25 Sneaky Names for Animal Products

This week on the podcast we discussed the important of label reading as a vegan. When you go vegan you realise there are so many different names for animal products and you discover that many of the processed foods that seem like they’d be vegan actually aren’t. We’re looking at you chips with milk powder!

So I have gathered up 25 sneaky names for animal products that you might find lurking in your favourite processed foods.

1. Whey Powder – comes from milk and you’ll find it all sorts of processed foods, sauces, chips and snack foods.

2. Isinglass – this is actually a fish product and it is commonly used in the filtration process for wine or beer.

3. Rennet – this comes from the stomachs of mammals, rennet is in some cheeses which is why you will see some cheese listed as vegetarian.

4. Ghee – Ghee is often found in Indian cuisine, it is clarified butter meaning the fats pulled from the butter.

5. Albumin – egg whites and you might find this in processed foods or as a part of the filtration process of some wines and beers.

6. Carmine (Cochineal) – from the beetle, this was famous red food colouring which used a lot less now, but it is actually ground beetles.

7. Gelatine – the ground up skin, bones and tendons of cows, pigs and other animals. Gelatine is found in jelly lollies, processed foods, marshmallows etc.

8. Glucose – sometimes plant-based sometimes from animal tissues and fluids, glucose is found in lots of processed foods and sweets.

9. Lactic acid – this comes from cows milk and is often found in cheese, processed foods, pickles and sauerkraut.

10. Lactose – another derivate of milk found in various processed foods.

11. Stearic acid – this comes from tallow (animal fat) it’s in vanilla flavouring, sometimes a conditioner in bread.

12. Lard – fat from pig’s stomachs is often found in baked goods and frosting.

13. Lecithin – this one is sometimes derived from plants sometimes from animal tissues, it’s often in margarine, cereals and candies.

14. Lutein – a deep yellow colouring found derived from egg yolks, found in processed foods.

15. Oleic acid – this one comes again from tallow (animal fats) and it’s synthetic butter, oils and processed foods.

16. Pepsin – an enzyme from pig’s stomachs often in cheese.

17. Suet – a hard white fat that surrounds the kidneys and lions of animals it’s used in baked goods.

18. Tallow – a solid fat from sheep and cows used in all kinds of processed foods.

19. Vitamin A – sometimes this one is from a plant-based source sometimes from egg yolks and fish.

24. Casein – comes from milk and is in all sorts of processed foods but also oddly found in condoms sometimes as a lubricant.

20. Vitamin B12 – often from animal products however synthetic B12 is safe for vegans and used to fortify lots of vegan foods.

21. Vitamin D3 – can be plant-based but it also sometimes comes from fish.

22. Castoreum – comes from the beaver’s castor sacs, a gland between the annimals pelvis and the base of it’s tale and bizarrely it is used in perfume.

23. American sugar – this one is on the list because it is often refined with bone char.

25. Guanine – also called pearl essence this comes from fish scales and is found in some nail polishes and lipsticks.

Have you found any unusual names for animal products? Let us know in the comments!

Where’s the Beef?

This week on the podcast we discussed our favourite fake meats and reviewed some of the big brand plant-based burgers on the market.

The plant-based protein industry has really taken off over the past few years. We’re seeing fast food places releasing plant-based burgers and larger companies rushing to cash in the trend with their own versions of plant-based protein, in Australia alone the plant-based protein industry is predicated to soar to an esitmated 3 billion industry by 2030.

But not everyone is behind it, the plant-based protein industry is such a game changer it has emerged with critics on both sides. 

Take the rebel whooper at Hungry Jacks for example, there was outrage from some vegans when they realised that the burger was being cooked on the same grill as the meat burgers.

On the other side of the fence meat eaters are up in arms that popular brands they identify with are jumping on the band wagon, 4’n’20 pies for example annouced a new plant based pie coming out in April and watched their socials blow up with stans and haters alike.  

Now as a vegan I respect that some other vegans don’t want their food cross contaminated by animal products and but I also see that move by larger non-vegan companies to cater to plant-based diets is a win. Which is why we reviewed our favourite plant-based burgers. We have spilt the reviews up into three categories with a possible 5 points in each category: Texture, Taste and Price.  

Beyond Burger

Beyond burger has a firm meaty texture, it holds it’s shape well when cooking and has great balance smoky flavour and mix of herbs, but at $12 for 2 patties it is a bit pricey. 

