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Curious about vegan foods

what constitutes a vegan diet/lifestyle
A friend recently announced he had gone vegan and stated he had removed white sugar from his diet.When I asked him why granulated sugar was not considered edible in a vegan diet he really didn't have an answer other than "it just isn't". Can someone with more knowledge than him and I please explain the whys of this. Also would be interested in other hidden non-vegan foods that most of us may not be familiar with.

What circle-A said is correct, about 14.Sep.2009 01:46


the bone char.

However, if something like the source of sugar would keep someone from becoming vegan, then don't sweat it. I am vegan, and honestly, that wouldn't be a big concern of mine (as it happens I really don't buy sugar or eat products that aren't specifically labeled vegan anyway). I avoid all meat, dairy, eggs, and by-products like whey, casein, and gelatin (however, if gelatin is in a necessary medicine, then I will take it), and a few minor others. You cannot be a perfect vegan - do your best and avoid the obvious animal sources. It's not about personal purity, it's about avoiding suffering, and making the political statement that animals are not ours to use, abuse, and exploit for trivial reasons. Best wishes.


Hey, that post 14.Sep.2009 15:13


wasn't meant to degrade anyone's efforts to further reduce derivatives of animal products in their lives...I applaud people who do so. But while 99% of the population is still gnawing on chicken legs, I'm not going to get worked up if people go so far as to eliminate all dairy, eggs, meat, and obvious by-products, but don't go so far as removing possible bone-char filtered sugar. We want to make veganism do-able for average person - and it really is. If you eat regular table sugar that is possibly bone char filtered, but avoid the eggs, dairy, meat, etc., I still consider you vegan. That's just me.

Vegan Foods 14.Sep.2009 15:49

vegan enough

There's a book called "Animal Ingredients from A to Z" or something like that. You can pick it up at Food Fight, and probably also get it online at Powells.

There really are animal ingredients in EVERYTHING. While unwaged, and unacknowledged, the bodies of animals are really the foundation of the capitalist system in many ways. So much money is generated from them, so many people profit from their flesh, and so much of the crap we buy that we don't really need anyway contains their flesh and blood and bones and hair and other parts. In the creation of a compassionate world, it's important to stop thoughtlessly partaking in the slaughter.

I agree with a commenter above, that this does not mean trying to be completely "pure," it means starting here and doing the very best that you can, and as you learn about more animal ingredients, cutting them out as well.

A vegan eats no meat, no dairy, and no eggs. Some vegans do not eat honey, as it comes from bees, others make exceptions for that. (Personally, I do eat honey. I make that choice because, although some people claim that bee keepers "cull" the bees, this is not actually true. Bee keepers take pretty good care of bees, and while some might consider the gathering of honey to be exploitive, I consider it more mutual aid. If the bees aren't happy, they will swarm away from the kept hive and go live in a tree somewhere, and nothing any bee keeper can do will stop them from doing that if they want to.)

Vegans do not generally wear leather or fur, though some might wear leather if they get it used. I don't, but if you are still wearing a pair of shoes you got years ago and they're leather, don't worry about it. But for your next pair, go to mooshoes.com, or vegan shoes, or alternative outfitters, or any of the other places you can get vegan shoes online.

Some of the MANY other hidden places where you might find animal flesh:

Carmine, cochaneal, carminitine: (This is a red dye often used in pink grapefruit juice, red or pink candies, pink or red Sobe drinks, and many other places. It's made from the crushed bodies of thousands of tiny beetles from South America. Gross.)

Gelatin: Often found in marshmallows, Jell-O, gummy candies, yogurt, pop tarts, medicine capsules, and millions of other foods. (It's made of the rendered skin, hooves, bones, and other parts from cows and pigs. Gross.)

Stearic Acid, Stearate: Often found in deoderants, cosmetics, and some foods. (Unless it says it's plant-based, it isn't. It's flesh.)

Biotin: Can be vegetarian, but if it doesn't say so, it isn't.

