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Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
18 July 1999 Issue

Hidden Pitfalls of Vegetarianism: Don't Buy By-products
By Zerbeena@aol.com, subscriberX

I don't know about the rest of you, but I really am sick and tired of non-vegetarian substances being clandestinely tucked into seemingly innocent foods. I am quite sure, though, that this grates on your nerves as well. Of course, the responsibility for our individual intake choices rests with us. I read food labels and ingredient lists avidly, but I have also fallen prey to purchasing the wrong thing because I was rushing around the store.

Basically, I decided to compile a list of things for vegetarians to look out for. It is by no means complete, but I hope that some of you may find it useful.

GELATIN can be found hiding in....

* Of course, jello
* Yogurt
* Marshmallows
* Sour cream
* Vegetable bouillon cubes
* Light butter (i.e. Land O Lakes) or butter substitutes
* Medications (the covering or coating)
* Other gooey type medicines (like dental gels)
*Animal Gelatin is used as a filtering agent for many beers and wines
* Anything suspiciously thickened, like some salad dressings, use caution!
*Natural remedies and/or diet pills may contain animal glands (i.e. Metabolife)

ANIMAL RENNET can be found hiding in...

* Cheese, often listed as "enzymes" (if you eat cheese, get rennetless cheese at a natural food store, and skip it altogether while eating out). Rennet, used to make most cheeses, is usually made from the stomachs of cows. Vegetarian rennet will say so on the package.

MEAT STOCK can be found hiding in...

* Soups (including veggie and veggie cream ones)
* Miso soup (some Japanese restaurants put bonito stock in it--fish stock)
* Prepared rice (may be cooked in chicken broth, etc.)
* Pasta (same deal as rice)
* Vegetables at restaurants
* Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies (Angostura brand is safe)
* Barbecue sauces
* Bloody Mary mixes
* Packaged or bottled seasonings

MEAT RESIDUE can be found hiding in...

* Anything grilled, fried, or cooked on a griddle in restaurants:
--Veggie burgers may get plopped on the grill with the hamburgers
--Grilled vegetables may endure the same fate
--Hash browns, pancakes, etc, may be cooked alongside breakfast meats
--Fried vegetables may be cooked in the same vat of oil that they cook meat in (even vegetable tempura is dunked in the prawn tempura oil)
--Lard in refried beans in some Mexican restaurants
--oyster sauce or chicken broth in Chinese restaurants

A lot of this is common sense of course, but it took me awhile to get the hang of all of this. When I first became a vegetarian three years ago, I was in fact still consuming meat in small quantities because I didn't know how prevalent hidden meat was. I'm sure I've still got a lot to learn, especially since I'm not a vegan yet -- although that is my ultimate goal. My purpose in writing this is to do my part in preventing anyone from consuming things he or she has chosen not to consume.

The bottom line is that you really do have to take a magnifying glass to labels and give your waiter or waitress the third degree, politely of course. If you get belittled or they gloss over your concerns, don't waste your money there. Be very leery of waiters who tell you they don't "think" the soup has meat stock (or whatever), even if they allegedly go ask about it in the kitchen. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I feel like they're not even going to ask, but just return and tell you what you want to hear. For me, I won't order the mystery dish; I'd rather leave or just eat a plain salad.

Another strategy is to say that you are allergic to meat. This can be followed up with a, "If there is even a trace of meat or meat stock, I will get violently ill." The delivery of this line is key; while you don't want meat in your food, you certainly don't want spit in it either!

In all fairness, I have had more good experiences than bad swimming up stream in a river of meat-infested eateries. I also leave a more than generous tip for the servers when my diet is happily accommodated. It is a way of thanking them for their service, and is done in the hopes that the next veggie who walks into the place will be received equally well.

Go on to EarthSave Presents: Live & Uncensored (plus) Farm Sanctuary Country Hoe-down
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