Rochelle Texture: 5/5 Taste 4.5 / 5 Price 2.5 /5 

Daniel Texture: 4.5 / 5 Taste 4.5 / 5 Price 2.5 / 5 total points 23.5 / 30 

vEEF

We found the Veef burgers to be a bit mushy, they don’t hold together as well and it made for more of sloppy joe style burger than regular burger, taste was okay, we differed on our opinons with this burger, Daniel felt it was unpretenious and I felt it just wasn’t as good. But at $8 it’s certainly more reasonable.

Rochelle: Texture: 2/5 Taste 2 / 5 Price 3.5 / 5 

Daniel : Texture : 3.5 / 5  Taste 3.5 / 5  Price 3.5 /5  total points: 18.5 / 30 

Unreal foods Italian style burgers

The Unreal foods company’s Italian style burger was is pretty fantastic, at less than $6 at the supermarket it’s competative pricing definately gives it an edge. But aside from the price the burger had a classic homemade kind of tatse, they incorporated a more complex palette of flavours and we both appreciated that. The texture held up during cooking and serving and though it was a little crumbly it wasn’t as firm as Beyond and it wasn’t as mushy as Veef, it wa just right.

Rochelle: Texture 4 / 5 Taste: 4.5 / 5 Price 4 / 5

Daniel: Texture 3.5 / 5 Taste 4.5 / 5 Price 4.5 / 5 total points: 26.5 / 5 

V2 foods and the Hungry Jacks Rebel Whooper

We both love this burger, being able to go into a fast food place and order a plant-based burger is such an exciting moment for vegans. The texture is firm and taste is very close to the original meat whooper patty. And at $8 it is a pretty reasonable price for a fast food vegan burger.

Rochelle: Texture 4.5 / 5 Taste 4.5 / 5 Price 4 / 5 
Daniel: Texture 4.5 / 5 Taste 4.5 / 5 Price  4 / 5 total points 26 / 30

The Unreal foods company beat out the Rebel Whooper with half a point! Our number pick from these four plant-based burgers is the Unreal Italian Style Burger.

Check out the episode to hear a little more about the each burger, streaming this week on Itunes and Spotify.

My Top Five Zero-Waste Tips

This week on the podcast, we talked about zero waste and I gave you my top five tips for beginners to the zero-waste movement.

By now most people are probably famillar with the zero-waste movement. Followers of the movement can often be found on Instagram proudly displaying a small mason jar containing a few scraps of plastic that comprises the total waste they have produced in the past year. I want to preface this by saying I am just starting out on my own zero-waste journey. I am nowhere near the level of those eco-warriors yet but with the increasing strain on our enviroment and waste management systems, I think it’s more important than ever to look at how we are managing our waste.

In Australia, for example, each person produces on average 540kg of houshold waste per year, which equates to more than 10kg per person a week. In the year from July 2016 – June 2017, Australians produced an estimated 67 million tonnes of waste and 40 per cent of that waste goes into landfills.

But as an Aussie who is fortunate enough to live near some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, it was the statisics about the plastics in our oceans that really hit home for me. Every minute, one garbage truck worth of plastic is dumped into the world’s oceans and experts say that if this trend continues, by 2050 there will be more plastic in our ocean than fish.

Of course, it is next to impossible to produce no waste at all, and we shouldn’t be approaching this concept in absolutes. Zero-waste living is a journey, not a destination. If you try to do everything all at once, it can become overwhelming. Instead, try to make small, incremental changes, because every little change makes a big impact over time. 

There are some zero-waste tips that we all know, such as getting a reusable coffee cup, water bottle and culterly, but I wanted to give you five tips that won’t cost you anything and will help you reset your thinking.

