Talk about Newsnight

Ethical Man - Justin Rowlatt

Not on the label

  • Justin Rowlatt -
  • 23 Jan 07, 11:26 AM

justin_veg300.jpgEthical Man has discovered a whole range of food additives don’t even get listed on the ingredients.

I’m spending a month as vegan to see how cutting animal products out of my diet will affect my environmental footprint. It is surpisingly difficult to avoid animals; you'd be amazed how many foods contain animal products in some form or other.

There was a huge response when I wrote about my concerns that an amino acid used as an additive in bread is sometimes manufactured from human hair. I was reassured to discover that it is possible to avoid the substance – called L-Cysteine or E920 – because it is listed on the ingredients.

Then last week Britain’s leading organic baker, Andrew Whitely, wrote to me to warn of what he calls of “baking’s big secret” – the use of enzymes.

Andrew describes the use of these enzymes as secret because they do not appear on the label. Industrial bakers use a loophole to classify them as “processing aids”. The problem for a vegan like me – or for that matter for Jews, Muslims and vegetarians – is that some of these enzymes are manufactured from animals, including pigs.

These enzymes are one reason modern bread stays so light and soft for so long. Under the UK’s food labelling rules they don’t need to appear on the label because they are broken down in the manufacturing process and therefore they are not considered to be present in the final product.

Andrew describes this as: “a deception that allows the food industry to manipulate what we eat without telling us.”

Andrew’s got a whole list of enzymes he’s concerned about but – as a vegan – a particularly worrying one is phospholipase. That’s because phospholipase was originally derived from pigs' pancreas.

He concedes that there are probably not infinitesimal amounts of pig guts in most people’s breads because of the way enzymes are synthesised from original organisms. However he believes many vegans and vegetarians, not to mention Muslims and Jews, would be revolted by the idea that pig husbandry has any part at all in baking or the development of bakery additives.

Is he is right?

And if you were thinking that by buying an organic loaf you might escape these “aids”, think again. Food enzymes are allowed in organic products so long as they are not derived from GM or GM methods have not been used at any stage in their manufacture.

The only way to be certain is to contact whoever baked your bread and ask them what processing aids they have used.

I’ll be honest, I haven't gone to those lengths. I have been very scrupulous about avoiding animal products but bread has stayed on the menu – enzymes from pigs stomachs or not. Life as a vegan is hard enough already.

Take Saturday night. My wife and I took our three daughters out to our favourite local Italian restaurant – Marine Ices in Camden Town. I thought at the very least I’d be able to a pizza without mozzarella. No such luck. I was told they use eggs in the pizza base.

My courgette linguini was tasty – glistening with olive oil and packing a hefty punch of garlic - but three weeks into my animal-free existence and the sight of my family tucking into crusty pizzas covered in wonderful stringy cheese made me feel faint. As Bee, Eva and Zola ate ice-creams, I sipped a black coffee.

burger203.jpgI was a smoker for many years. The deep urge I felt that night to reach over a grab one of those slices of pizza or to elbow a daughter aside and feast on mint-choc-chip reminded me of the powerful physical yearning I used to feel for a cigarette.

But the sensation that has surprised me most has been a powerful desire for a Big Mac. I am not a big hamburger eater but last week I found myself immobile outside McDonald’s as my body was gripped with lust for the fleshy delights within.

The only way to deal with these yearnings is to cook myself up wonderful vegan treats. And vegans can eat very well. I’ve sampled a few delicious recipes from my blog appeal. The aubergine curry is excellent and for a hearty family supper the shepherd’s pie is hard to beat. If you are still hungry (and I usually am) the vegan brownies are great.

But we vegans need diversity so any other animal-free recipes will be gratefully received.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 01:31 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Shamsul wrote:

Wow... I am absouletly taken back after reading your blog. Thank you mate for revealing such disgusting practise by bakeries. I am a practising muslim and observing strict dietary requirement is paramount to my beliefs like many people of jewish faith and people who are vegitarians and vegans.

I will be investigating this matter with the major bakeries and try find out which products specifically have these rogue additives.

Cannot thank you enough Justin, keep up the good work!

  • 2.
  • At 01:47 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Occam wrote:

Bake your own bread. OK, it's a bit time-consuming if you do it the traditional way, but use one of those machines and it's a lot simpler. That way you have more control over what goes in. Fresher too. Not sure of the CO2 difference though.

The cravings are just natural. I had to follow a very strict diet for 6 months due to health reasons (made a vegan diet look like wanton luxury) and the cravings were strong. To deal with them, I moved all the foods I couldn't eat (virtually all) into the same area in my mind where things that I have no interest at all in, such as football, are filed. So then these things were no longer things I couldn't have, but things I didn't care about. Worked for me.

  • 3.
  • At 02:22 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Andrew Baines wrote:

How about something similar on wine? You will soon be teetotal as well as vegan!

You could list:
Ox blood (fining agent used in Sauternes), traditionally administered by slitting the live animal's throat over the wine. Now done with dried blood.

Egg White - another fining agent. Common, especially in France for high quality wine.

Isinglass - yet another fining agent used all over.

Various Enzymes are used to break down the grape skin - mostly in Australia as illegal in EU.

Another Australian gem is using ion exchange - removes Potassium by replacing with Sodium. Potassium is good for you, but can cause minor deposits. Sodium is not so good for you.

  • 4.
  • At 02:56 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Belinda wrote:

I always make my own bread by hand and it isn't that time-consuming. 15 minutes to mix the ingredients and knead the bread, one hour for the bread to rise (which frees you up to do other things), and then 30 minute or so in the oven. Of course, I have no idea what horrible additives there are in the base products that I use but it give me some comfort that I know which visible products went into the mixture.

  • 5.
  • At 03:16 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Sally wrote:

My father works for a yeast production company and they are visited each year by a representative of a council of orthodox Jews (apologies I can't remember the council's proper name) and certified that their products are produced without animal ingredients and therefore suitable for Jewish consumption.

  • 6.
  • At 03:26 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Andi Clevely wrote:

So how much else is hidden in the food we eat? My wife and I both get unpleasant reactions from dairy foods (read the ingredients to see how often something includes a milk product). Pig products, even organic and free-range produce the same effects. Are there milk derivatives in most pig feed, like the old days of fattening them on wey? Oh, and do buy your bread flour from a reliable local mill - most popular brands are the same stuff as used by bakers and contain all those improvers!

  • 7.
  • At 03:33 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Ann wrote:

I appreciate your research and your article. At the risk of offending you, I have been on the Atkins diet for going on 30 years. But food quality and additives concern us all. There is something seriously bad for all of us going on out there. So I appreciate anyone who is looking into the problem and has enough influence to publish it.

  • 8.
  • At 03:43 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Hyla wrote:

I live in the U.S. and I am a vegitarian, I wonder if these additives are in food here. I read lables, but sometimes I can not understand them. If the world would be vegans or vegitarians, the planet would be less poluted.

  • 9.
  • At 04:01 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Wendy wrote:

I've been a vegetarian for 11 years and never knew bread was a problem (sometimes ignorance really is bliss! Nonetheless I'm happy to have learned about this). I suppose I'll also be baking my own bread from now on.

I'm also very disturbed about Mr. Baines' comments concerning wine. As I am rather fond of wine, I am not willing to give up on it yet, but I must try to find out if there are brands which are known to be 'safe'.

And I suppose I am lucky that for me, vegetarianism is 'only' a moral choice, not a religious requirement. How I would feel if I discovered that I'd been violating the rules of my religion practically all my life without knowing it, I really don't know.

  • 10.
  • At 04:34 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Alasdair wrote:

While I appreciate the point that this article is making, and sympathise with those who are trying to avoid using animal products in any area of life, it does raise an interesting point. As our knowledge of biology and 'what is life' increases it becomes extrememly hard to make these distinctions, particularly for those with a religious reason for not eating something. For example, I believe that insects are forbidden to Muslims and Jews, yet there are microscopic insects and arthropods in almost every fresh fruit or vegeateble we eat.. god obviously set the bar very high....of course, this doesn't affect those with an environental reason for their choice

  • 11.
  • At 04:38 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Atis D Mitra wrote:

I do not know if there is true vegetarian food?Everything is non veg

  • 12.
  • At 04:48 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Ronny wrote:

Pizzas aren't an issue if you go to a proper Italian place. The bases are made traditionally using flour, water, yeast and olive oil. I've had some wonderful vegan pizzas over the years, topped with rich tomato sauce, roast veg, olive oil, herbs and garlic.

The post on wine is misleading. There are loads of vegan wines out there which are filtered with clay, not blood or isinglass, and 3 organic wine suppliers specialising in them who supply lots of shops, cafes and restaurants as well as doing mail order.

I've found my diet has been more varied and international since going vegan. The only problem is the amount of ignorant places that don't do soya milk, but that's changing rapidly, and I can even get a vegan cuppa at motorway services now.

  • 13.
  • At 04:55 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Kristen wrote:

For Hyla,
I am a vegetarian in Canada and unfortunately I know that the food policies in the US regarding labelling and food safety are FAR below what they should be. They are the biggest pushers of GMO foods onto the world and since Canada is a country that is so close to them geographically and more and more politically, our food standards have suffered the same fate. North America does not have the standards that the UK does so you can bet that a number of things go into our food that we have no idea about.

  • 14.
  • At 05:04 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • neha wrote:

same as srilankan food, you can find a huge range of vegan food in indian cuisine as a majority of the indians are vegan and we have an unending range of vegan food, try google :)

Wines... Beers... Veggie or not? Not sure if this URL was posted in one of the other arguments between 'us' and 'them' (i'm the veggie us, but it doesn't matter -that- much, no need to be rude! :)), but there's a site with a lot of work done in getting information on veggie wines and beers (not vegan, only when they specifically say it is!). The URL is:

I've also been told by InBev in the UK that Brahma is vegetarian, but I haven't contacted the brewery here to confirm. - Chris

  • 16.
  • At 05:24 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Jenn G wrote:

Fabulous, fabulous article. Our family, including our children, has been veg for four years. We've always suspected that animal products are here and there but once you know for sure, you can't go back. Thanks for this, you'll make a lot more people healthier.

  • 17.
  • At 05:31 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Madoka Gaspar wrote:

Here's a vegan pesto recipe that I received when I took a cooking class from the owner of Keffi's - a restaurant in Santa Cruz, CA. It's easy to prepare and the pumpkin seeds help give the pesto a nice green color. The flavor improves within 24 hours so, leftovers tasty even better. This recipe even freezes well!

Vegan Pesto

In a food processor, blend - 1C. olive oil
3/4C. raw pumpkin seeds

Blend until smooth.

Then add - 1/4pound firm tofu
2C. fresh basil leaves
8 large cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt

Blend until the mixture forms a thick paste.