Hyaluronic acid: Used in cosmetics. Comes from the fluid around joints. Gross.

Cetyl Alcohol: Wax found in spermaceti from whales and dolphines. Gross.

Cortisone: Found in medications, also called hydrocortisone. This is a hormone from the adrenal glands of dead animals.

Glue: Many glues are made from the rendered flesh and hides and bones of cows and pigs. (This is why Elmer's has a cow as their logo.)

Rennet: Cheese is definitely not a vegan food anyway, but if you needed more of a reason to give it up here it is. Rennet is an enzyme used to ferment milk to make cheese. It comes from one place: The stomach of an "unweaned ruminant." In other words, a baby calf is torn from its mother, killed, has its stomach torn out for the rennet, and then its mother is expected to give us the milk she would have given to the calf, so that we can make cheese from it by mixing it with the enzymes from her murdered baby's stomach. Gross. What the hell is wrong with us?

So that's a partial list. Here is a more comprehensive one:  http://www.happycow.net/health-animal-ingredients.html

By the way, many of these hidden sources of flesh put you at risk for horrible diseases, like Mad Cow. Because the prions (infectious agents) of Mad Cow disease cannot be destroyed by any known method. They survive extreme heat, cooking, bleaching, and etc. And many of those "hidden" sources of animal flesh are the rendered remains, which can contain any and all parts of cows and chickens and pigs and things. They are boiled down into goo, which could be teeming with prions, and then stuck into jell-o and glue and vitamin capsules and deoderant and pop tarts, and etc. There is also a sheep version of mad cow (scrapie) and probably pig and chicken versions, given the methods in which factory farmed animals are raised....

Shocked and awed 14.Sep.2009 17:59

Interested in knowing

Wow! I am so impressed and amazed by what the respondents had to contribute to my original inquiry. I really had no idea about these hidden ingredients and food prep secrets. This really has inspired me to look deeper into this lifestyle and the commitment that comes with it. I'm not saying it would be easy and not saying I will follow through but my curiosity has certainly been sparked and I admire those who have made the change. I will continue to check Indymedia to see if others add their comments and suggestions. Can't thank you enough for all your insight and information.

That's great that you're interested in learning more! 14.Sep.2009 19:33


I encourage you to watch this film called Earthlings - it's free online. It talks about how animals are used in all the different animal industries. A lot of people just don't realize how widespread the use of animals is in our daily lives:

 link to video.google.com

Best wishes.

Awesome eating 14.Sep.2009 20:36


Veganism is actually very healthy for you. Dr. Dean Ornish has a clinic where he has helped people to actually reverse heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases with a healthy vegan diet. And the authors of the influential China Study have amassed some good evidence that a vegan diet is the best possible diet. They contend that animal protein is very damaging to health, contributing to all kinds of chronic diseases. I recommend those books for anyone wanting another reason to go vegan, though I do it because it's the right thing to do. Ethically, we just cannot justify killing and eating the billions of animals who die every year for our table foods, when we do not physically need meat or milk or eggs.

But even better, a vegan diet is DELICIOUS! Once you start learning to cook gourmet vegan foods, you open up a whole new world of gustatory delights that you never knew existed. There are all kinds of vegan cookbooks out there. If you're interested, try browsing the book shelves (I like the orange room at Powells, they have a whole section of vegan cookbooks), or go online and search for vegan recipes. Mmm!

great vegan restaurants 14.Sep.2009 21:56

to taste it for yourself

If you want to see how great vegan cooking can be, there are a lot of restaurants around Portland that I would recommend. But my favorites are Vita Cafe, over on Alberta at about 30th or so (it's not all vegan, but much of the menu is vegan), and Blossoming Lotus downtown at around 10th and Everett or so. They also have a new one over off Irving I think. They're all vegan, and lots of raw food too. Sweet Pea Bakery is good for a snack. And say what you will about junk food, but I LOVE FOOD FIGHT!