Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Awareness Wednesdays. Nerds.

As you can tell most of my Awareness Wednesdays will be about gelatin.  So this week I decided to change it up and talk about another sneaky food ingredient.  This one isn't even a food, it's a coloring.  I am talking about carmine color.  Carmine color is a red pigment.  While most red foods usually use Red 40 as the coloring agent, a rare few use carmine, since it is more expensive.  What is carmine exactly? Carmine comes from the scales of the cochineal insect.  The scales are ground up and the deep red color is extracted.

Most foods that use carmine are candies since they usually need some form of red coloring to be added.  One candy brand that uses carmine is Wonka.  Most commonly it is used in Nerds.

The alternative?  Well most candies do not use Carmine since it is more expensive.  So it is most likely that your red candy is colored with Red 40.  The reason some companies prefer Carmine is because it is natural while the Red 40 dye is artificial.  Or you can just get the best for both worlds and opt for natural candies colored with fruit juices. Yum!

Will you be cutting out Carmine from your diet?

Bye from the veggie side!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Vegan Cat Shoes.

As a vegetarian, I choose to not wear leather.  I know that some vegetarians do, but I feel that if I am going to give up eating dead animals to save them then I better give up wearing them too.  So that is no fur or leather in my closet!  I am always looking for shoes and belts that are human made to add to my collection.  One good thing about not wearing leather is that all my shoes are inexpensive, and that is a big plus! Recently my best friend, Sara, showed me these shoes and I fell in love!  I am obsessed with my cat, Muffin, and pretty much all cats in general.  I have accepted my fate as a crazy cat lady and I choose to embrace it! And of course these shoes are all human made and vegan.  Clearly I had to buy them...yes I HAD to!

They are so freaking adorable, they fit perfectly, and are super comfy!  They match with pretty much everything and I am so excited to wear them all the time!

What do you think of my vegan cat shoes?  Do you wear leather?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Awareness Wednesdays. Gummy Candy.

Hello and welcome to another Awareness Wednesday!  Today's food is another gelatin based one.  You guys will soon see that most of my Awareness Wednesday posts will be about gelatin.  Gelatin is a very diverse substance that can be in many foods as well as other commonly used products.

Gummy candies are a favorite among many, but not vegetarians.   The majority of gummy candies are made with gelatin.  This includes gummy bears, gummy worms, and even gummy vitamins that are becoming popular.  The best way to avoid these foods is to read.  Always check ingredients before eating anything.  You might find something that might surprise you!

Still craving gummy candy? Well so am I! One of my favorite gummy candies are Sour Patch Kids. And guess what? They don't have any gelatin! Dots, Mike and Ike's, and Swedish Fish are other popular gummy candies that leave out the gelatin.  For heathier alternatives try Annie's Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks.

Remember, it is always easier to cut out a food when you have plenty of alternatives.  While my friends get their gummy bears at the movies, I can get my Sour Patch Kids. Just because you are a vegetarian does not mean you have to eat rabbit food!

Bye from the veggie side!

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Brother: The Texan Vegetarian

Hello all.  In today's post I will be featuring my most favorite person in the whole world, my big brother!  As I have mentioned before, he is the only other vegetarian in my family, giving up meat a few years before me after moving to Texas.  Here are some funny conversations he has had being a vegetarian in Texas!

Me: "I'm a vegetarian.  What can I eat here?"
Small town Texas Waitress "Me too! I'll get you the fried chicken!"
Me: ...

Same town a few months later... at McDonald's
Me: Can I get an Egg McMuffin with no meat?"
Cyborg Clerk: "No sausage. Bacon. Gotya."
Me: "No.  I don't want ANY meat"
Cyborg Clerk: "OH! so you double the sausage!"
Me: "How is that no meat?! I don't want sausage!!"
Cyborg Clerk: "You want ham then."
Me: "NO! just be me a biscuit, egg and cheese."
Cyborg Clerk: "I understand sir.  Please drive to the next window."

My tasty breakfast was a ham soaked eggs with no cheese and biscuit. I've made it to the 2nd level of vegetarian hell. But there is hope...