  • 18.
  • At 05:32 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Bryan Brady wrote:

I'll buy into most of ethical mans ways (having minimal impact on our environment etc...) but being a vegan! It's not natural or health and the bit about the pigs being used to manufacture yeast? hmmmmm!!! Could it have been a pig, cow, human, or different yeast that it could also have been used! But it might have been discovered in pigs first???

Ask a real scientist not some crank! Good luck with the diet supplement pills! Yum yum!!

  • 19.
  • At 05:33 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

While I can understand that animal-derived enzymes etc. might be an issue for those whose diet is constrained for religious reasons, I don't think they're really relevant to people who are vegetarian or vegan for ethical reasons. No animal (to my knowledge) would ever be killed specifically to provide these enzymes, or (for that matter) gelatin, rennet (used in many cheeses), etc. The animals are reared and killed primarily for their meat, and these are by-products made from the parts of the animal not eaten.

Ethically, surely it is better to make full use of all parts of an animal, rather than just wasting them (and spending other resources on producing synthetic substitutes)? Only if the consumption of meat fell so drastically that there was a shortage of the by-products would these become the economic driving forces behind the raising and slaughter of animals, and in that case my guess is that synthetic alternatives would be developed and become cheaper than the animal-derived products.

  • 20.
  • At 05:44 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

Do you think the use of animals in goods is more prevelant in the States then in the UK? I live in North Carolina and it's not very vegan friendly.

Thank you for your article.

  • 21.
  • At 05:49 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Chris Jenkins wrote:

Re: Alex (18), I'm vegetarian trying to turn vegan, not for religion, but for me. These things -are- problems for us, all you need to do is look at the veggie/vegan society webpage for the confirmation. The fact that these are 'just' by-products has no importance for us, they are still from an animal that was slaughtered needlessly. With more people becoming veggie/vegan the demand for meat decreases, and hence the by-products would also decrease. (Information from the product approval page)

The seedling symbol has four strict criteria:

# Products have to be free of animal flesh, meat or bone stock, animal carcass fats, gelatine, aspic, or any other products resulting from slaughter.

# Products and ingredients should not have been tested on animals

# Eggs used must be free range

# Products must be GMO free

# Products must also be free from cross contamination with non vegetarian products/ingredients in the production process.

  • 22.
  • At 05:53 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Pavan wrote:

It is not suprising that meat is part of most of the foods we eat, infact most the manure that is used to grow plants or vegetables is derived from dead animals.
I am a strict vegetarian, i avoid all forms of meat, people were disgusted when they found cannibals in papa new guinea, but the same people allow cows to eat their own kind,i.e the food that is fed to the cow is actually derived from dead cows so as to reduce the cost of food ( a clever idea by a idiotic MBA or Food scientist), which also caused the mad cow disease, similarly if we eat food that has traces of human flesh or derivates we will be extinct within no time due to various new viruses popping out and various new drugs to combat them, wow what a vicious circle.

  • 23.
  • At 05:56 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Vern Proctor Lubbock,TX wrote:

Why?, Why?, Why is BBC using that form for time expression? If it's 0131, what is to be gained by adding that colon or "PM"? If 1331 is intended, say so & be done with it. Anything additional is superfluous.

  • 24.
  • At 05:56 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Jesse Van Winkle wrote:

When time permits, please research and report on Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). Also, detail the many other designations used to hide the fact that a product contains MSG. Some of these names are: Hydrolyzed Protein, Autolyzed Yeast, Yeast Extract and many others. MSG is a hidden menace to the public.

  • 25.
  • At 06:03 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Elena wrote:

For those of you who are skeptical about going vegan just read the book by T Colin Campbell--"The China Study". I guarantee you that if you laughed at vegan lifestyle before you will reconsider. I and my husband did, and we are glad we made that choice. My husband had high cholesterol and was on medication. Since we became vegan he is off medication and is doing great. It feels beeter knowing that you control your health by what you eat.

I am glad to have read this article, because I had no idea this is possible. I do read labels, but now I will have to do even more research before I buy anything. Thank you.

  • 26.
  • At 06:05 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Kira wrote:

Although I am not a vegan nor vegetarian, I am doing my best to consume organic, local, and foods with minimal processing. However, even without being concerned about pig/animal proteins in my breads, it does raise some alarms about non-labeled food ingredients in general. It makes me wonder...what else aren't they telling us? Shall we all refer to Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle"?
Thank you for this insight, Mr. Rowlatt.

  • 27.
  • At 06:06 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • lois.raynor wrote:

There are more fruits ,vegetables,nuts ,grains seeds in the world than flesh foods. Nature offers the most variety. Vegans lack for nothing. This morning we ate chilli and rice(left over from last night), salad followed by graperuit. Lunch will be bread, avocado,broccoli sprouts, green onions followed by pear figs and dates. Dinner will be sliced eggplant brushed with hoisin and black bean sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds and poppy seeds then grilled; served with noodles broccoli and salad with walnuts. Food preparation is a joy for vegans. Possibilities are endless. Best of all nothing suffered or died for our pleasure. We are slim healthy and vigorous. Try it people.......It is the higher path.

  • 28.
  • At 06:15 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • nt wrote:

Thai cuisine also offers many vegetarian dishes. We have many kinds of rice. Some of the ingredients we use to make our food tasty are tamarine paste, coconut milk, soybean sauce, mushroom sauce, seaweed and fresh water weed , chilli, variety of herbs, noodles made from mungbeans, etc. In Thailand, the vegetarian food suppliers use soybean to produce protein that looks like meat. But actually they are soybean products we call Protein Kaset.
Also, we have books( in Thai language)about edible flowers,the minerals and vitamins they contain, with interesting floral dish recipes too.

Come to visit our annual vegetarian food festival in Bangkok. It is the time (Muslim, HIndu, Buddhist, etc) vegetarian restaurants and companies that produce raw materials for vegetarian cooking meet and exhange ideas and recipes.

  • 29.
  • At 06:21 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • nt wrote:

Thai cuisine also offers many vegetarian dishes. We have many kinds of rice. Some of the ingredients we use to make our food tasty are tamarine paste, coconut milk, soybean sauce, mushroom sauce, seaweed and fresh water weed , chilli, variety of herbs, noodles made from mungbeans, etc. In Thailand, the vegetarian food suppliers use soybean to produce protein that looks like meat. But actually they are soybean products we call Protein Kaset.
Also, we have books( in Thai language)about edible flowers,the minerals and vitamins they contain, with interesting floral dish recipes too.

Come to visit our annual vegetarian food festival in Bangkok. It is the time (Muslim, HIndu, Buddhist, etc) vegetarian restaurants and companies that produce raw materials for vegetarian cooking meet and exhange ideas and recipes.

  • 30.
  • At 06:24 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • wendills wrote:

Unlike most of you, I am not a vegetarian or Vegan, but I am ALLERGIC to pig and so I have to be very careful about what I eat. I eat organic foods and it is so outrageous that us consumers are being decieved all the time.
Now and again I bake my own bread mainly to avoid the heavy additives and sodium, but timewise,it can be a challenge.
What to do??? it seems like we can't get any healthy food any more!!
I am seriously considering back-tracking in time to live a self sustainable life on basic neccesities!!

  • 31.
  • At 06:30 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Kevan wrote:

Eat Kosher. Meaty is meaty, Dairy is milky, and "Pareve" has neither meat or milk ingredients (or additives or processing aids).

  • 32.
  • At 06:35 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • John Harris wrote:

...and for the Americans amongst us, remember that the US processes the majority of its cane sugar through charcoal from animal bones ! If it's not beet sugar, ugh.....

  • 33.
  • At 06:50 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Dan P wrote:

I don't get this at all. The amount of phospholipase in your food is probably so miniscule that it'd be hard to detect with state of the art equipment. By refusing to buy products containing phospholipase you probably have next to zero effect on the supply chain and do nothing to save the life of a pig. So this whole exercise seems completely pointless to me, unless you subscribe to a religion where avoiding pig-derived phospholipase gets you closer to eternal happiness.

  • 34.
  • At 07:00 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Aquil Mirza wrote:

Being a moslem and being far from my home country, when it comes to diet concerns I am very strict and will not let anything cross my beliefs. I strongly recommend and read articles and blogs like these which are a source of wealthy info. Till now I was cautious on several other food products but it never came to my mind that there are animals fats being used in baking products too. Thanks for sharing and bringing this up. Also even though this is something different from subject matter I would like to mention it. Here is a website from where you can locate Halaal (zabihah) restaurants in US, UK and Canada.


  • 35.
  • At 07:04 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • B. J. wrote:

Thanks for the info, Justin. I have to disagree with comment #6 about ALL Sri Lankan food being vegan (in fact, I'm quite certain that it's not, although there are several vegan dishes in Sri Lankan cuisine) and with comment #15 which states that the majority of Indians are vegan. In fact, even amongst the large segment of the Indian population who are practicing vegetarians, dairy products are still prevalent in the cuisine. Ghee (or clarified butter) is often present in otherwise seemingly vegan dishes served in many Indian restaurants and I was surprised to learn even tandoori naan is sometimes made with eggs, although I'm not sure how common it is. My point is that if you are concerned about your meal being truly vegan, it's always best to ask loads of questions and not to assume that just because your eating Sri Lankan or Indian or whatever, that it necessarily satisfies your dietary requirements.

Interestingly, I've also heard that the edible tin foily stuff that's sometimes found on some Indian sweets is often processed using animal by-products, and I've even heard this about maple syrup.

The website "" seems to contain some information that may be of interest to readers of this article.

  • 36.
  • At 07:18 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

People considering a vegetarian or vegan diet might be encouraged by my experience as a vegetarian of 22 years.

Eliminating meat at age 17, I never really missed it; but within a few years something happened that I had not anticipated. The very smell of meat cooking no longer smelled to me like food, and instead smelled like burning or searing animal flesh, but without stimulating my appetite. In other words, it became repulsive to me, without this being a goal or expectation.

Eventually, the meat section of the grocery store reminded me of a horror film, the cuts of beef and pork became gore to me, rather than food.

Vegan friends have told me that a similar process occurs to them with milk and egg products, although I am sceptical -- I live for REAL ice cream and pizza, a good bleu cheese...

So, I imagine that most people needn't worry about missing meat, etc., the rest of their lives.

  • 37.
  • At 07:19 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Marc Pypaert wrote:

If those enzymes are extracted form a dead animal, I can see the problem for a vegetarian or vegan. But if, as is the case most of the time, they are produced in microorganisms using a DNA sequence obtained from an animal, then where is the problem? Especially as these enzymes will break down during the baking process (not to mention digestion!). No animal died in the making of your bread, and that's all that should matter. I can understand people becoming vegetarian or vegan for health reasons, or by principle (to avoid unnecessary death of animals), but why do some people have to become so extremist about it all? It puts them in the same category as fundamental christians or islamists as far as I am concerned. Moderation in everything is the key to happiness (and health)!

