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
* 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
*Natural remedies and/or diet pills may contain animal glands (i.e.
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
* 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
--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
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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