  1. Start slowly. Going from your regular lifestyle to a zero-waste lifestyle is not going to happen overnight, you need to give yourself time to slowly adopt new practices. Make a list of 5-10 switches you want to make over the next 6 months and as products run out and items get used up, switch to a greener item. When your shampoo is used up, switch to a shampoo bar, when your toothbrush needs replacing get a bamboo one. It is less wasteful to use up what you have than to throw out your non-eco-friendly products before they are used up. 
  2. Get growing. You can grow back a lot of your produce – for example, cos lettuce, potatoes, shallots and strawberries – from scraps. Here is a list of things you can grow back from kitchen scraps. Grow your own herbs, grow anything that you have room for and that you eat. The more produce you can grow for yourself, the less waste you are producing by buying, which means your food has travelled fewer carbon miles and produced less emissions.
  3. Remember your three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle. That means reduce what you purchase to begin with. Really take the time to consider all the items you are bringing into your home – do you have something that can already perform that function? If you must buy a new item, buy something that is multi-purpose. Reuse – before throwing something out or re-gifting it to a friend, think about ways you can use that item a new life. Old T-shirts can be turned into groccery bags or dish rags, old jars can be reused for bulk-buying your dry goods or storing homemade food. And finally, if you can’t reuse something recycle it but do it properly. If you are going to recycle an item, you need to clean it first and remove the lid. If you are recycling a tissue box, remove the soft plastic and if you have a plastic ring from a bottle, always cut it because if it does escape during the recycling process it could harm marine life. 
  4. Pick naked products! Look for soap bars, shampoo bars, conditioner bars and moisture bars. A naked product is any product without packaging. Purchase your produce from a farmers’ market where possible, buy what is in season and local and forgo the plastic bag and if you like to keep your produce separated, use knitted grocery bags. When purchasing products that do come in packaging, try to make sure the materials are recyclable.
  5. Start composting! Composting is hugely important because organic matter that is not composted causes methane gases to build up in the atmosphere. And this is green waste that could be used to create nutrient rich soil for your garden. If you live in an apartment you can still compost, simply put your scraps for composting in a jar in the freezer and visit a local community garden to compost. 

So those are my top five tips that won’t cost you anything to begin your zero-waste journey, check out the podcast this week on Spotify or iTunes to learn more about it.

The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake

People have a misconception that all vegan food is healthy and bland. They couldn’t be more wrong. This vegan chocolate cake with ganache is rich, fudgy and in no way healthy but hey, we’ve all got to cut loose and indulge a little sometimes and this cruelty-free cake is the perfect induglence.

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups of all plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups raw sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 chia seed egg (1 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds – add enough water to cover the seeds and leave for 10 minutes to thicken)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup plant-based milk (I use soy for this recipe but oat or cashew milk would work too)
  • 3/4 cup strong instant coffee (no sugar or milk, just 1 tablespoon instant coffee – you won’t be able to taste the coffee in the cake but it will make it richer in flavour)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Vegan Ganache

  • 250 ml coconut cream
  • 1 block of Lindt 80% dark chocolate (accidentally vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsuis.

Mix all dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, raw sugar, cocoa powder and salt – in a large mixing bowl.

In a smaller mixing bowl, mix vegetable oil, soy milk, vanilla extract.

Add wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients, mixing in slowly, then fold in the chia egg.

Mix in coffee slowly

Grease a 20cm x 5cm round cake tin and cut out a round sheet of baking paper for the bottom.

Pour in your cake batter and tap the cake tin to get air bubbles out.

Bake in oven at 170 degrees Celsuis for 30-40 minutes checking from 25 minutes to see if it is ready. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out not wet but with a little bit of cake crumbs stuck to it.

Once the cake it out let it cool for 20 minutes before putting it on a plate and sticking it in the fridge.

Make the vegan ganache.

To make your ganache, heat the coconut cream in a saucepan on the stovetop making sure not to boil it.

Once heated, remove from the stovetop and break up your chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave at 30-second intervals until softened but not completely melted.

Mix chocolate into coconut cream, add a few drops of vanilla essense.

In a microwave-safe container, melt the butter and then mix in your brown sugar for a quick and easy caramel.

Mix caramel into the ganache. This helps to add a bit of sweetness and remove the coconut flavour.

Let the ganache cool and it will start to thicken. If you’re in a rush, pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes and it will thicken up.

Once the ganache is ready and the cake is completely cooled, ice your cake and decorate with fresh strawberries or chocolate shavings.

Serve with vegan ice cream or just on its own. This cake is moist and delicious and sure to be a winner at any party.

Eco-friendly Minimalism

Minimalism is a rejection of consumerism and a move toward a more purposeful life.

This week on the podcast we spoke with Angelique Christopher (@smokeygordon on instagram) who is a self-described extreme minimalist. Coming from a family of hoarders left her with a complicated relationship with objects. When she first lived on her own she found herself accumulating a lot of bric-a-brack and items to replicate a homely feeling in the early days of her life as a renter. But with each move and each new rental Angelique found herself driven by a desire to reduce the clutter and the hassle of carting belongings from space to space. Ten years later she has reduced her belongings to a carry-on bag and a storage tub and now finds solace in a clutter-free existence that enables her to move from place to place with ease.