  • 38.
  • At 07:21 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • alejandro wrote:

_Products and ingredients should not have been tested on animals_

That excludes all human food. What on earth makes you think scientists are not doing normal reseach procedures (including animal tests) on the vegetarian food you are eating ?

  • 39.
  • At 07:22 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Peter Thompson wrote:

Glad you're still going, but a little surprised to read that you're finding it so hard and that you're still hungry after meals.

Being a bit less militant than I used to be in my student days, I think it's really rather counter-productive to fret about the possibility of some marginal food additive being present in a product where you've otherwise made a reasonable affort to ascertain that it doesn't contain meat, eggs or dairy products.
I knew vegans who seem to enjoy the symbolic self-flagellation of going to immense investigative efforts to discover that some heretofore prized vegan food turned out to contain a suspect ingredient- and the subsequent puritantical pleasure of denying oneself (but particularly other would-be vegans: "Ohhhh... well you can't be a proper vegan if you eat THAT...)the food in question.
Now I'm not having a go at the sincerity of those who are unwaveringly strict in their principles- but if the aim of veganism is to reduce animal suffering, environmental stress and to 'live simply so others can simply live', then you have to ask when vegan-oriented behaviour hits a point of diminishing returns and the inconvenience of ensuring 100% purity makes no difference or discernible impact on the economy, the welfare of animals or the enviroment or on other people . If you want to take veganism to the max, and be truly veganer- than- thou, just stop the the nit-picking and become a fruitarian (one of whom once put me in my place by calling me a f**king carrot murderer...)

Meanwhile, if you're really not full after meals, try this: Veggie Kebabs on a bed of Couscous.

Put two cups of couscous to three persons on a mixing bowl. Mix in six tablespoons of EV olive oil, a tablespoon of ground cumin, a tablespoon of paprika, and salt and pepper accrding to taste. Heat up a can of chopped peeled tomatoes and add these to the couscous incrementally and stir in until it goes fluffy. Mix in a handful of chopped parsley, half a squeezed lemon, and a handful of toasted pinenuts or pistachios.

Wash and scrub/peel three courgettes, a dozen mushrooms, a couple of small-medium red onions, a couple of capsicum peppers, a can of drained & rinsed baby beetroots, and a medium aubergine (peeled). Chop into bite-size pieces and mix them up in the following marinade:

Cup of EV olive oil, (or Rice bran oil or grape-seed oil). Tablespoon of sesame oil. Mix in a tablespoon of tomato paste, a tablespoon of ground cumin, a tablespoon of paprika, a teaspoon of tumeric powder, a pinch of nutmeg, a dash of chilli sauce, and salt & pepper.

Stir the marinade over the veggies and leave for 30 minutes, re-stirring a couple of times to make sure the marinade is taken up.
Place an assortment of the veggies on skewers (you can add chopped veggie sausages from a health-food store if you're into them) and either barbeque them or roast in a pre- heated oven (200C) until they go tender and just begin to char.

Serve with the couscous and then tell me you're still hungry...

Why not bake your own bread? I am not a vegan but I do bake all my own bread from organic wheat flour and grains I mill myself. You can put all kinds of wonderful things in, like flax seed and nuts, that make bread more than just empty calories. I'm 28 years old and I work hard, but taking some time on the weekend to put a couple loafs in so I have something good to eat all week is a great pleasure in my life. The most time consuming part is waiting for it to rise, and you can watch the game while you do that! People have to learn that the only thing more importnant than eating is breathing as far as sustaining your existence is concerned, it is not a joke and should not be taken lightly.

  • 41.
  • At 07:46 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Firoz wrote:

I'd recommend baking your own bread as others have already mentioned. The actual mixing of ingredients takes very little time. It's waiting for the dough to rise before it goes into the oven that lengthens the bread-making process.

It's not difficult either, although it might take a few tries before you get it just right. I'm a terrible cook and I manage to bake my own bread on a regular basis. Once you start, it becomes addictive.

You can buy organic flour at most large supermarkets (Doves is a well-known brand, but many of the supermarkets have their own label as well). And you can also buy easy-blend yeast at most supermarkets too (which is likely to have at least one 'E' number in it).

Cost-wise, making your own bread isn't really cheaper than buying the supermarket variety, but it's not a strict one-for-one comparison. Your home-made bread will taste better (hopefully!), you'll know exactly what went into it and it won't stick to the back of your teeth!

  • 42.
  • At 07:54 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Helen wrote:

I've been a vegetarian for over 10 years now and I feel ripped off every time I find out about a cunningly disguised ingredient that I've missed. Like one of the other replies said "there is no going back" once I know!

I totally respect the choice of the individual....I just wish I got the informtion that allowed me to make my choice.

  • 43.
  • At 07:55 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Anonymous User, NJ, USA wrote:

Concerned about wine? Switch to beer. Still concerned because now brewers add various extra stuff to differentiate themselves? Switch to beer of proven German origin. Since 1516 they have the law that prohibits using any ingredients other than water, hops, barley, and yeast.

  • 44.
  • At 08:01 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • wrote:

food for thought, just what do you think that farmers put in the soil to produce the food, how many oxen turn the soil in rice paddies round the world? . Do you think they excuse themselves to go to the toilet.
That rich tomato topping on your pizza was probably improved by bulls blood fertilizer.
What i am trying to say that it is impossible to escape animal products.

  • 45.
  • At 08:10 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Alter wrote:

If you want to see how Jews are dealing with enzymes, here are links to information from two of the largest North American kosher certification agencies:

  • 46.
  • At 08:19 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Sue wrote:

why not buy a bread maker? I use ours all the time and the result is proper bread, soft inside, crusty outside and that goes stale by the second day, I use organic flour and other ingredients and guess it is one way of knowing exactly what is in the loaf that's feeding my family!

  • 47.
  • At 08:38 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Cat wrote:

So, would all you vegans have a problem with eating enzymes that were obtained using molecular cloning of an animal gene in bacterial or fungal vectors? Guess where most of those horrible bread enzymes probably come from...

It's actually cheaper to mass produce said enzymes using microorganisms than to derive them from each and every slaughtered animal. For example, the citric acid used in multitudinous varieties of prepared foods was made by yeast or mold. Would vegans who shun yeast- containing products stop eating this ubiquitous ingredient?

When does it become obsessive and unhealthy nitpicking to haggle over miniscule amounts of broken down enzymes in your food, regardless of source? Is the presence of phospholipase in bread dough really going to damage us that much?

There are healthy diets, and there are eating disorders. be careful with how restrictive you make your diet.

  • 48.
  • At 08:55 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Lee Dittmann wrote:

Though I was not aware of the possible animal-derived additives in certain apparently all-plant-based foods and drinks, I'm not overly concerned even though I have been a lacto-ovo-vegretarian for over 20 years. For me, it is a matter of minimizing animal suffering, not eliminating it. The process of agriculture itself--even organic agriculture--involves the destruction of animal life, from pest control, mutilation of small animals by the plow, to pollution from fossil fuels to plant, harvest, and get the foods to your table; and by destruction of animal habitat. Even if you were strictly a gatherer of wild plants, and even if you chose to harvest only those plant parts which do not kill the plant, such as fruit, you would be competing with wildlife, reducing the food supply of wild animals, resulting in the death of at least some.

Though I feel that most of us would cause less harm and suffering to animals and the environment by being some form of vegetarian, there are situations where I think hunting of animals and/or raising them for food is more ethical and environmentally sound, such as if you were trying to live for extended periods at high altitudes or at high northerly or southerly latitudes where it would be impossible to grow a sufficient amount of all-plant foods, and the only alternative would be to import plant foods from far away by using animal-life destroying fossil-fuels for the method of transit!

  • 49.
  • At 09:03 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Dol Bonner wrote:

First, I'm surprised at the outrage over animal additives in bread. Lard is commonly added to bread, at least in the US, and so I've always been a little skeptical of it. Second, I am an American who has been a vegetarian for 17 years, my entire adult life. I never eat meat, and I do my best to avoid stuff that contains animal products, like gelatin, lard, and stock. When it comes to things like rennet, well... if there's anything I've learned in my life, it's that vegetarianism is aspirational. I try to be understanding, because I have seen way too many non-vegs throw up their hands in despair after being rudely interrogated and harassed about the contents of a meal by a vegetarian or vegan. While I don't eat meat myself, and I strongly believe that eating animals is unethical, I belive it is a better and more compassionate goal to have more people reduce their meat consumption. People's meat comsumption is increasing, and the conditions under which food animals are being raised are declining. My heart goes out to anyone mistakenly eating something that violates their strongly held beliefs. I don't know about the UK, but American labeling leaves A LOT to be desired. And I think that's literally a sin. But, I also think that meat-free activism has to focus on winning over people who have yet to challenge the faux normalcy of eating meat at every meal, and these people are the very people who are alienated and dismiss us as weirdos when stuff like this becomes a central issue of our goals.

  • 50.
  • At 09:05 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Amos B Smith wrote:

Two small points.

Baking your own bread is wonderful, but the amount of CO2 you produce is huge compared to that produced (per loaf) in a bakery - economies of scale make a big difference.

As to MSG and other additives, do we really need to worry? Even though we are the most chemical-intensive society that has ever existed we also have the longest and healthiest life expectancy in human history. I don't think we should worry unduly. Of course I quite understand the rage of Jews, Muslims and vegetarians who need to follow rules. But for the rest, my feeling is that if you're worried about your health then think about your weight and your cardiovascular system - don't eat too much, eat your greens, and go easy on the grease.

And as to MSG, may I respectfully point out that one of the richest sources of MSG is parmesan..... and I've never heard of anyone claiming ill effects from the Mediterranean diet.....

Thanks, Justin for another thought-provoking post.

  • 51.
  • At 09:08 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Chandru Narayan wrote:

The western economies have massive abbatoirs/slaughterhouses and the waste is always recycled via new names, creative products. Whether it be lipsticks or be it enzymes in cheese making or animal food, pellets etc. It is difficult to read the label and then research on each ingredient. One place that has a wonderful website to ask questions is "", they also give sound advice on vegan and vegetarian cooking questions and where to get the right ingredients.

  • 52.
  • At 09:14 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Philo wrote:

Maybe you are craving a Big Mac because your body knows best. Being a vegan is unhealthy and unnatural: think of those cave men, did they evolve to be vegans? Eat, my friend!

  • 53.
  • At 09:22 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • john grehan wrote:

So much fuss about what we long as it tastes good enjoy what if you do not live as long as you planned, no matter what you do your span of life is largely outside yor control. Go on and enjoy the fruits of the earth...while they are still plentiful in this this part of the world.