Same town a year later at what looks like a local Biker Bar/Pub
Me Cringing: "Can I please have an menu? Do you have any salads or veggie based foods?"
Bar Tender with an East Texas Accent: "Are you a veggimatarian?"
Me thinking I going to get tossed out or beat up on being a hippy veggie eating city slicker: "yea..."
Bar Tender with an East Texas Accent: "Yeeee Haaaa! I just came up with veggie burger recipe and I want someone to try it before my daughter gets back from UT. She does not like eaten critters and I want the lil darling to be able eat at my bar. I'll give ya the burger for free for ya honest option."
Me, trying to not act shocked "sure thing!"

It was a fricken awesome burger. :)

The above is mostly true... with embellishments.


I hope you enjoyed my brother's perspective of being a vegetarian in Texas!  I hope to have more posts from David on my blog. I love ya Big Bro <3

Bye from the veggie side!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Awareness Wednesdays. Jello. It's Alive.

Jello all!  Today's awareness Wednesday food is Jello.

 Of course Jello is a brand name, the actual food is called gelatin dessert or gelatin snack. Ding there goes the red flag, gelatin!  In last weeks post I discussed what is in gelatin and why it is not vegetarian friendly.  But to recap, it is made of out the bones and connective tissues of animals.  Jello is the most popular brand of gelatin snacks and most people just call all gelatin snacks by the name "Jello."  These gelatin snacks are just pure gelatin with some sugar, color, and flavor. The problem with that is it masks the reality of what you are eating.  Steak is called "steak" and not "dead cow muscle" for a reason, the latter sounds less appetizing.   So everyone is walking around eating their Jello fruit snack without even knowing what they are putting into their bodies.  And I will admit that for the first year or two after becoming a vegetarian I too ate Jello out of sheer ignorance.  But all that stopped as soon as I learned about gelatin.

But alas, all hope it not gone for those Jello lovers!  There are food brands out there that do make vegetarian and vegan "gelatin" snacks.  My favorite is Trader Joe's Natural Gel Cups.

Like Jello, they come in the small plastic cups with the peal back foil top which made me feel like a kid again.  They come in two flavors: Black Cherry, and Peach Mango.  I only tried the Black Cherry flavor, but it was really reminiscent of the classic Jello flavor.  There are also loads of vegan gelatin recipes online.

I will end this awardness wednesday with a story.  I took AP biology my senior year in high school.  A very common (and easy) method of separating and observing DNA is Gel Electrophoresis.  The gel part, meaning gelatin.  So I am in the lab making and pouring my gelatin so I can do the procedure, and our teacher is walking around making sure we are all doing it right.  He stopped at my table and watched for a bit and then said "Mmmm, doesn't this make you hungry for Jello?"  Which I replied "No, I am a vegetarian."  He just walked away in silence.

Will you be trying out vegan gelatin snacks?

Bye from the veggie side!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Moshe's Eggless Tofu Salad

Let's talk about eggs.  Vegetarians eat them, vegan's don't.  Now I am no vegan by any means, but I do try to stay away from eggs just because they creep my out.  They come out of a chicken's cloaca.  I will eat eggs if they are cooked in something, but I don't eat them by themselves.

Anyway, I am going to show you one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten: Moshe's Eggless Tofu Salad.  It is a completely vegan egg salad that is, in my opinion, even tastier than regular egg salad since it doesn't have those pesky yolks.

As you can see it is made with simple ingredients including organic tofu and spices.  It is also all natural which I love!  

It is creamy, but the celery adds a bit of crunch.  And it has the right amount of spices making it oh so delicious!

I decided to go for the classic egg salad sandwich.
I toasted a piece of oatmeal bread and then cut it in half.  Then I piled on the vegan egg salad.


For more info on Moshe's vegan and vegetarian foods check out their website.  

Bye from the veggie side!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Amy's Samosa Wrap

A Samosa is a fried or baked pastry with a savory filling such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, lentils, ground lamb or chicken.  No meat here!  Samosas are a great vegetarian food since they are filled with the essentials like potatoes and lentils, and they are also very flavorful. Now I could show you how to cook them, but that is too much effort and I am all about the ease of vegetarianism.

Amy's is an amazing food brand.  They make everything from frozen meals, to soups, and everything they make is organic and vegetarian.  They also make a lot of vegan foods too!  What I love about Amy's is that there are ZERO preservatives!  Most people bash frozen food because they think its filled with preservatives, but you wont find any in Amy's foods.

