cochineal is a bright red colouring matter made from the dried bodies of a Mexican insect Dactylopius coccus. Billions of these insects are raised and destroyed each year for a red colouring that is used in desserts, some strawberry soya milks, clothing, etc.

Which animal derived ingredients kill the animal?

Not an easy question to answer! Meat and products such as leather, bonemeal, blood and gelatin are obvious ones, although in parts of India leather is made from the skins of cattle that have died a natural death.

For all practical purposes, fur and silk production also necessitate killing the animals. The obvious animal products which do NOT involve killing the animal are milk, eggs and wool. However, almost without exception, dairy cattle, laying hens and wool-bearing animals are slaughtered at the end of their productive lives and pass into the food chain.

What is cantharidin?

Cantharidin (C10H12O4) is the lactose of cantharidic acid and the active constituent of cantharides - dried Spanish flies "Lytta vesicatoria". It has been used as an aphrodisiac and was formerly used as a counter-irritant in plaster form and in small quantities in hair lotions, but is liable to cause nephritis (kidney disease of toxic origin). - from Butterworth's Medical Dictionary.

Is 'gum base' in chewing gum vegan?

Most chewing gums innocuously list "gum base" as one of their ingredients, masking the fact that petroleum, lanolin, glycerin, polyethylene, polyvinyl acetate, petroleum wax, stearic acid, and latex (a possible allergen) may be among the components.
Because of standards of identity for items such as gum base and flavoring, manufacturers are not required to list everything in their product.
According to Dertoline, a French chemical manufacturer, their adhesive "dercolytes" are used as a label and tape adhesive, as well as a chewing gum base.
Many brands also list glycerin and glycerol as ingredients on the label.
Both of them can be animal derived.

What is BHT, as found in prepared frozen foods, and most cereals used as a preservative?

BHT is Butylated Hydroxytoluene.
BHT is a preservative and antioxidant used as a chewing gum base for potato and sweet potato flakes and dry breakfast cereals.
Also, an emulsion stabilizer for shortenings in enriched rice, animal fats, and shortenings containing animal fats.
Also used to retard rancidity in frozen pork sausage and freeze-dried meats. Shown to cause offspring that have abnormal behavior patterns secondary to chemical changes in the brain (study in mice). BHT and BHA are chemically similar, but BHT may be more nephrotoxic (toxic to the kidneys). Prohibited in England, and under investigation in the US for "safe" amount. The FDA has an up-to-date databank called "PAFA" which may be online and will probably yield more up-to-date information.

Are cashew oils bad for you?

Most nut oils are healthy choices (although eating nuts is even better!). While many other oils are mainly polyunsaturated fats, olive oil and nut oils (except walnut oil) are mainly monounsaturated fats, and cashew oil is no exception. If the oil is not refined, many of the beneficial components will remain in the oil (i.e.. plant sterols, vitamin E, etc.)

Cashews are somewhat higher in saturated fat than many other nuts (20 percent sat fat as compare to 10 percent for almonds, 7 percent for hazelnuts and 6 percent for walnuts). This may be viewed as an advantage in terms of stability of the oil, however, it may be preferable to use other nut oils if keeping saturated fat to a minimum is a priority for you.

Are emulsifiers, enzymes, and stablisers animal derived ingredients?

Emulsifiers can be animal and enzymes can be animal (as well as plant). Enzymes can be also bacterial and fungal. I've never heard of stablisers. If a product specifically says that it's enzymes or emulsifiers (or glycerides or natural flavors or stearic acids or...) are not derived from animal products, than you are in the clear. However, most likely the product will not list that it is derived from animals. My rules of thumb are* - if a brand specifies that an ingredient is not animal derived, than it is ok - if that same brand lists the same ingredient for a different product and does not specify that it is not animal derived, than it probably is - and if a brand never specifies that an ingredient is not animal derived, than it's 50/50 (more like 20/80 because I would personally bet from my consumer experience that most ingredients that may come from an animal do come from an animal).

Which ingredients in sweets should you avoid?