  • 54.
  • At 09:25 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Prasad wrote:

@37, Tom:

Finally. I have always been vegetarian. Many people do not understand that I am genuinely repulsed by the smell of meat (fish even makes me nauseous). Finding the smell of meat attractive is a learned response imo.

  • 55.
  • At 09:39 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • andrea wrote:

I have a question for vegans and vegatarians. Why is it that so many of you seem to try to replicate the taste/feel of meat? I would think that would be rather anathema to you. Just curious.

  • 56.
  • At 09:40 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • stu wrote:

unless you choose unleavened bread you also run into the problem of classification. some taxonomic schema still yeasts on the animal side of things. even if you opt for a 7 phyla system the swing of the pendulum could make you a villian a posteri

  • 57.
  • At 09:41 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Michelle wrote:

I have read this previously here in the US. I am a muslim and we try and read everything in the grocery. If you notice when you buy most pita breads or arabic bread from the bakery, it will only last a few days because of all the extras that are not put into the bread.

  • 58.
  • At 09:44 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Zod wrote:

I must have missed the peer-reviewed journal about vegetarians living longer. (?) All that fretting about whats in your food is probably doing you more harm than that hydrolised pig extract itself. Why not enjoy life, bake your own bread.. then fry up a nice juicy steak and slap it between two slices with a dash of mustard. Mmmmm.

  • 59.
  • At 09:51 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Ian P wrote:

I want my bread to stay fluffy and light so I am happy with the enzymes. Humans are omnivores we are designed to eat meat in our diet. Being a vegan is totally unnatural, so the simplest answer is continue eating bread and get some flesh in your diet - in moderate amounts its good for you. I worked in W Africa for many years. People there often do not know where their next meal comes from. They are appauled and cannot believe that people complain about eating meat, which is so scarce and a luxury in Africa. We as westerners have it far too easy if we can stop eating meat based on some moral objection.

  • 60.
  • At 09:55 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Jacek Kostyrko wrote:

To see a list of "dough conditioners" available from one supplier, go to . These are all listed as of bacterial, fungal, or "microbial", rather than animal, origin (although some microbes may have been originally harvested from the digestive tracts of animals; on the other hand the particular strains are subsequently selected and grown in an artificial environment). Some organisms have been genetically engineered to produce the desired substances.

  • 61.
  • At 10:19 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Sabiha Ansari wrote:

Thank you Justin, for making us all aware of these products that bakeries use. Coming from the Islamic faith, it is extemely important for me to avoid anything that consists of pig. I always try to avoid anything that can vaguely carry this in it's recipe, but if it's not written anywhere, how will we know? I believe if bakers or anyone else for that matter, may go ahead and use these enzymes if they need or want to.....just let us know! So that we may make our own choices. Once again, your information if much appreciated. Thank you and good luck with your vegetarian lifestyle.

  • 62.
  • At 10:22 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Jessica Wingate wrote:

Dear Amos B. Smith (post #51)

Regarding your theory that parmesan has one of the highest rates of naturally ocurring glutamate, you are mistaken. According to this publication, tomato juice would be the main culprit. but also note the level of glutamate in mother's milk...

Don't forget that originally MSG was manufactured from seaweed.


  • 63.
  • At 10:23 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Helen wrote:

This entire exercise seems pointless. Religious beliefs evolved in times where the knowledge of biochemistry was somewhat limited. Peace to those who hold such beliefs dear as at some point the contradictions in non theological questions will catch up with them. Now there is a new religion emerging called 'veganism' and I'm curios to see when they are going to ban the ingestion of molecules that have been in contact with an 'animal' process, i.e. being for a while part of say a brain. The distinction between the 'vegetal' and 'animal' world is totally arbitrary: life is life. The ordering of 'higher' and 'lower' forms of life is just a reflection of ancient beliefs. The only relevant point is whether a given 'additive' has a scientifically proven deleterious effect on human health. Anything else is just 'aesthetics'

  • 64.
  • At 10:30 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Mohammad Khan wrote:

Pig in Bread

  • 65.
  • At 10:43 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Marianna wrote:

Recently I found a wonderful website full with delicious, healthy and vegetarian dishes. The website is: It combines Mediterranean cuisine with Asian dishes, including Arabian recipes, of course. The recipes are easy to do and very rich in exquisite flavours!. ;)

  • 66.
  • At 11:09 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Zod wrote:

I assume that not wearing leather/fur goes together with the Vegan Philosophy. Why not go the next step and spurn all products which were developed with the indirect use of animals eg. most modern medicines. If you wanted to go the whole hog (so to speak), you could also spurn all technologies which build upon a base which began with the exploitation of animals.. which is to say.. Everything!

  • 67.
  • At 11:30 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Dr J C S Averton-Berkeley. wrote:

Here's an idea - grow up. Environmental footprint from eating meat? Just think of the energy that goes into producing all that veg. Meat may be compounded of the energy the animal you are eating has consumed but not at a 1:1 ratio. Eating meat is a much more efficient way to feed yourself, as long as it doesn't dominate your diet. Look at that Gillian McKeith woman or whatever her name is. Veganism hasn't done her any favours. I read she is in her early 40's - so why does she look about 70 then? and without trying to sound cruel - it didn't help Linda McCartney or the thousands of vegans and vegetarians who die each year of cancer. A sensible, balanced diet made up of food produced as locally and organically as possible is the key. Also, look at the most successful apex species on earth - all carnivorous. Eating meat (that is to be a predator) increases intelligence and social development through social evolution. How many animals form highly structured social packs in order to hunt for legumes ???? All higher order creatures are meat eaters - Humans, Chimps (the veggie bonobos are an evolutionary dead end - the meat eating chimps are 4 times as intelligent), dolphins, canines, big cats, birds of prey. If we all went veggie we'd eventually die out and another species would evolve and take our place. The key is to treat the animals we do use in an efficient and 100% humane manner and to consume a small, healthy amount of meat. Cigarettes and Alcohol are vices..... Don’t make meat consumption one too.

  • 68.
  • At 11:32 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Jim Boyle wrote:

Justin's article is interesting. It is surprisingly easy to make your own bread using a breadmaker and you can pretty well guarantee the ingredients.

I don't think it's over fussy trying to avoid animal products. I went vegan in 1986 because of the threat of vCJD (this threat was amplified by the fallout from Chernobyl). Dairy foods in this country still run the risk of vCJD. Ian P (58) is mistaken to suggest that we are omnivores: biologically he is accurate, since we can eat an enormous variety of foods from animal and plant origin; philosphically he is inaccurate since we now know (ask your local professor of human nutrition to verify this) that we do not need to eat animal products to prosper.

If we eat animals simply because we enjoy the taste, then that is morally unsustainable: if we eat animals because we think we need to, that is ignorant and there is not really any excuse for ignorance on this subject.

I hope Justin perseveres with his vegan diet. It will improve his health (if he balances his diet properly - not a difficult task): it will also improve the planet (the UN recently produced a document which indicates that livestock produce 18% of global greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane; in contrast, transport, (ie cars, planes, trains, lorries) produce only 13.5%.

Perhaps, in the final analysis, Justin will decide to stick to his vegan diet in the long term because he will realise that he has no right to eat animal products given that this involves unnecessary suffering and slaughter of livestock.

  • 69.
  • At 11:46 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Dee wrote:

I think being vegan is easy. But that's probably because I've been one for 18 years. There are several breads in the UK that state on them suitable for vegans. Like co-op and some supermarket brands. More so than where I now live in N.Z.- the land of meat and dairy!

Bryan Brady's (post 19) comments annoyed me saying it's not natural or healthy to be vegan. Hmmm....I wonder why I'm so healthy then? That's without the need to stuff myself with pills as an ignorant person may think all vegans have to do. As for natural-is it natural to have someone kill your food for you, then you go and buy it nicely wrapped from a supermarket shelf? And I certainly haven't seen any other species having to cook their meat so as their stomachs can handle it! I'd eat anything that was vegan and raw. How about Bryan eats anything non-vegan that is raw, then we'll see what really is 'natural' and 'healthy'!!!

  • 70.
  • At 01:23 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Marian wrote:

I understand vegans and vegetarians have certain food preferences and feel astonished when cheated by bakers. However,I wonder whether they are really trying to be healthy or obsessive. If their true concern is health... then, why do you (we,I, they) eat at all? Most vegetables are transgenic, aren´t they? Unless you have your own orchard (and hopefully if the soil is not polluted), you cannot assure you are being careful enough. Justin, please, do become anti-transgenic!

  • 71.
  • At 06:39 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Becs wrote:

I applaud Dee's comments (Post 70), I too live in NZ and it can be difficult being a vege here, especially when there are so many ignorant people who think being a vegetarian means you still eat chicken and fish! After having seen the inside of a Chicken Slaughterhouse I challenge any chook eater to do the same and still be able to stomach a drumstick!
Labelling in NZ on just about all products leaves alot to be desired too! Depending on where you live there are loads of great resources available. Most Asian markets stock loads of veg meat alternatives. Blissful Health foods in Auckland are great, they also have a website Again, in Auckland there is a great Vege cafe on Dominion Road, Blue Bird Cafe, they have a cafe in Christchurch too The Lotus-Heart. They also do a recipe book...My fav's are the Spinach Tofu Loaf (Vegan), Mexican Cheese and Pepper Cake (Vegetarian), Carrot Cake (Vegan) and the Vegan Choc Cake.
A fantastic Vegan wine supplier is Wrights Wines of Gisborne and they deliver! I have only been a vegetarian for the last 4 years, but I can say that my general health has greatly improved since. I just wish I had changed my diet earlier!
Justin.. A great vege cookbook is Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. ISBN: 0-517-59632-6. Loads of yummy, filling recipes!

  • 72.
  • At 07:51 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Neil Bryant wrote:

I bake my own sourdough bread. It takes ages, but takes very limited actual work. The only ingredients are flour, water and salt. No yeast! I never eat any other bread now except my own, and it tastes so good, that it has become more a treat than just stuff you throw down your neck to fill a space. I keep it in a carrier bag tied at the top, and it will last for about 8-9 days! Shop bought bread doesn't last that long BECAUSE of the enzymes. Oh, and just out of interest, bread goes stale quicker if you keep it in the fridge, but freezing it is fine.
Get baking people. Dan Lepards book 'the handmade loaf' is very strongly recommended for the dedicated 'breadie'.

  • 73.
  • At 08:30 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Reilly wrote:

Do vegans & vegetarians wear leather shoes or use leather belts ?

  • 74.
  • At 10:03 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Jo wrote:

I have sympathy for the McDonalds craving. I have been vegetarian for 3 years and am moving closer to veganism. I gave up eating McDonalds and other fast food well before becoming vegetarian. However, when I became vegetarian I found the meat and the meat smell I craved was not the locally produced, organic, recognisable cuts I'd used as a meat eater but the refined, processed junk I'd already given up on. I suspect the cravings are more about the removal of the additives from your body than anything else. With regard to vegan foods and unseen/unknown additives I look for products which carry the vegan society logo. With regards to recipes and products I suggest you look at the vegan society website, or even join the society, it makes it much easier to plan your shopping list.

