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Things To Know

People just turning vegan as well as veteran vegans are faced daily with deciding if a rumor is true. We all know the story... I have a friend whose father's drinking buddy works in the Such and such factory and says they use beef blood as a processing agent.

Here we try to dispel some common myths, give a brief history on the origin of the word vegetarian, offer some facts about those symbols declaring something Kosher, the truth about the wax on the produce stories, and offer some alternatives to eggs.

In brief, this chapter is a compilation of information we really felt should be included, but didn't really have a category for it. It also turned out to be one of the most interesting chapters to work on.

Where Did the Term "Vegetarian" Come From?

The term "Vegetarian" was coined in 1847. It was first formally used on September 30th of that year by Joseph Brotherton and others, at Northwood Villa in Kent, England. The occasion being the innaugural meeting of the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom.

The word was derived from the Latin "vegetus," meaning whole, sound, fresh, lively; (it should not be confused with "vegetable-arian" - a mythical human whom some imagine subsisting entirely on vegetables but no nuts, fruits, grains etc!)

Prior to 1847, non-meat eaters were generally known as "Pythagoreans" or adherents of the "Pythagorean System," after the ancient Greek "vegetarian" Pythagoras.

The original definition of "vegetarian" was "with or without eggs or dairy products" and that definition is still used by the Vegetarian Society today. However, most vegetarians in India exclude eggs from their diet, as did those in the classical Mediterranean lands, such as Pythagoras.

Common Myths

CHEWING GUM: Some chewing gums contain glycerin/glycerine. Wrigley's gum contains a vegetarian source of glycerin(e).

ENVELOPES: Apparently most envelopes have synthetic glue on them, not an animal or fish based glue.

HEINZ CATSUP: Heinz has officially denied that they use beef blood as part of their "Natural Flavoring" in their catsup. They claim that there are no animal ingredients at all in their "Natural Flavoring." E.G. Smith is still unconvinced.

MAPLE SYRUP: Yes, rumors abound about maple syrup containing pork fat. The US vegan society has checked all known sources and found that they are all suitable for vegans.

OLESTRA, MAX, OLEAN: By time this book is printed Olestra, which is sold under the brand name OLEAN (Procter & Gamble), and MAX (Frito-Lay), will have either hit the international market by storm or completely have been rejected due to the harmful side effects this fake fat has on the human body. Without going into much detail on Olestra itself, it will suffice to say that it is not vegan. Although Proctor & Gamble won't tell us exactly what is in it, it has been confirmed to contain FATTY ACIDS and is therefore not vegan. E.G. Smith Press can provide additional up to date information on the harmful fat substitute, Olestra, upon request.

POSTAGE STAMPS: These do not contain an animal or fish glue,

SUGAR: The popular rumor says that cane sugar is processed through gelatin. This is untrue. Some cane sugars are processed using boneblack as a decolorant (see Chapter 2). The process is similar but not the same. Gelatin is boiled skin, tendons, ligaments or bones, while boneblack is actually charcoaled - At any rate, it is not suitable for vegans. We contacted several popular cane sugar manufacturers and they all confirmed the use of boneblack in their processes. We recommend contacting the manufacturer directly to inquire whether or not their particular brand of sugar is vegan. In the UK, Tate and Lyle and Billingtons sugars are free of animal substances. British Sugar, trading as Silver Spoon (the largest UK supplier) state that their white sugar is vegan but they cannot guarantee their brown sugars are, as some bone charcoal may be used by their suppliers.

TEA: Rumors have sprung claiming that Tetley and Lipton use animal products (or blood, in particular) as coloring in their teas. Tetley was very kind in their response, being very specific. However, Lipton was less specific and a little bit harder to get a straight answer from. They do confirm that there are no animal products used in their coloring. However, they refrain from being specific as to the Natural Flavors part of their ingredients list. E.G. Smith's position on this is wary, we suggest you judge for yourself based on their response(s).

Dear Lipton,
There are rumors abound that you use animal products in the coloring of your teas. Many vegetarians and health conscious alike, would be interested in the truth in this rumor. Do you, in fact, use any animal or animal derived products in any of your teas. Please be specific.
Thank You,
The E.G. Smith Project.

