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Monday, August 6, 2012

Vegan Journey: I've become obsessed

Okay, I admit it— I have become obsessed with reading ingredient labels. I began reading labels more closely since going vegan, but what I’ve discovered is a bit disturbing and kind of overwhelming.

I am disturbed because I thought I was a smart shopper and consumer. But, the fact is, there are ingredients in some of my favorite, and often used, foods that I am not happy about. And I’m overwhelmed by it.

I took from my pantry this weekend, with the intention to use them in my meal preparations. All three containers are now in my trash can, and here’s why:

First – rice vinegar would have been great on my green salad. I wondered if there was anything in there that was not vegan-friendly, so I checked the label. Here are the ingredients: rice vinegar, water, high fructose corn syrup, salt, brown sugar, diluted with water. High fructose corn syrup? That is on my “do not eat" list.

Second – my favorite salad dressing is a blush wine vinaigrette dressing. I even talked to the manufacturer’s representative at a trade show and asked him to make sure it was available at my local grocery store. Ingredients: sugar, water, red wine vinegar, canola oil, salt, spices, garlic, etc. Why didn’t I notice that SUGAR was the first ingredient in the salad dressing? A little scary, but no wonder I liked it.

Third – garlic mustard sauce. I was introduced to this by my mom, and loved its garlicky flavor with steamed vegetables. Ingredients: mustard seed, distilled vinegar, garlic, water, soybean oil (I’m allergic to soy), mustard flour, eggs, spices, salt and lemon juice. I had no idea there were eggs and soy in it. In the trash it goes!

So, even if you aren’t vegan, I encourage you to start reading your food labels. I bet you will be surprised.



  1. Hi Karen, I am happy to see that you are making the transition. To replace your favorite "dip" try this Sardinina recipe given to me by a local Italian market owner, Dino Collu, from San Pedro.
    It's simple and I use Vegenaisse instead of mayo.
    Just equal parts:Dijon mustard,honey,horseradish and Vegenaisse.It works great with crudite.

  2. Hi Karen,

    Yup, ingredient labels are full of surprises arn't they! There is free report the explains what ingredients to watch out for and what those claims of "all natural" or "lower fat" really mean!


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