In this episode we delve into the some of the big issues around minimalism including the link between hoarding and trauma, how to detangle yourself from the trappings of consumerist culture and how to reduce what you don’t need to make room for what you love. Check out Angelique’s tips to start your minimalist journey below:

· Start with getting rid of cheaper things like items worth less than $20 – $50 that you’re not using and are not sentimental.

· Remember to reduce, reuse and recycle. Try not to dump everything in the bin, consider donating and gifting and selling the more expensive items

· Start thinking about what you’re buying, ask yourself ‘do I need this?’

· Get rid of the things you don’t need to make space for the things you love

· Have a motivation – a reason that you’re making space. Some people want more room for their children to play, some are travellers and want to be more mobile.

Check out the podcast to hear more about her story! You can find some interesting links below to articles and resources that we mention in the podcast.

Top Five Tips

When you first start trying to adopt a plant-based lifestyle, the amount of information can overwhelming. What can you have? What can’t you have? How difficult it is going to be? It can all get a bit much.

This is why I’m breaking down my top five tips for new vegans here and on the podcast this week. You can check it out on iTunes or Spotify – May contain traces of soy.

  1. Find your motivation and do your research. When you first go vegan one of the questions you are going to get asked a lot is why. Why did you go vegan? There are three main reasons people go vegan – animal rights, sustainability and health. Perhaps it’s for animal rights reasons because you watched Earthlings, or for sustainability, because you discovered that adopting a plant-based lifestyle cuts your personal carbon footprint down by 73%. Or perhaps it’s a health journey for you, because you have done some research and realised that it will signifigantly reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease. For many of us it starts as one and quickly becomes all three but whatever your motivation, you are going to receive questions about – and perhaps criticisms of – your new lifestyle. Do some research and have some facts ready to share when you come up against these questions. It can be a wonderful opportunity to educate people around some of these issues, provided you can remain calm and respectful during the discussion, which leads me to tip number two.
  2. Temper that vegan rage. When you first go vegan and really start to dig into that research it, is perfectly normal and natural to become very impassioned and upset about these issues, because it is upsetting. But it’s important to approach all these conversations with compassion, because everyone is on their own journey. Getting irate with your friends and family, pointedly telling them about the treatment of dairy cows or the minimum conditions that chicken farms must meet to be labelled “free-range” is not going to help the cause. Instead, I would recommend concentrating on the positive effects this has had on your life, the availabilty and quality of plant-based alternatives and the reduction of your own carbon footprint. Bring some positivity to the conversation.
  3. Give yourself time to forget what cheese tastes like. Cheese is an interesting product and it is often cited by vegetarians as the reason why they could never go vegan. But why are we so obessed with cheese? The answer is actually quite interesting. The main active ingredients in cheese are casein and rennet. Casein is the milk protein and rennet is made from the stomach lining of the cow. Casein actually reacts with our chemical make-up to produce a morphine-like effect in our brains. When disgested, casein becomes casomorphine, releasing happy dopamine chemicals in our brain. The reason why casein does this is to help facilitate bonding between a calf and its mother when nursing. So keeping in mind that cheese affects your brain like a drug, I would recommend treating it like one. When you go vegan go cold turkey without cheese for 30 days, give yourself time for your palette to adjust and then you will better be able to enjoy cashew and soy cheeses.
  4. Leave your prejudices at the door and try everything that is vegan. When you first go vegan you might think that you hate soy milk or can’t stand tofu so you avoid these products. This is a mistake. When you first go vegan you should try everything that is vegan without fear or favor. You never know when you might find a new favourite treat. The plant-based food industry has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years. There are vegan meat substitutes that are very close to the texture and taste of the real thing and this can be a lifesaver in those early days of transition if you are craving animal products. Try everything and before you know it you’ll have a range of favourite products that you swear by.
  5. Find your accidentally vegan treats. There are a lot of products out there that were not specifically made for vegans but just happen to be vegan, you can find lists on PETA’s website and there is an Instagram page – accidentally vegan australia. These are great resources. Even if you follow a stricter wholefoods plant-based diet, it can be handy to know these accidentally vegan products, in case you’re at a friend’s house or a party, or you’re eating from a vending machine in a crumby hotel. It is important to note, though, that while these items do not contain animal products, they may not ethically line up with your vegan lifestyle. They may, for example, use palm oil, which is not technically an animal product, but can cause massive devastion to the orangutan population. So just be aware of that. But – just to give you an idea – Pringles, Oreos, BBQ Shapes, Burger Rings and Praise 99% fat-free mayo are all accidentally vegan.