Dear E.G. Smith:
The flavor of the tea in all our products is derived from the tealeaves during the brewing process. All of our other ingredients are FDA approved before we market a product. I hope this information is helpful and thanks for your interest in Lipton!
Your friends at Lipton

Thank you for your prompt response. However, "FDA approved" does include animal derived products. We arenít asking disclosure of the actual ingredients; simply, are there any animal derived ingredients in any of your teas, and if so which ones?
Thanks again,
The E.G. Smith Project

Dear E.G. Smith Project, I have checked with our staff and we do not use animal products in the coloring of our tea (leaf or powdered). I hope this is helpful.
Your friends at Lipton

On Kosher...

Kosher means that a particular food is made according to a complex set of Jewish dietary laws. Does not imply VEGAN in any case. Does not imply Vegetarian in any case. Even KOSHER products containing milk products may contain some types of animals which are not considered "meat."

A common misconception is checking if a food is Kosher to determine whether or not it is vegan. The following are some of the Kosher designations with their meanings.
D : Dairy
DE : Dairy Equipment (no actual dairy in ingredients, equipment may have been used previously in the manufacture of products containing dairy.)
P: Passover Kosher for all year including Passover (Note: "P" NEVER designates pareve.)
Parve: Non dairy

Keep This In Mind:

Pareve/Parve: One category in KOSHER dietary laws. Made without meat or milk products or their derivatives. Eggs and true fish are pareve, shellfish are not.

Nondairy: Does not have enough percentage of milkfat to be called dairy. May actually contain milk or milk derivatives.

Nonmeat: Made without meat. May include eggs, milk, cheese. Sometimes even included animal fats, seafood, fish, fowl.

Waxed Produce

What looks good sells. Several supermarkets across the country are using wax and such on their fruits and vegetables to make them look more appealing. Some of these visual enhancers are animal based.

"The Food and Drug Administration has registered several categories of waxes For topical use on apples, avocados, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, melons, peaches, pineapples, passion fruits, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, pumpkins, rutabagas, squash, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and other fruits and vegetables. The produce-packing industry argues that waxes, which often contain chemical fungicides, are needed to reduce shrinkage from moisture loss and to inhibit the growth of molds and fungus. According to FDA regulations, retailers must label waxed produce; however, nobody does this, and the law is unenforced. The types of waxes currently in use on produce are:

Suitable For Vegans

Carnauba Wax. Obtained from the wax palm of Brazil, carnauba is the hardest of the natural waxes. It is used widely in floor waxes, polishes, and lubricants.

Paraffin. A derivative of petroleum, paraffin is flammable and insoluble in water. It is used to make candles and for many industrial purposes.

Candelilla. Obtained from a reed, candelilla is a natural wax this common in furniture polishes.

Polyethylene. A plastic synthesized from petroleum, polyethylene is manufactured in sheets and films. Its many commercial uses include unbreakable bottles, shower curtains, electrical insulation, pipes, and packaging materials.

Not Suitable For Vegans

Shellac. Obtained from the bodies of the female scale insect Tachardia lacca, shellac is used as varnish, as a coating on wood and plaster, in electrical insulation, and in sealing wax.

Oleic Acid. Obtained from vegetable oils, animal fats, or synthesized from petroleum, oleic acid is used in industrial lubricants.

Tallow. Obtained from the tissues and fatty deposits of animals, especially cattle and sheep, tallow is used in floor waxes, soap, candles, and as a lubricant.

If the produce is not labeled it is impossible to tell what is used on the produce you're eating, if any at all. These waxes cannot be washed off produce. If you want to avoid eating waxes, peel any produce that is waxed.

The Cornplete Book of Juicing by Michael Murray, ND (Prima Publishing, 1992), says essentially the same thing. However, Dr. Murray does offer some advice on reducing exposure to waxes:

1) Buy organic produce 2) Try to buy local produce that is in season. Produce imported into the US is more likely to contain excessive levels of pesticides as well as pesticides that have been banned in the US 3) Soak produce in a mild solution of additive-free soap like pure castille soap to remove surface pesticide residues, fungicides, and fertilizers. 4) Peel off the skin or remove the outer layer of leaves.

To find out more information on the rules and regulations the FDA has set for this practice you can call the Food & Drug Administration and request a copy of docket number 90N-0361 "Food Labeling: Declaration of Ingredients."

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 (US) for the equivalent of 9 or 10 dozen eggs, and it contains no animal products.

  • 2 oz of soft tofu can be blended with some water and added to substitute for an egg to add consistency.

  • 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/ 2 mashed banana for one egg.

  • 1/4 cup applesauce or pureed fruit for one egg.

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