Sometimes I make mistakes when labeling a recipe “vegan” or “vegetarian” on the blog. I’ve got some pretty awesome readers [I’m looking at you, Lauren], who happily call me out when I forgot I threw an egg white in or used whey instead of soy. I love being called out, although it’s probably indicative of a larger problem with my proofreading skills.

Sometimes I make recipes that are truly vegan in structure, but it turns out I might have been committing fraud in the execution. I learned my lesson yesterday at Kroger, when Shaun and I were picking something up for a vegan “grilled cheese” he planned to make for dinner.

[Photo Source]

Meet Galaxy Nutritional Foods soy cheese, the cheese of choice for many of the “vegan” sandwiches we make around this house [because it’s the only soy cheese at Kroger]. Yesterday I started inspecting the package and began to wonder why it didn’t say “vegan” anywhere on the package. After scrutinizing the ingredients for a few minutes, I noticed “CASEIN*” – the asterisk then led me to “(MILK PROTEIN)”. Well, shit. This cheese isn’t vegan after all.

A few lessons learned here:

  • One: soy cheese does not always equal vegan cheese.
  • Two: Scrutinize labels. Look for an explicit statement that the product is in fact “vegan.”
  • Three: being vegan is definitely challenging.

The New York Times addressed that third issue in a recent string of articles about veganism, particularly “The Challenge of Going Vegan.” Although I find the tone of the article negative and the rhetoric pretty strongly anti-vegan [which disappointed me a lot], it raises some interesting points about the dietary and social challenges of a truly vegan diet. I learned I was falling victim to one of those challenges this week. I’m left wondering – do restaurants that advertise “vegan” cheese [like Brixx, who will put it on their pizzas] make the same mistakes I do when purchasing their products?

In any event, consider this my apology for not policing my “vegan” purchases as closely as I should have. I’ll make it a point to go back through the recipes and edit them at some point in the near future.

Have you ever made mistakes like this with vegan versus merely lactose free foods?


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Categories: Food, Recipes


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-marello/1a/375/b30 Tumblr: http://abarrelofoddsandends.tumblr.com/


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