I hope you find these tips helpful – please check out the podcast episode for a more comprehensive breakdown of these tips. Do you have any tips for new vegans? What are your favourite accidentally vegan treats? Let us know in the comments!

Zesty Hummus

Like all vegans I LOVE hummus. About three months ago, I realised that my addiction had gotten out of control. I was buying 3-4 tubs of hummus per week, it was expensive but what was more concerning was the amount of plastic waste my addiction was producing. I realised it was time to get thrifty and learn how to make it myself. So I did some research, found and customised some recipes, experimented and now I make up a kilo of delicious zesty hummus every week and to be honest guys, sometimes even that is not enough!

This zesty hummus recipe is light, fluffy and refreshingly tangy. It produces less waste than buying it, takes only half an hour and tastes better than anything you could buy at the store.

Zesty Hummus Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1tbsp garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tblsp cold water
  • juice of a lemon and a lime with a bit of pulp
  • a few sprigs of parsley and a few basil leafs
  1. Drain your chickpeas and boil with the baking powder sprinkled in.
  2. In your food processer (or bullet blender), combine tahini and garlic, blend for at least two minutes to whip some air into the tahini, let the flavours mellow for 5 minutes.
  3. Add lemon juice, lime juice and pulp, olive oil, salt and cumin to the tahini mix and blend.
  4. Watch your chickpeas impatiently, and once the skins starts to shed they are ready – this usually takes about 20 minutes.
  5. Once the chickpeas are ready, drain them and then run cold water over them, add them to the mix and blend for 5 minutes.
  6. Add your sprigs of parsley and basil leaves to the mix and blend some more.
  7. Do a taste test at this point – does it need more garlic? Salt? Cumin or lemon juice? This is your hummus, so add to it until it’s perfect for you!
  8. Add your 2 tbsp of cold water and blend again for about 2-3 minutes, this makes the hummus fluffier.

Now you have a delicous zesty hummus you can serve with crackers, flat bread, toasty bread or falafels. It lasts about a week in the fridge, if you can keep your paws off it that long!

Easy Vegan Bread

Bread is one of those essential items. We buy it regularly, we have it several times a week – or even daily – as toast, sandwiches, buns, rolls, with spreads, with soups, as a side dish or starter, yet we have lost the art of making it ourselves from scratch.

Part of the reason for that is because we have become a society of convenience and part of it is letting go of an essential skill because we came to believe our lives were too busy to make time for this anymore – who needs to make bread when you can buy it from the shop for less than $2? But the cost that loaf of bread is so much more than what you see, it’s the low wage earned by the teenage apprentice making it, it’s the preservatives in that bread that aren’t good for you, it’s the plastic waste from the packaging, it’s the shipping and the carbon miles of that loaf of bread. Not only is making it at home better for you, it tastes better, it costs less and it’s better for the environment too.

And it’s much easier than you thought.

I always believed bread was really difficult to make at home, I thought you needed a bread maker, special flour and a lot of patience but it’s not true!

This easy bread recipe only has five ingredients and with the exception of yeast, you almost certainly you already have them in your cupboard.

Easy Vegan Bread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water (not boiling, warm)
  • 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups of plain flour
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together yeast, sugar, salt and water

2. Let it stand for about 10 minutes until the yeast has dissolved.

3. Slowly mix in the flour till combined and pulling away from the bowl.

4. Turn out your dough on to a floured board or surface and knead for about 10-15 mins until the dough is well formed.

5. Wash out your mixing bowl and coat with olive oil, then plop your dough in and turn over once to coat the dough. Cover with a hot tea towel and wait 2 hours for the dough to rise and double in size.

6. Once your dough has risen, preheat your oven to 180 – 200 C, turn dough out on to a floured surface and punch out excess air, then knead for another 5 minutes.

7. Shape your bread – do you want loaf bread bread in a tin? Buns? A French-style loaf? The choice is yours, once shaped, slash the top lightly with a knife and let it rest for five minutes.

8. In another pan, add boiling water to a depth of about 5mm, then place the water pan on the bottom rack of the oven, brush your bread loaf with cold water and put on the top rack of the oven, bake for 20 -35 minutes, checking regularly. When the loaf turns golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped it’s ready.

Recipe notes: I have noticed that my bread cooks in about 20 minutes but different ovens will produce different results. The cold water brush and the boiling water in the oven help to make the bread crust crispier and crunchier.