I'm not vegan, nor do I have any intention of becoming one, but I hope the following recipes will help. I should also note that pizza dough does not, traditionally, contain eggs. It's very easy to make, so here goes. This makes two pizzas.

1. Pour a glass of wine
2. Read instructions on dried yeast tin. Make yeast and let it rise - 'bout 7/8 grams should do it. The airing cupboard is a good place for yeast to rise. Alternatively, if you can find fresh yeast, mash it with 120ml lukewarm water until very smooth. You will need about 15 grams of fresh yeast.
3. Sift 250g flour (preferably 00 type, if not opt for strong baking flour) with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Do not use standard flour, honestly don't.
4. Make a well in the middle and add your yeast.
5. Pour another glass of wine, you will need the energy.
6. Incorporate flour and yeast with your fingers, to make a soft dough.
7. Knead, knead, knead. The secret to a good dough (besides good flour) is kneading. Knead until it becomes smooth and elastic.
8. Shape into a ball, cut a cross on top, place in a bowl and cover. You need to leave it in a warm place for about 3 hours to rise until almost doubled in size. Warm places in English houses are a mythical beast. Do NOT be tempted to put it on top of the radiator. Try the airing cupboard instead.
9. Pour another glass of wine or six while waiting for the dough to rise:)
10. When risen, knead again and roll. Voila. Can also be frozen.

There ya go, then you can choose your own toppings. Tomato sauce and grilled courgettes, a selection of grilled veggies... all vegan, all very good.

I'd also suggest eating lots of couscous, you can herb it up any way you please and it's healthy. Lentils and chickpeas are cheap and good sources of protein and iron, there are many ways to cook them, all good. Burghul (aka bulghur sometimes) is another good ingredient and the basis for tabbouleh, another hearty, filling dish. Or try a pasta and bean soup, which is surprisingly easy to prepare if you're happy to use tinned beans.

I think I had the same dish in Marine Ices last year - it was delicious. I have been going there for 30 years and was delighted that being a vegan did not prevent me from enjoying a big plate full of tasty food! (Although I would love to see pistachio soya ice-cream there too).

If you are looking for a knockout vegan dessert, you must try the Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation’s (VVF) chocolate mousse recipe, available at: I have taken this to several dinner parties and it goes down a storm!

On a more serious note, I recommend you read the VVF’s report White Lies (which I authored) available at: I guarantee you will not be hankering after cheese after reading this.

  • 77.
  • At 10:22 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Burner wrote:

There's nothing a load of religious superstition and moralistic nonsense to enliven a debate!

I answer to Reilly's question (comment 74) vegans do not wear leather. To find out why, see

  • 79.
  • At 11:19 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Katya wrote:

Can someone explain something to me please? Given that humans are naturally omnivores and don't survive on air alone (unless you are a breatherian and then you might want to skip that due to carbon emissions etc but that is a different article)- why is it that every vegetarian and I mean hardcore paid up member of the meat is evil and I am one of the devil's henchmen for tucking into a steak - yes, why is it that they are morbidly obese? To the person who has been on Atkins - yes it is good and I lost 44lbs (and yes I did still have vegetables). While you are at it how about researching Aspartame and all the myths surrounding that substance.

  • 80.
  • At 11:26 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • trish wrote:

why don't you bake your own bread?

You can then set it overnight to make a lovely loaf just ready for when you get up? I wouldn't be without my breadmachine. And as well as just white or wholemeal you can make speciality breads - sundried tomato, walnut, pesto, onion - the list is endless.

  • 81.
  • At 01:10 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • paul wrote:

I always get concerned when people begin to investigate the food that they eat without clearly understanding why they are doing so.

The modern consumer society demands products that would not have been possible in the previous generation. Supermarkets are demanding ever longer shelf life of the product to improve profits and, they claim, reduce waste. it is not possible to staisfy these demands witout the use of processing aids and additives.

If we want to buy ready peeled potatoes then we have to accept that they will have been dipped in a solution to prevent oxidation (and hence preventing them from goning black). if we want to buy meat that has a ten day shelf life then we hav to accept that it wil have added preservatives (even more so in the modern age where salt - a natural preservative - is seen as a big no no.

We want to buy bread that is three days old but still light and fluffy so yes there has to be an artificial mechanism for that to happen.

I get fed up with people talking about how poor the controls are on the industry that I work in when they don't shop daily (as was the case in our grandmothers generation and is the quality of food we are aspiring to), when they insist on purchasing products from supermarkets who have to have long life and preserved products to increase profits (and to aide the customer when they put it in a fridge at home), when they insist on having campaigns to reduce salt/sugar/fat without understanding why those elements are there and what is required to replace them.

Ignorance is bliss and this is the state that most people are in when it comes to buying mass consumption products. the media then give a litttle ill advised information out and before we know it there is a food scare that should not be there.

The true moral here is that people should understand the industry before they begin to criticise it.

Once you get the hang of it Veganism is so simple you can do it in your sleep. You find your favourite restaurants or show what lazy caterers they are by nipping next door to a supermarket or health food store to buy a packet of Redwoods super melting cheezly or some vegan ice cream to finish off the meal.

Even places such as Pret a mange do vegan options these days (sushi, soups, wraps) and supermarkets are now marking wines as vegan.

A good cook book such as Vegan from Hamlyn helps to make life sweeter.

These days you can get vegan caviar, vegan chicken, vegan whipped cream, vegan white chocolate, vegan black pudding and haggis, even vegan condoms!!

Knowing that you are making a difference not just to your health but to the health of the planet and no longer killing for fun make it all worth while.

  • 83.
  • At 01:30 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Richard Carr wrote:

There are many comments in this series of posts questioning people's moral considerations when it comes to eating these hidden animal-derived ingredients.

I personally am vegetarian. No meat, no fish, no animal by-products including gelatine,etc. I do eat free range eggs and drink milk, and I do wear leather shoes.

This is about personal choice in most cases and religion in some cases. People who question why I would want to avoid pig-derived ingredients because there is 'very little of the ingredient left' are missing the point. We all have our own thoughts on these matters and we each have to consider our conscience.

The issue here is that these ingredients are not clearly advertised and may well be hidden purposely to avoid a loss in sales. These should be included in labels in the same way that even a risk of nut traces are listed so that we can all make our own choices.

  • 84.
  • At 01:44 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Gurvy wrote:

particularly in response to posts 37 and 55, Tom and Prasad.
Wow I'm taken a back to discover that there are others as "wierd" as I. I have felt like this ever since I can remember. Even before I became conscious at an age of under 2 years, I was refusing baby foods with meat and fish and poultry before I even knew what food was. I used to physically be sick if I was made to eat it at junior school. The experiences you describe as having when you go shopping are exactly how I feel. I cant see past the blood at the meat counter and the smell and sight of the dead fish together for any longer than I can hold my breath can cause me to come near to vomitting. I have through the years managed to sit myself and eat at a table where meat is being eaten but keep a personal distance from it. The hardest thing of all is going out or otherwise eating socially. Its hard to expect that anyone would see your view and take care when preparing vegetarian food. ie observing the purity of it and not sharing utensils causing it to be polluted. Innocent looking independant sandwich shops are amoungst the worst perpertrators of this practice. Also pizza parlours in their preparation with hands in all ingredients..
So to this end I dont enjoy food or eating much. I Just feed the body the fuel it needs and make sure its pure and of the correct grade and stick to what I know.
I have never known anyone who can relate to this feeling in me and all see me as a fussy git and always difficult at meal times and eating out.


Veganism has really taken off this year many campaigners are expecting numbers of vegans to double during 2007.

There is a massive 2 day international Vegan festival in Bristol on the 9th and 10th June and it is planned to be the biggest vegan fayre the world has ever seen with people coming from all over the world to find out more about this ethical lifestyle that offers a number of solutions to our modern world's dilemmas.

If the expected 20,000 visitors turn up and people are as amazed as they usually are by what they see and taste then a tidal wave of veganism is expected as the movement finally reaches critical mass.

  • 86.
  • At 02:13 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Jo wrote:

The way to get over the McDonalds cravings is to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and no processed meat or crisps, for about six months and then eat a burger meal. You will feel so ill about three hours later that you will feel sick every time you smell it afterwards, for a very long time. Works pretty well for McDonalds and Burger King.

  • 87.
  • At 02:16 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Joey wrote:

Because vegetarians and vegans think more about their diets, I find they don't just eat better and more healthily, they usually have far more varied and interesting diets. There is another benefit too!
By my late twenties it was clear I had inherited by father's propensity for haemmorhoids :( Since I went vegetarian about fifteen year's ago, I have had very few such problems.

Vegans Rock!

It's the way forward!!!

Come to the Bristol Vegan Fayre 9th and 10th June 2007. Great fun you can feel damn good about! :-)

check out

  • 89.
  • At 03:47 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Dr Ian McDonald wrote:

One of the main Pizza chains (Pizza Express) not only has vegan pizza bases, but will melt fake cheese onto it if you bring some. Go there and enjoy :).

  • 90.
  • At 05:09 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Adrian Shepherd wrote:

More to the point, what else don't we know ?

  • 91.
  • At 05:12 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • andrea wrote:

Veganism might be possible for some but what of the regions of the world that simply can't support fruits and vegetables that man can eat? I find this attitude somewhat selfish, considering that everone could not be vegan without all of the "questionable" things that are done to grow enough veggies for everyone right now, including the shipping.

  • 92.
  • At 05:19 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • MJ wrote:

As for the posting about wines below, the Co-Op helpfully labels its own wines as either vegetarian, or vegetarian and vegan.

Marks and Spencer labels its wines that are vegetarian.

And most off-licenses keep a list of wines under the desk that are vegan, so just ask.

Same goes for beers. My understanding is that the cloudy ones are vegan.

Hope that helps!

  • 93.
  • At 05:43 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Paul Berry wrote:

Meat eater or vegetarian/vegan - something gets killed either way. I find it puzzling that Veggies don't consider that a plant is a living organism, put on the earth to grow, reproduce and die.

The fact that animals are much closer to being understood as 'living' things than plants is a Vegetarians get out. If plants put up a struggle and squealed when harvested then there really would be problems for all those who choose a so called 'healthier' lifestyle.

The real issue surely is, that any undisclosed additive in food production is unacceptable and the consumer should demand full information.

  • 94.
  • At 05:47 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Adrian Shepherd wrote:

More to the point, what else don't we know about what is in our food...