Today I made a samosa wrap.  The samosa wraps are individually packaged and frozen, and are part of Amy's collection of Indian foods.  It has all the vegetarian samosa fillings PLUS tofu, inside a vegan wrap.  What can be better?

As you can see everything is organic and vegan and preservative free.

These wraps are delicious, filling, and very easy to make! A few minutes in the microwave and you have an amazing vegan meal!  How easy is that?

Bye from the veggie side!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Awareness Wednesdays. Gelatin.

Hello! I am so excited about my first Awareness Wednesday! This is where I will be highlighting foods that are NOT vegetarian friendly, that most people might not know about.  For the very first awarenss wednesday I want to discuss a sneaky ingredient that is in a lot of food, but it isnt always obvious: Gelatin. From Wikipedia, "Gelatin (or gelatine) is a translucent, colorless, brittle (when dry), flavorless solid substance, derived from the collagen mainly inside pig skin (hide) and cattle bones. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing.


As you can see, gelatin is almost entirely composed of animal parts.  Gelatin can be in the form of sheets or powder that when added to water and cooled, forms a solid gel.   As you can see here, gelatin is very clearly not vegetarian friendly, but the kicker is that gelatin is added to many foods, some you might know about, and some you may be surprised to hear about, making THOSE foods not vegetarian friendly as well.  There are SO many foods that have gelatin snuck into them, that even I learn about more and more each day.  Over the course of Awareness Wednesdays I will be showing you guys all different foods that have gelatin in them, and hopefully some meat-free alternatives.

Bye from the veggie side!

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Hello! My name is Jacquie and this is my blog:)
I am 22 years old and a recent college grad.  I love my cat, animals, painting my nails, and Lady Gaga.  But most importantly, I am a vegetarian.

As a kid I lived by two food groups: chicken and potatoes.  My dad doesn't eat red meat, and my mom is always on some diet or another.  But as a child, food isn't a concern in life.  I cared more about who I was sitting with at lunch, than what I was eating for lunch.  One thing I was from that start, though, was an animal lover.  I love my cats, the bugs outside, and the amazing animals at the zoo.  And even as a kid, I donated some of my allowance to animal shelters.  Until one night when I was 11 years old, eating my chicken fingers like always...

"Daddy, where do chicken nuggets come from?"
"Well, the chickens live on a farm, and then they leave the farm and get killed, and then they become chicken nuggets"
"So they DIE just so I can eat them?"
"Yes, Cookie"
"I am never eating meat again!"

And that was that.  Apart from a few mistakes, I have never eaten meat since then.  As I grew older I refined my views and reasons for not eating meat.  I learned about what happens at the slaughter houses and what eating meat does to the environment.  However, I never strayed from my first reason, I don't believe animals should give their lives to be food for people.

11 years later and I am still going strong and loving every minute of it.  Becoming a vegetarian has been the best decision I have ever made and the one I am most proud of myself for.  Vegetarianism is part of my identity and I can never see myself eating meat again. 

More about me:
Blogging has been an important part of my life since I started my first blog Claws Up, in November, which is primarily a nail art and polish blog.  However, I got thinking that I would love to share my thoughts about the biggest part of my life: being a vegetarian. 
I attended college in PA (not the most vegetarian friendly of places) and majored in Psychology, and minored in Biology and Anthropology, though biology is my true love.  My goal is to be and animal behaviorist.  I have been working at a doggy daycare for 6 months, and while I love the animals so much, I hate working at the front desk. I have live in NY my whole life, but my boyfriend of 3 years lives in PA.  I love him very much and can't wait to be together someday.  
I love my big brother more than anyone. A few years before I became a vegetarian, he gave up meat too. (Happy now? :-P Love ya)

More about my blog:
The goal of my blog is to be unlike the other vegetarian (and food) blogs out there.  I don't find much time, or energy, to cook all the time.  I will have some recipes, but what I want to highlight is the easiness of being a vegetarian.  I will show some very simple (but delicious) recipes, plus tips to becoming and staying a vegetarian with out too much effort.  I will show you guys the best vegetarian food brands, and most importantly, how to eat like a meat-eater without eating any meat.

I really hope you enjoy my blog, and that someone out there can read it and say "Wow, it is so easy to be a vegetarian, I think I am going to try it!"


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