Two ingredients that may or may not be animal derived are glycerides (mono - diglycerides) and Natural Flavors. Mono and Diglycerides are popular in most foods that you buy, and I think that they are actually emulsifiers. They may be plant or animal derived. Here is the definition of Natural Flavors according to Title 21, Section 101, part 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations - "The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional."

What are mono and di-glycerides?

Triglycerides make up about 95% of dietary lipids (fats). A molecule of triglyceride is formed when a molecule of glycerol (a 3-carbon alcohol) combines with 3 fatty acid molecules. Occasionally only one or two fatty acids combine with a glycerol molecule to form monoglycerides and diglycerides respectively.
Mono- and diglycerides are esters of edible fat-forming acids usually of the sweet alcohol glycerin. These chemicals are made synthetically for the primary purpose as an emulsifier in oleomargarine. Also used in bakery products to maintain "softeness", in beverages, ice cream, ices, ice milk, milk, chewing gum bvase, shortening, lard, confections, sweet chocolate chocolate, rendered animal fat, and whipped toppings. Also being studied for possible cancer-causing effects.

What is lipase and tallow?

lipase - the enzyme which breaks down all fats (or "lipids," hence "lipase").
tallow - usually what chips, potato cakes, hash browns are soaked in before being packaged and sold, its a type of fat, usually its beef tallow.

What is TVP?

Textured Vegetable Protein (or TVP) is a meat-like substance that is used to boost the nutritional content of meals, while still remaining relatively attractive-tasting. TVP usually contains "defatted" soya flour, and is very low fat.
It is quite often sold in mixes for meat substitute dishes, and can often be found in bulk bins in health food stores. It is sold in a dehydrated form and requires re-hydration before using. TVP may have a rather high fat content, so check the label. If it contains "defatted" soya flour, it should be low fat.

Is all lysine animal derived?

I have a bottle from a company who mostly makes vegetarian vitamins although they have no intrest in being a strictly vegan company, the salesperson claims that most of their products are plant derived even glutamine and other amino acids.
I hear that a lack of lysine under times of stress can cause coldsore outbreaks which I suffer from time to time, also I am a heavy weight trainer and glutimime is supposed to support the immune system under times of great stress.
If anyone knows of alternatives or a company who sells these two amino acids and are postive that they are vegan please let me know, also one more thought, is it possible that a vegan who is an athlete may suffer from lack of these nutrients?

Do the omega 3 fats in linseeds become oxidised when linseeds are used in baking, such as in bread?

Here has been considerable controversy about the stability of flaxseed due to the high content of highly unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed appears more stable than would be expected considering its n-3 content. Ratnayake showed no deterioration after 44 weeks of storage at room temp. However, it is suggested that flax seed be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for maximum protection.
Ratnakye also showed that there was no significant effect on n-3 content or POV (peroxide value) after an hour of cooking at 350 degrees F. for either whole or ground seeds. Cunnane et al had similar results. The bottom line is that baking at moderate temperatures appears safe for both ground and whole flax seed.

What's wrong with free range eggs?

In order to get laying hens you have to have fertile eggs and half the eggs will hatch into *male* chicks. These are killed at once or raised as table birds (usually these days in broiler houses) and slaughtered as soon as they reach an economic weight. So for every free-range hen happily scratching around the garden or farm who, if she were able to bargain, might pay rent with her daily infertile egg, a corresponding male from her batch is enduring life in a broiler house or has already been subjected to slaughter or thrown away to die. Every year in Britain alone more than 35 million day-old male chicks are killed. They are mainly used for fertiliser or dumped in landfill sites. The hens are also culled as soon as their production drops. Also be aware that many sites classed as free range aren't really free range, they're just massive barns with access to the outside. Since the food and light are inside the chickens rarely venture outside.

and normal (battery) eggs?

