Thursday, June 17, 2010

Baby's got them whey powder blues

More about trying to eat healthy in the land of tamales.

I did not figure I would actually be "vegan" but I thought I would give it a shot under the premise that no matter where I start, I will eventually lose ground. Best to set the bar high. I  have developed a few concerns beyond the risk of B12 deficiency.

Concern #1. I was thinking food and health and "vegan" is a term specifically coined by those who embrace a whole life-style and philosophy. No leather shoes. No honey because it's cruel to the bees. PETA on speed dial, probably ahead of Mom. I would not have the choices and the information that I have were it not for them but it's not for me. I respect their claim to the label so, I will use the word as an adjective for recipes only.
Concern #2. There are animal products in everything! Whey powder, casein, egg white, buttermilk solids, anchovies in the Worcestershire sauce, milk in the wheat buns, cheese in the Boca Burgers. "Natural Flavor" can mean anything from vanilla to chicken fat and the label doesn't have to say if it's not on a certain list of allergens. Even table sugar is sometimes whitened using filters containing bone char. I doubt if much bone remains but if you really want to eliminate animal products, you can't buy anything that might contain refined sugar as it might contain bone char.

So much time is now spent cleaning greens and learning new recipes and new techniques that I'm not so down with making my own vegan Worcestershire sauce. I think I can live with the anchovies. The cost of organic sugar or alternative sweeteners is outrageous, especially when you also use it for wine-making. I need the store-brand 10 pound bags and to hell with how it was filtered.

So here is tonight's dinner: Mini (because that's the only bread I had) baked seitan sandwiches with almond mozzarella "cheese" which would be vegan were it not for the Worcestershire, dolmas made by nimble-fingered Greek women and a small glass of blackberry-honey wine.  The wine was made by me.

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