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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Is Eating a Cooked Vegan Diet Really Vegan?

plate of tempeh

There hasn’t been much controversy for a while on this blog so I decided to stir the pot (no pun intended) a little. I occasionally follow some of the cooked vegan recipe and restaurant blogs. I used to consume cooked vegan food and still enjoy seeing what that segment of the world is up to.

I have seen many of the foods that are used in vegan cuisine and these include things like tofu, tempeh, many different gluten based products, soy beans, corn products, and several ‘chemicals’ such as the seaweed known as carageenan. These are regular parts of most vegan cooked meals. Certainly there are many cooked vegan food eaters out there who will never consume these and instead eat whole foods, but many continue to eat the above foods and still consider themselves to be vegan.

These foods are totally derived from plants. That is not the issue here at all. These foods are not at all natural or whole in any way and are extremely processed. They are not healthy at all as only whole foods which are eaten as they are found in nature are healthy for a human body. This also is not an issue as most of these cooked vegan food eaters do not concern themselves with their health but only with the moral and ethical stance they take on causing the suffering of animals for their diet.

Unfortunately in trying to eat a diet that is consistent with their ethics and morals they are often overlooking many things. These foods are all made with excess production from the very same industries which are causing the suffering of animals on this planet. What does this mean? I will give an example. Tofu, for example (as well as tempeh), has soybeans as a main ingredient. The reason why soybeans are grown by most farmers is as a feed for farm animals. Whatever amount is leftover from their production of animal feed is used for human consumption.

When people demand foods that are made with soybeans such as tofu and tempeh, they are adding money to the pockets of the animal farmer’s and the suppliers of the feeds to keep the animals fed. The same farmers who sell soybeans to the feedlots also supply the soybeans for tofu and tempeh production. In fact soybeans and soybean oils are used in many foods and products besides tofu and tempeh, but these two foods consist of mainly soybeans.

Anyone with a basic knowledge of economics will understand that creating alternative methods to sell your product is always a good thing to producers. There is also a term called ‘economies of scale’ which brings down the production costs to the producer when the demand for his products goes up. This will help the producer’s bottom line or profit. He will be able to produce more product for less money and therefore earn more money.

Hopefully you now see that eating tofu and other soybean products is not vegan at all but actually contributing the the suffering of animals, almost as much as actually eating the animals. The same is true for the other kinds of feed that are fed to farm animals. This includes the poor quality corn products that are used in things like cornbreads, and many baked and highly processed foods that contain cornstarch and corn oil. Fresh raw corn on the cob is not contributing to the suffering of animals because it is not what is used to feed the farm animals. It is mainly the GMO starchy corn that has no sweet taste to a human that is used. Some animals are also fed wheat, which again is another food that is often processed into vegan ‘meats’.

Carageenan is a chemical that is derived from a seaweed. It is used as a thickener and a filler in many of the fake meaty products that vegans like to eat. It is also known as a vegan product. Is it really vegan however? Carageenan is used to bring on the symptoms of ulcerative colitis in animals. This is the main reason why the product was invented. It was also discovered that it is a great thickener for vegan foods and therefore it’s excess is sold to vegan food factories. This is exactly the same situation as the soybeans. This is a chemical that is used to cause the suffering of laboratory animals. In fact the laboratory animals must endure more abuse than even the farm (factory farm) animals.

In effect vegans who eat the myriad of non-whole food vegan foods are indirectly contributing to the suffering of animals. Unfortunately they will argue that they eat 100% vegan so that they do not cause the suffering of animals but looking a little more closely one can see that they are totally mistaken.

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