The battery hen, from which the vast majority of all eggs are produced and almost all products containing eggs (especially cakes) suffers an even worse fate. The battery hen is an anxious, frustrated, fear-ridden bird forced to spend 10 to 12 months squeezed inside a small wire cage with up to nine other tormented hens. There are usually many tiers of these cages in gloomy sheds which hold a total of 50,000 to 125,000 birds. Caged for life without exercise while constantly drained of calcium to form egg shells, battery hens develop the severe osteoporosis of intensive confinement know as caged layer fatigue. Calcium depleted, millions of hens become paralyzed and die of hunger and thirst inches from their food and water. Battery hens are debeaked with a hot machine blade once and often twice during their lives, typically at one day old and again at seven weeks old, because a young beak will often grow back. Debeaking causes severe, chronic pain and suffering which researchers compare to human phantom limb and stump pain. Between the horn and bone of the beak is a thick layer of highly sensitive tissue. The hot blade cuts through this sensitive tissue impairing the hen's ability to eat, drink, wipe her beak, and preen normally. Debeaking is done to offset the effects of the compulsive pecking that can afflict birds designed by nature to roam, scratch, and peck at the ground all day, not sit in prison; and to save feed costs and promote conversion of less food into more eggs. Debeaked birds have impaired grasping ability and are in pain and distress, therefore eating less, flinging their food less, and "wasting" less energy than intact birds.

What can be substituted for eggs?

A company called Ener-G makes a powdered egg-substitute that they claim is a suitable replacement for eggs in cooking. It costs about $5.00 (U.S.) for the equivalent of 9 or 10 dozen eggs, and it contains no animal products. It is make from potato starch, tapioca flour, leavening agents (calcium lactate (vegan), calcium carbonate, and citric acid) and a gum derived from cottonseed. It's primarily intended to replace the leavening/binding characteristics of eggs in baking, but it can be used for nonbaked foods and quiches.

Alternative replacements (quantity per egg substituted for) 2 oz of soft tofu can be blended with some water and substituted for an egg to add consistency. Or try the same quantity of: mashed beans, mashed potatoes, or nut butters.

1/2 mashed banana

1/4 cup applesauce or pureed fruit

One Tbsp flax seeds (found in natural food stores) with 3 Tbsp water can be blended for 2 to 3 minutes, or boiled for 10 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved to substitute for one egg.

1 tsp. soy flour plus 1 Tbsp. water to substitute for one egg.

Are soy/soya cheeses vegan?

Some soy (US spelling)/soya (British spelling) hard cheeses contain casein which is a milk-product. Just because something is "lactose free" doesn't mean it's dairy free. The only true VEGAN hard cheeses in the U.S. are SOYMAGE and VEGAN RELLA. In the U.K. there are vegan hard cheeses called SCHEESE and TOFUCHEESE. There is also a vegan pre-grated parmesan style cheese called PARMAZANO in the U.K.

"King Land" soya cheese is made in Australia, and is available in four flavours. Address; King International Pty Ltd, 606 Boundary Rd, Archerfield QLD 4108. Ph. (07) 3277 7899

What is rennet? Where is it found? How can it be avoided??

Rennet is derived from the stomach linings of calves. Rennet is used to make cheese. True VEGETARIAN cheeses do not have rennet in them, but a substitute. These substitutes can be either from vegetable sources, or may be created in a lab. Vegetable rennet is usually called 'rennin' to distinguish it from the animal-derived type. ** NOTE ABOUT SOY CHEESE: Some soy cheeses contain cassein which is a milk-product. The only true VEGAN cheeses in the U.S. are: SOYMAGE and VEGAN RELLA. In the U.K. there is also a vegan cheese: SCHEESE.

Are any non-dairy cheeses/ice cream available?

from a reader in the UK
Re non-dairy cheeses in the UK -- an amazing vegan cheese is Cheezly, made by Redwood Foods; it's virtually identical to cheddar cheese! This company also makes sandwich slices (chicken, ham, roast beef etc) and the most incredible 'roasts' - turkey and beef.
In the UK also non-dairy ice cream: Swedish Glace is great, available at the Holland & Barrett chain of health food stores.

from a reader in the USA:
In the U.S. (TX) there are several varieties of non-dairy ice creams, some people swear by Rice Dream (tastes kind of thin and odd to me.) My personal favorite is Tofutti. Comes in rich flavors, and Tofutti Cuties.(mini tofutti sandwiches like ice cream sandwiches)

from a reader in Canada:

In terms of cheese, soy cheese tends to be a rough gamble. I've found that many taste absolutely horrible and you're better off with no cheese at all! Do keep trying, though, and let me know if you find anything good!
Ice creams are easier. Many soy alternatives are available. I've found that although they taste OK, they are rather icy and do not have much of a consistency whatsoever. Soy Delicious makes a good chocolate soy dessert (I believe it's called Chocolate Velvet) I assume these will be found in the United States as well as Canada. Good luck!