Perhaps food suppliers consider ignorance to be bliss and our sensitivities irrelevant. More weight to the argument for buying locally produced organic food.

  • 95.
  • At 06:00 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • CB wrote:

Reading the comment by Jo (no. 87) reminds me of something I read in a magazine my boyfriend's mother picked up in the US. It was a diet tip, but I'm finding it useful for cutting out cravings for unhealthy food.
The tip is: you can eat *whatever you like*, as long as you've eaten all your fruit and veg portions first. By which time you're too full...
I manage to go part of the way there by blending up a breakfast drink from 4-5 portions of fruit, 1 cup fruit juice, maybe 1/2 cup yoghurt, and of course 2 tablespoons of linseed oil (so I don't have to eat fish oil). Sets me up for the day and even better than a fried brekky!

  • 96.
  • At 06:14 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Olivia wrote:

Off topic - but what lovely reading of all these posts! Informative, friendly - I think I'll stop reading Have Your Say and come here instead!

I was going to suggest Indian cooking, too. The Hare Krishna cook book (not sure what it's actually called) is a virtual door stopper full of delicious recipes. My English mother's Indian food beats any Indian restaurant I've been to!

This particular cooking tradition also excludes onion and garlic - I know a fair number of people have problems with onion.

  • 97.
  • At 06:18 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • DB wrote:

Just to add to all these concerns.

I was informed many years ago by a farmer in Somerset, that the traditional way to make Scrumpy cider was to put a piece of meat in the barrel, and only when this had completely dissolved was the cider ready.
I've never seen THAT on the ingredients!

  • 98.
  • At 06:20 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

I think Jesus would put this into the category of 'Straining out a gnat but swallowing a camel'.

Read the context in the Bible - Book of Matthew chapter 23 - awesome.

  • 99.
  • At 06:41 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • clemency mitchell wrote:

Very interesting discussion. But please note, not all plant food eaters are vegans. Some of us are "strict vegetarians" - we avoid flesh, eggs and dairy, usually motivated by a desire for better health, but we wear woolen jumpers, leather shoes, and we eat honey.
The ongoing Adventist Health Survey at Loma Linda University is providing good evidence that strict vegetarians have better health than ovo-lacto vegetarians, and ovo-lacto vegetarians
have better health than meat eaters.
You might like to check out the article on longevity in the National Geographic magazine in November 2005.

  • 100.
  • At 07:11 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • K wrote:

Funny, the Russians have had vegan caviar for years - aubergine and mushroom! Personally speaking unless you have a medical condition or religious grounds I think it is simply a symptom of eccentricity and decadence that you can choose only to eat this or that. If you were placed in a situation of food shortages or starvation the vegetarian, vegan principles would fly out of the window.

  • 101.
  • At 10:16 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • steve price wrote:

As bread is my biggest downfall as far as keeping my weight down , toastaholic , I am rather pleased to hear that it is incompatible with my vegan lifestyle ..thanks.

  • 102.
  • At 11:14 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • doc bob wrote:

Never mind Justin, only a week left mate. You are going to enjoy your first non-vegan meal. I wish i could buy it for you mate.

  • 103.
  • At 11:28 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Richard wrote:

I've been Vegan for 8 years now and never been healthier.

Although difficult to start with it soon becomes second nature as you learn what foods you can & can't eat, and where you can buy them. I highly recommend veganism for the following 3 reasons;

1. It will reduce your environmental footprint immensely - meat & dairy production is highly polluting and destructive to the environment.

2. It is great for your health (providing you learn a little about basic nutrition and eat a balanced diet - which you should do anyway, whatever your diet)

3.You will live with a clear conscience and no longer have blood on your hands for all the animals killed on your behalf.

  • 104.
  • At 07:07 AM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Scott wrote:

There is an interesting thread amongst some of the comments intimating that in western society we eat far more meat than in the years before intensive farming. The available data indicates that this hypothesis is incorrect. In 1948/49 (during a time of post war austerity) the average Australian consumed 91.1kg of red meat and pork per annum. In 1998/99 that figure was 71.6kg per annum, a reduction of 21%. Dairy intake staid roughly the same over that time 22.1kg in 48/49 against 23.3kg in 98/99. The data indicates that we ate more animal and animal derived products pre commercial farming than we do today. The data can be found on the Australian Government Dept of Fisheries, Forrestry and Agriculture website.

  • 105.
  • At 07:29 AM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Scott wrote:

r.e. Richards comment - 104 - will someone please explain how a cow wandering around a field eating grass is more polluting and destructive to the environment than ploughing the ground up with a carbon fuel burning tractor, planting wheat, and then harvesting it with the same carbon fuel burning tractor? Unless the cow was barned and fed on a grain diet, the environmental impact of the cow in the field would be less per KJ of energy produced (and the cow adds value by fertilising the soil)

  • 106.
  • At 08:21 AM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • chris Michael wrote:

Re comment by K.

Yes, I suppose vegetarianism is a product of a kind of decadent society. But if you replace the word decadent with "wealthy", then it is clear that what we have nowadays is the luxury of choice to be more ethical. In times of scarcity of course we have fewer choices. But in our well organised, wealthy society we don't have to rely on animals for food. Now, there's no need to kill animals for food. So unless you feel particularly strongly about the need for it, you can take advantage of the luxury afforded to us by agricultural and storgae technologies to choose to avoid meat.

  • 107.
  • At 10:14 AM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Margaret wrote:

Thanks for pointing all that out! I would rather have "GM" enzymes from pig genes inserted into bacteria to churn out the enzyme (as for vegetarian cheese) than actual pig extracts.
As for icecream- try Swedish Glace (Available in healthfood shops, Sainsbury's etc)- chocolate/ vanilla & caramel, strawberry etc...yum!

  • 108.
  • At 10:16 AM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • D Fisher wrote:

How can you have Sheperds pie without lamb ?
Shperds lok after sheep and byits very name has always contained lamb!!!

  • 109.
  • At 10:35 AM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Ayd wrote:

Re comment by Chris Michael

He's exactly right.

Many people seem to argue their case to eat meat from extremes ('if everyone became veggie we'd have to kill all the cows' or 'but what would you do if your plane crashed and you had to eat the passengers').

There is no case for meat eating today, unless you choose that lifestyle.

We now have that choice. We now have freedom to make that choice based on our own conscience. We do not need to follow the herd, let alone eat it.

  • 110.
  • At 10:42 AM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • chris Michael wrote:

Re D Fisher's comment about shepherd's pie needing to have shepherded sheep in it:

I wonder if everyone in his family actually fishes, or whether it's just a name?

  • 111.
  • At 10:43 AM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Jackie wrote:

I like to see cows and livestock, I like seeing chickens in the fields where I live. I really enjoy watching these creatures.
If vegetarianism is taken to its maximum position, these creatures would disappear from our countryside.
I can understand and do respect people wishing for moral or religious reasons not to eat meat, and programmes like this do give important information regarding hidden sources of meat.
But, please realise that some of us hold religious beliefs that all animals are put on this earth for man's use. Man has a responsibility to ensure that these animals are kept with dignity and respect. Yes I am Christian, a dreadful thing to admit in todays society, my religion gives me the choice to eat anything I wish, but the responsibility to ensure that when I eat animals, those animals are kept in the best circumstances and with respect. I buy all my meat locally from trusted suppliers, I bake my own bread and ensure that all veg is organic. It is the only way I can be sure of what I eat. And yes my flour comes from a local mill, ground from organic wheat.

This recipe for quiche lorraine is delicious and comes from here:

1. First make pastry by rubbing 125g vegan marga into 250g plain w/meal flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough water to make a dough which is soft, but not sticky.
2. Roll out and place into a large quiche dish. Bake for 10 minutes at 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 to set the pastry.
3. Now make the filling: mash 280g tofu with either a blender or a fork, adding a little soya milk for moisture.
4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan or saucepan and add 2 chopped onions, 1 chopped red pepper and 2 cloves crushed garlic. Once it is slightly cooked add the 1/2 pkt chopped Redwood's rashers and cook for a minute or two. Add to the tofu mixture along with half a packet of grated Redwood's cheezly.
6. Place the mixture into the pastry. Top the mixture with quarter a pkt of grated cheezly and the sliced tomato. Place in the oven and cook for 30-40 mins.

The vegan diet is delicious, nutritious and kind to animals, the environment and people. What more could you ask.

  • 113.
  • At 12:13 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • James wrote:

I know the feeling of craving a burger. I'm not vegan as such but as an Orthodox Christian, practicing my faith requires that I fast fairly frequently, said fasting being basically vegan and tea total. I get no cravings at all during the Friday and Wednesday fasts, but when it comes to an extended period like Great Lent, I often end up craving burgers or the like. The strange thing is that when I am free to eat meat I'd rarely even consider one. There's no way I could ever go vegan full time, but I have no doubt that our fasting regimne is of benefit to my health as well as my faith. I'm also certain it benefits animal welfare given that my attitude to the meat I do eat has changed - I'm much more concerned about how it's been produced and much more willing to pay extra for it.

Looking through the comments it shows that obviously we are going to have to work a lot harder to deal with the misconceptions and misunderstandings about the vegan diet and lifestyle.

It's a shame because veganism has been going for 60 years and many of the things Donald Watson spoke about in the first edition of The Vegan 60 years ago seem to be even more relevant today. If we'd have listened to him then, the planet and human health wouldn't be in the tragic preventable mess it is today.

The idea that animals wouldn't exist if farmers didn't artificially inseminate them is an example of both how arrogant and deluded humans have become. Admitedly there are a few breeds that are so modified they can't even stand up let alone procreate naturally but this is heavily outweighed by the natural breeds dying out due to man's greed and ignorance.

I would urge anyone who is concerned about the environment, human health, animal welfare and human rights to spend a weekend in Bristol on the 9th and 10th of June 2007 finding out THE FACTS, tasting the food and listening to some of the speakers at the international ethical lifestyle and environment expo and Vegan festival.

See for more info.

You will be amazed.

  • 115.
  • At 01:07 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Russell Long wrote:

I find the automatic linking of veganism with ethical living unhealthy. Eating meat is not unethical. It may be unethical to listen to fundamentalist meat-eater haters bang on for page after page about why they're so superior to the rest of the human race, thgouh.

Here is a recipe for Ethical Man and anyone else! It's quick but delicious.

Butternut Squash and Chick Pea Tagine

1. Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a large pan, add 1 large chopped onion and fry over a low/med heat for five minutes. Add 10oz chopped butternut squash and 3oz sliced green beans and fry for a further five minutes.

2. Add 3 cloves crushed garlic, 2 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp cinnamon and ¼ tsp chilli powder for the last minute of cooking.

3. Add a 400g tin of tomatoes, 140mls water, 400g tin of chick peas and 3oz chopped dried apricots. Cook for 30 minutes or until all vegetables are tender. If needed, add salt and pepper to taste and serve with rice of cous cous.

