One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Two books to make the Vegan Police proud

I'm generally not a fan of the vegan police. Nonetheless they pop up everywhere, testing your "veganess" and appointing themselves the judge and jury to decide whether or not you are vegan enough. They irk me in every way. I personally don't believe this form of zealous behavior does anything to help animals. By demanding companies remove the Hydroxpropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Keratin does this really do anything for the animals? If we cut down meat consumption to a place where the price of meat rises substantially and in turn the price of meat and dairy byproducts raises substantially then you will likely see more companies opt for vegetable based additives but until then I think the fights over these tiny ingredients is a pointless one. Just one girl's opinion.

Don't get me wrong, there's no way I'm eating anything with gelatin, keratin, casein, whey or any other byproduct that comes from an animal. I read the ingredients labels like a ninja on everything that goes in my body or on my body from body wash and toothpaste to tofu and frozen vegetables. I look for the big "V" and cruelty free labels on everything I buy as well. But if I accidentally buy a lipstick that has Polyalklyene Glycol Ethers in it I'm not about to start freaking out over whether or not is was sourced from a vegetable or is partly animal. Seriously, is that any way to live. Most importantly, does it make veganism look more or less attractive to newbie or would-be vegans?

Now I bet you're wondering, how does she know all these fancy, long, chemically names? Well, I have sitting in front of me two books that guarantee to tell you the source of every single thing you could ever think to put on your body or in your body. Veganissimo A to Z: A Comprehensive Guide to Identifying and Avoiding Ingredients of Animal Origin in Everyday Products by Reuben Proctor and Lars Thomsen and Animal Ingredients A to Z by The EG Smith Collective. Back when I was a newbie vegan I found Animal Ingredients A to Z to be incredibly helpful. It didn't occur to me that marshmallows weren't vegan or that royal jelly came from insects. It's a thin book, less than 100 pages of content and I felt it got right to the point and put me on the right track. I felt empowered by the book and as I thumb through it now I see some of the pages that I earmarked and regard those early days of my vegan adventure with a bit of whimsy. The newest book on animal ingredients Veganissimo A to Z, in contrast, is almost 300 pages long and it packed with over 2,500 different ingredients. For me, this crosses over from the line of informative to overkill. From super helpful to vegan police. Everyone is different, some people might really love having 2,500 different food, beauty and home product ingredients at their fingertips at all times. I'm not one of those people. Veganissimo is a well organized, well thought out, well written collection of products and ingredients and if I was just looking up something specifically it would likely be the first place I went to but for a new vegan I think the book is just way too intimidating.

This Week's Rating 

Scale of 1-4 Dancing Guinea Pigs 1 meaning it is destined for the compost bin and 4 meaning it is destined for greatness

Vegan Guinea Pig gives this 2.75 out of 4 Dancing Guinea Pigs for Veganissimo and 3.5 out of 4 Dancing Guinea Pigs for Animal Ingredients A to Z

Lil' Guinea Pig is sitting this one out due to an inability to read more than 4 words :)

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