Is there a council or advisory board to have a food product certified as vegan for retail sales?

froma reader in the UK:
In the UK, The Vegan Society award their sunflower symbol to selected manufacturers of foods and other items which are suitable for vegans. The Vegetarian Society's seedling symbol fulfils a similar role for vegetarian-suitable products.

What's wrong with dairy products?

Dairy cows are made pregnant yearly to ensure they produce adequate milk. In nature the calf would suckle for almost a year but nature, like the calf, is denied by the dairy industry. Some calves may be separated from their dams on the first day of life; others might remain for just a few days. But as the inevitable by-products of relentless milk production each will have to endure one of several possible fates. The least healthy bobby calves will be sent to market to be slaughtered for pet food; to provide veal for veal & ham pies; or for rennet to be extracted from their stomachs for cheesemaking. Some females will be reared on milk substitutes to become dairy herd replacements and begin, at 18-24 months of age, the cycle of continual pregnancies. Some will be sold at market at 1-2 weeks of age for rearing as beef in fattening pens and slaughtered after 11 months, often without sight of pasture.

Up to 80% of the beef produced in the UK is a by-product of the dairy industry. Over 170,000 calves die in the UK each year before they are three months old, due largely to neglectful husbandry and appalling treatment at markets. A few will be selected for rearing as bulls, spending their lives in solitary confinement serving canvas 'cows' and rubber tubes. Artificial insemination is now responsible for 65-75% of all conceptions in the dairy herd. In the US the vast majority of unwanted calves are reared for veal, all but around 12% of them spending their short miserable lives in narrow crates (5'x2') on wooden slats and without straw. Whilst none suffer such a fate in Britain they are now exported for the purpose. In solitary confinement, unable to turn around or groom themselves they must drink the only diet they are allowed - a milk substitute gruel. Deliberately kept short of the iron and fibre which would redden their fashionably white flesh, they will suffer from sub-clinical anaemia and gnaw at the crates and their own hair for the roughage they crave. Fed large doses of hormones and antibiotics to promote growth and prevent the onset of infections caused by the stress of confinement and malnutrition, they will suffer scours, pneumonia, diarrhoea, vitamin deficiency, ringworm, ulcers or septicaemia. After 14 weeks, barely able to walk, they are taken over long distances to slaughter.

In 1905 the Lord Mayor's Cup at the London Dairy Show was won by a 24 year old cow. Today it is impossible to find a dairy cow of that age. The cow is usually sent for slaughter at five to six years, less than one quarter of their expected lifespan. Ketosis, laminitis, rumen acidosis, bse, mastitis, milk fever, staggers, liverfluke, lungworm and pneumonia are just some of the diseases facing the short life of the dairy cow.

But don't I need eggs and dairy products?

Just as the meat manufacturers would have you believe that you need to eat meat, the egg and dairy producers are now spending vast amounts of money promoting the healthy aspects of eggs and dairy products. Eggs and dairy products contain large amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats, which is considered a major cause of heart disease. In a 1985 study published by the J. Am. Med. Ass. dairy products were the major source of saturated fat and cholesterol for 75 adult vegetarians living in the USA, whose blood levels of cholesterol were higher than those of vegans who ate no dairy produce. Dairy products contain lactose, a milk sugar which the majority of the world's population is actually unable to digest and is often found to be the cause of digestive problems. Casein, the milk protein, has been shown to cause iron deficiency anaemia from internal bleeding in many infants and is suspected of causing juvenile diabetes. Milk products can also be a cause of eczema, rash, mucous buildup, wheezing, asthma, rhinitis, bleeding, pneumonia and anaphylaxis in children and adults.

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