Find more recipes here:

Don't forget to come to the London Vegan Festival on August 19 2007. More info here:

  • 117.
  • At 02:07 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Caroline wrote:

Im a vegan and buy Hovis bread purely because it states on the wrapper suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Im presuming that they wouldnt be allowed to get away with that if it actually had anything in it to do with animals.

  • 118.
  • At 02:27 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Elizabeth wrote:

Chris Jenkins said he was trying to turn vegan, but he said that his eggs must be free range... vegan's don't eat eggs.. akso he said that all food must be GMO free, so he shouldn't be eating soya products either, as all soya has been genetically modified.

  • 119.
  • At 02:56 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Jackie wrote:

Interesting debate, Re Tony in Bristol
Let me give some information regarding farming. Farming is a business, if an animal is not cost effective it will not be produced. If the world turned vegan, dairy cows, beef cattle, sheep, chickens etc would have no function in the food chain, there would be no reason to keep them, breed them or feed them. They would then become objects in a zoo or kept as pets. I don't know many people who can keep a cow as a pet, it would soon become an endangered species in the UK.
It is nothing to do with artificial insemination, it's just pure economics and supply and demand. To produce crops required for a vegan diet for ALL individuals in the UK would require all the available land being turned over to arable and a significant amount of imports. There would be no space for unecessary expensive animals. I am not a farmer, and wouldn't wish to offend anyone, but please bear in mind that in the UK we do still have a choice.
Also Veganism has been around for centuaries. Not just 60 years, it is practised by many religions. I could not consider a vegitarian lifestyle, as I am intolerant of fructose and anphylactic to most fruits it is not only dangerous but deadly. Being ethical is not about vegan, vegitarian or meat eating, it is about ensuring that we make the best use of what we eat, we only take what is necessary and give back all that we can. We only have one go at this world, please lets just think about what we do with what we have.

  • 120.
  • At 04:26 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Kathy M wrote:

I think all ingredients should be listed, especially animal based ones. If not by name, then perhaps a note somewhere to state that animal by-products are present so that all of us who are vegan or vegetarian can avoid the foods we try so hard in most circumstances to avoid.
People make such a big deal about sugar and salt in foods but not about animal content.
I only wish less foods contained gelatine as this is an ingredient that is very common and although I am not vegan, something I tend to avoid where possible.
I think your 'test' or experiment is a good thing and will open more people's eyes to the situation.

  • 121.
  • At 04:43 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

@51 Amos B Smith
"Baking your own bread is wonderful, but the amount of CO2 you produce is huge compared to that produced (per loaf) in a bakery - economies of scale make a big difference."

Not entirely true. Bakers ovens are industrialised and are usually open at both ends to allow dough to go in one end and bread to come out of the other. In spite of the scale, they are very inefficient. Home ovens and bread makers are quite well insulated meaning they are less wasteful than you might think. Also, there is the issue of food miles. Bakers tranport the flour to their bakeries then transport the bread to the supermarkets. If you make you own, the flour goes straight to the supermarket saving a lorry journey. I would be very suprised if shop bread has a smaller carbon footprint than baking your own.

  • 122.
  • At 06:46 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Sasha wrote:

I am not a vegetarian, but I do eat a primarily vegan diet, and am quite strict with organic, local, etc. What horrifies me is threefold:

1. The lack of full disclosure on packaging.
2. The denial by the government and FDA (in the states) of health risks from many food additives.
3. The motivation behind many of these foodstuffs: Increased profitability.

I don't mind wineries using egg whites for clarification, or farmers using manure (better than the chemical stuuf), but I do mind animal enzymes in bread, used to prolong shelflife and therefore increase profit!

  • 123.
  • At 07:15 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Jason wrote:

In reply to Jackie, the farming issue is one of great cruelty, and the belief that these animals would have no place in the world other that to eat, could only come from a meat eater. It takes far more areas of this world to grow food to fatten these animals up, so take away mass growth of animal food, thus creating the room to grow more crops for a more compassionate diet.

  • 124.
  • At 08:42 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • adam keeling wrote:

the issue is not about veganism or vegetarianism or what nasty products we find in other products the issue is the way we continue to live. the most effective way to combat problems such as those discussed in the article are to buy from the primary producer, your veg from the local farmer, your meat from your butcher who buys from the farmer and so on (bake your own bread yes!). better still grow your own, but as aminimum try and understand where your food comes from. if we were all to do this just imagine how different life would be; no supermarkets, no products flown half way round the world so we can get fresh tomatoes out of season! we are mad to allow our lives to be manipulated by commercial enterprises/governments who monopolise and manipulate the world market. i say boycott and buy from people you know and trust. comments welcomed....

  • 125.
  • At 10:10 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Charley wrote:

Can I recommend not going to Italian restaurants as a vegan, they are probably the worst places to try and find vegan food! Try Indian, Chinese or Middle Eastern restaurants, their cuisine has many vegetarian items that are vegan by default. Some Chinese places will leave the fried egg bits out of otherwise vegan dishes if you ask them. With Indian you'd need to check whether they fry their vegetables in butter or vegetable oil, but a lot of places do seem to use vegetable oil. And if you feel the need for pizza you could always try making your own - pizza base, tomato sauce, olive oil, Cheezly (vegan cheese), roasted peppers/red onions/artichokes/courgettes, mushrooms, mixed herbs... You can also buy vegan ice cream!

  • 126.
  • At 11:18 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Hassan Varvani wrote:

Revolting? Indeed! Frightening? Very! Makes one wonder what the food processors get away with.....Unfortunately there aren't many options for 'replacement' foods if one must have baked bread or other processed foods which do not divulge complete ingredients. As a Muslim, yes this is frightening me, very frightening! One solution is for Halaal and Kosher certification bodies to be made aware so that they may seek means to bring about change.

  • 127.
  • At 05:11 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • k davidson wrote:

I think the problem is easily solved having lived with a man who tried to go vegan for years. Bake your own bread, grow your own food where possible and cook for yourself instead of buying food out. It's what we had to do years ago and we were far healthier than fatties are today!

  • 128.
  • At 05:50 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • lois.raynor wrote:

Regarding ethical man and pizza. The original Italian pizza was end of the week stale bread softened by cooked tomatoes. In those days bread did not contain hair or pig enzymes.

  • 129.
  • At 06:48 AM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Susan May wrote:

Just a side issue to what has been written already about this young man going vegan - is it not interesting that it is bringing together people of different faiths and beliefs? Many times it has been said that taking on a veggie or vegan diet is like a religion because you make a conscientious choice to live your life in a certain way and give up foods etc.

Is it not refreshing to see different faiths discussing this item in a sensible manner unlike the rubbish that has been reported by some TV programmes?

Perhaps this is the way forward - compassion for animals could lead to a more compassionate understanding of other people and their beliefs.

  • 130.
  • At 07:24 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Rod wrote:

I'm not sure that this is necessarily an evil conspiracy against vegans. Doubtless if you were devoted to an animal-only diet you'd also find all kinds of "nasty" vegetable additives and processing aids getting into your food.

The problem, if it is one, is just that we, and food manufacturers, tend to mix foodstuffs up: it's called a "recipe". If you really want full control over what you eat (be that vegan control or otherwise) you'll have to source pure ingredients and mix them yourselves. But that means you won't benefit from the labour-saving processing that others can perform on your behalf.

There's nothing evil about this. It's the way the world works. If you rely on others you have to relinquish some control. But if you don't rely on others you'll live a meagre existence.

  • 131.
  • At 01:14 AM on 28 Jan 2007,
  • Linda W wrote:

Is ethical man avoiding food colorings (or at least red, don't know about others)? Found this gem on discovery channels "mythbuster" quiz section on insects:

Some red food colorings are made from ground-up beetles.
>>> a) True <<<
b) False
The correct answer is true. Many food items, including fruit juices, candies and flavored gelatin contain cochineal, carmine or carminic acid to give them a deep red color. These pigments are derived from the shells of the female Dactylopius coccus beetle, which is found in South and Central America. The dye has been used for centuries and dates back to the Aztecs. It is safer than most synthetic red dyes, apart from the rare allergic reaction.

Re Jackie

Please explain whats ethical about depriving an animal of the ability to carry out instinctive behaviour, killing calves to steal their milk, gassing or crushing live male chicks to support egg production, or turning naturally vegetarian animals into cannibals?

"Farming is a business, if an animal is not cost effective it will not be produced."
WRONG - Most animal farming enjoys massive subsidy and yet livestock farmers are still going out of business or forced to diversify into tourism(there are little or no subsidies for fruit and veg)and this still doesn't account for the environmental cost of slurry and wasted water.

"(Animals)would have no function in the food chain, there would be no reason to keep them, breed them or feed them. They would then become objects in a zoo or kept as pets." WRONG - what about seals and deer in Scotland? Kangaroos in Australia? Elephants in Africa? Pure bred Animals we don't farm do just fine.

"To produce crops required for a vegan diet for ALL individuals in the UK would require all the available land being turned over to arable and a significant amount of imports."
WRONG - 80-90% of many world crops get used as animal feed

"Also Veganism has been around for centuries."
WRONG the word vegan was invented by Donald Watson in 1944 even Jains consume sacred (organic)milk products although Leonardo Da Vinci got close (See Da Vegan Code)

"We only have one go at this world, please lets just think about what we do with what we have."
RIGHT! I agree 100%


  • 133.
  • At 09:26 AM on 29 Jan 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

So what will you be having for breakfast on Thursday 1st February?

a) proper cooked breakfast with eggs & bacon

b) continuation of veganism and whatever the limitations of that regime are.

I know which I would prefer!

  • 134.
  • At 08:00 PM on 29 Jan 2007,
  • Chris Jenkins wrote:

Re: Elizabeth, 118.
I'm currentley Veggie and eggs being free range is a requirement of the vegetarian society Seedling symbol, not of me (i prefer no eggs :D). Again, it wasn't -me- saying products should be GMO free, it was the Veggie Society for their seedling symbol. Finally, not -all- soya has been modified, anything certified by the Veg Society wouldn't have been modified, I also believe the Soil Association (organic food) requires no GMO food in products certified by them - Chris

  • 135.
  • At 10:36 PM on 29 Jan 2007,
  • Gill wrote:

As a vegetarian for many years now, I get the same phenomenon as Tom (posting no.36) with meat, though it was for health reasons and not ethical ones that I started. Vegan nutrition is a bit of a mystery to me, and my home-made bread turns out like a block of concrete, but you have inspired me to have another go at getting further. Thank you Justin.

  • 136.
  • At 09:06 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • Gideon Moyne wrote:

If you are having chocolate cravings,I have found an astonishingly good dairy-free chocolate brownie,which is sold in most supermarkets.The only draw-back is the price-£1.91.It would be interesting to know if you have found it more or less economic to be vegan.You could probably buy quite a bit of hamburger or a regular fries for the same price.

  • 137.
  • At 11:18 AM on 31 Jan 2007,
  • Edward Milne wrote:

As someone who has given up smoking more times than I care to remember(I followed the government's meretricious advice "Don't give up on giving up" to a fault)I don't see how you can possibly compare food cravings to a real addiction.I am unaware that stringy cheese has ever had a class A health warning,though some might argue that it should have.
If you are having problems with cravings you are probably eating too many bulky carbohydrates which clog up the system.Try small high protein snacks which will target low blood sugar most effectively.

  • 138.
  • At 02:05 PM on 02 Feb 2007,
  • Nik wrote:

I have been vegan for 16 years and will never go back.
There are no 'limitations to my regime'. I still have cooked breakfast on sunday, pizzas, burgers, cottage pie (as I prefer to call it since it is minus the sheep), chocolate, cakes and everything else that you can name. The difference is that I make my food, I know what goes into it and it tastes a whole lot better than anything you can buy.
Thanks for the info on the bread.

Hi Justin, you are doing great! And you are telling me vegan things I didn't know - thanks so much!

If you'd like some more recipes and fantastic ideas for veganising your favourite meals (you CAN have vegan melting cheese!), and maybe even like the idea of going on a vegan skiing holiday where all the food is scrummy and filling, take a look at our no-profit website - the Veggie Snow Club:

Best wishes from a passionate about yummy food person,

  • 140.
  • At 06:10 PM on 02 Feb 2007,
  • John wrote:

Thank you very much for that information and advise. Although cooking isn't something i want to always do, it leaves me with no other choice. I am sick of these lies. People or parasites as you might call them, who want to make a living and profit out of manipulating people and animals, just make things very difficult to bare. It just gets worse for everybody. Why can't these evil things just stop and think about what they are doing? It seems very hard to get them to think! Why can't they chill out with some meditatation, yoga, herbal tea or a delicious carrot? They all just want to be millionaires and have everything. I just don't give a toss about that, we are supposed to be free, but i'm in a prison and want to excape by killing the people who don't seem to want to live like me or how they did in the middle agies(without the hunting for meat and giving horses a bad back). I've been a vegetarian and vegan for 13 months. I was vegetarian for 6 months and then changed to vegan but i left off the fish when i was vegetarian. That didn't change the fact that the food or products i have might contain fish blood or human/animal hair in it. You have helped me undertand that even the the most animal-free and harmful-free food still has a big secret.

  • 141.
  • At 06:25 PM on 02 Feb 2007,
  • John wrote:

Thank you very much for that information and advise. Although cooking isn't something i want to always do, it leaves me with no other choice. I am sick of these lies. People or parasites as you might call them, who want to make a living and profit out of manipulating people and animals, just make things very difficult to bare. It just gets worse for everybody. Why can't these evil things just stop and think about what they are doing? It seems very hard to get them to think! Why can't they chill out with some meditatation, yoga, herbal tea or a delicious carrot? They all just want to be millionaires and have everything. I just don't give a toss about that, we are supposed to be free, but i'm in a prison and want to excape by killing the people who don't seem to want to live like me or how they did in the middle agies(without the hunting for meat and giving horses a bad back). I've been a vegetarian and vegan for 13 months. I was vegetarian for 6 months and then changed to vegan but i left off the fish when i was vegetarian. That didn't change the fact that the food or products i have might contain fish blood or human/animal hair in it. You have helped me undertand that even the the most animal-free and harmful-free food still has a big secret.

  • 142.
  • At 04:34 PM on 05 Feb 2007,
  • J. Watson wrote:

Interesting the amount of bile that bubbles forth.

To answer #105, to feed the livestock you have to plant approximately 10 times the amount of crops as would feed humans directly. So just on agriculture alone, eating animals is 10 times more damaging to the environment.

It takes me less than 5 minutes to pull out, measure, and dump the ingredients into our bread machine. Three hours later, we have fresh bread. I throw flax meal in, to bolster the nutrition. Very easy.

Most non-American cuisines are very vegetarian-friendly. No one has mentioned Ethiopian cuisine yet, or Mexican (watch out for lard, though). I think the problem with your pizza, as has been mentioned, is that it wasn't a "real" Italian restaurant.

Cravings come for two main reasons: 1) you're missing a nutrient, which does not necessarily have to come from that particular food, and/or 2) you're feeling nostalgic for a time and place that the smell reminds you of. One thing that can happen to vegans is that they crave fat....try avocados, Asian dishes made with coconut milk (curries, Thai stews, etc.), and of course olive oil with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes as a dipping sauce for your home-baked bread!

  • 143.
  • At 05:03 PM on 12 Feb 2007,
  • Pete Corner wrote:

remind me what is the point of this? I don't see how not eating meat is more ethical than eating it. Animals are there to be eaten, they are lower down the food chain, we have evolved to eat them. As well as the pleasure in cooking them you can also have the pleasure of hunting, trapping of fishing for them, then bake them into a tasty meal! What could be more wholesome and complete!

Reading all these comments and noting the variety of knowledge there is out there about the food that is available for us to eat is quite amazing.

I have been concerned about food available in shops for some time now, particularly in baked goods. Even worse is that in-store bakeries use the same ingredients as the stuff they buy in but because they've baked it in store they don't even have to put the ingredients on the labels!

As a result I rarely buy ready-made foods unless I am short of time and they are organic. I make all my own bread, cakes, biscuits etc. But even here you have to be careful with the ingredients available in supermarkets. Ingredients you think are straightforward, mostly are not. Dried fruits are treated with sulphites to give them bright colours and keep them on the shelves for longer, flour has chemicals added to it, there's nothing natural at all about glace cherries and don't get me started on cake decorations and cake mixes - the amount of artificial chemicals the manufacturers are 'allowed' to put in them! I always buy organic ingredients for all my baking and make my own decorations. At least you know they have strict production standards and no nasty additives. It's even spurred me on to start my own business producing baking kits and chocolates all free from artificial additives - see

I truly believe that food manufacturers are experimenting with our bodies and we are giving them permission when we buy their products. The price we are paying is our health. This is particularly disturbing when you look at the range of products aimed at children - many of these are just chemical cocktails disguised as food.

  • 145.
  • At 09:26 PM on 27 Feb 2007,
  • Jacob Simons wrote:

As a student in the 60s a vegetarian dinner meant eating baked beans straight from the tin.It would never have occurred to me to read the label,and even if I had I suspect it wouldn't have meant very much.All these years later I suspect we are all just spoilt for choice.

As many women as men now die of cardiovascular disease, but that's where the equality ends .. WBR LeoP

I am also allergic to latex, but found out because of avocados. As long as I avoid them, and have all professional use non latex gloves, I am able to avoid all reactions. WBR LeoP

  • 148.
  • At 04:07 AM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Shane wrote:

Wow, now I'm thinking about making my own bread. I don't want to contribute to animals death, just to take its enzymes. I already make vegan baked goods, and I bought this bulk bag of whole wheat flour. I read the ingredients: Whole wheat flour, asorbic acid (vitamin C), azodicarbonamide, amylase. Amylase is a starch digesting enzyme. In humans (and im guessing most animals) we produce this in our salivary glands, pancreas, and intestinal wall. Hm, I hope its just synthesized and not taken from an animal!!! Anyone have any thoughts/knowledge on this? The brand is 'Five Roses Specialty Flour Whole Wheat'

I still think everyone should go to the Bristol Vegan Fayre on the 9th and 10th June.

All will be revealed....

Tony x

The hidden ingredients issue in this country is shocking, especially when you take into consideration how many people suffer food allergies i.e. carmine and cochineal (red colour, beetles blood) being listed as an E number, when they are directly responsible for up to 100 deaths a year. It's especially shocking when a safer, alternative exists (i.e. carmoisine or a fruit-based colour).

For the folks slagging off veganism- there is nothing unnatural about being a vegan. I have been a vegan for about 9 years or so, and am in great shape. Of all the people I know, it's the vegetarians/vegans who are slimmer, have more energy and make correct decisions about their weekly food shopping. Also, humans are not carnivores (starting the omnivore/vegetarian debate would be opening up a can of worms!). A cat without the right nurtrients will get sick and die, as will a dog. So how can a human vegan (without supplements, I should add) become an athlete, a marathon runner, a bodybuilder etc, if their bodies are not receiving meat/dairy products? There are even raw vegan bodybuilders (who eat nothing but raw foods), and I'm sure somewhere there is a fruitarian bodybuilder. The animal-protein for health obsession the West has is cloaked in myth. See The China Study.

Also, on the supplements issue. In this day and age of pollution, bad living and chemicals, everyone should probably take a supplement. Supplements are not isolated to vegans (I seldom take them, and I'm perfectly okay!). The subject of B12 is an interesting one, and people should visit the veganforum to see people's thoughts on the matter.

If more families went vegetarian, it may prompt parents into checking the ingredients of the garbage they are feeding their kids. I'm not saying that all vegan/veggie food is healthy, but anyone who eats predominantly plant-based foods is more likely to achieve their 5 a day and avoid bad e-numbers, than someone who lives on burgers, sausages and other high-fat foods.

  • 151.
  • At 11:36 PM on 20 Jun 2007,
  • Janice wrote:

I found out about five years ago that I have numerous food and food additive allergies. The big ones are gluten (wheat, rye, barley), oats, sulfites, and all food dyes. I'm now limited to fruits and vegetables with thick skins that get peeled off (seems that everything is treated with sulfite anymore). Margarine is out of the question (think yellow dyes), and I was lucky enough to find one brand of butter that doesn't add anything to the finished product. Meats are a necessity, because there just isn't enough nutrients to keep me going otherwise, but I have found I must be quite careful with those. Thank goodness that the market carries ground buffalo and an organic chicken product that doesn't seem to have sulfites added to it. Egg whites do bad things to me, but the egg yolks seem to be fine. The lucky thing is, that the diet I am forced to follow is very close to what my diabetic husband should eat, so we end up eating much the same things. Nearly everything I eat is prepared at home from basic ingredients, because there is no way of knowing what might be added to a prepared food. I even had to give up on using Celestial Seasonings tea, because they started packaging their tea with a small pamphlet. I suppose it was the ink outgassing onto the tea bags that bothered me. I now buy bulk mint leaves, and prepare my own Mint Magic tea. A few months ago I started making my own soap, to avoid the fragrances in nearly all commercial soaps.

It is about time that food labelling specifications got a major overhaul - increased awareness of allergies, special dietary requirements and the half adopted "traffic light" system for RDA allowances has made the current regulatory system out of touch with consumer demand. The "processing agents" should also be clearly identified IMHO. Is there an active campaign for such an overhaul?

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