If you are vegetarian and in the US (or Europe), life is a LOT better now than it was 30 years back. You see a lot of adoption to vegetarianism and veganism. There are restaurants that recognize the fact and provide more option than just a leafy salad with bread crumbs! You have a lot of ethnic restaurants and eating vegetarian food is no big deal in the US, believe me. BUT, there are traps. Many of the so called vegetarian food have ingredients that are based off or made out of animals. Here are few examples that I was aware of:
1) Gelatin, a common ingredient of many off the shelf products such as Yogurt, gummy bears, Marshmallows, Jello, etc, is made out of animal fat.
2) The Pinto beans you get at Chipotle has beef in it. One would wonder why some idiot called it ‘beans’ without mentioning beef is a big part of it.
3) Many of the soups you get have broth based of chicken or beef. The seemingly vegetarian, black bean soup, has beef broth. I make it a point to ask when I order soups what broth is used. Don’t ask if the soup has meat broth. The ignorant server will say no, thinking meat is different from chicken.
4) Many salad dressings have animal based content. So I avoid all dressing and just go plain vinagerrete or honey-mustard (which vegetarian can’t use a bit sugar? – just kidding). Same goes with many sauces.
What I DID NOT know till last week is many of the cheeses have rennet in their ingredients. Rennet is based made from animals stomach linings – whew!
And I DID NOT know that tortillas can have animal fat or lard. Many Mexican restaurants use lard in their cooking. In fact, I bet the cooked rice you see on the buffetts, have chicken stock used – you can make it out just by the smell.
Surprisingly, I also DID NOT know that many beers use isinglass – which is made out of fish bladders!!
Now, with so many varieties of cooking possible with just nature given, non-meat based ingredients, you would wonder why man has cut the gut out of a living beign to satisfy his or her hunger. If you watch Food, Inc. I am almost certain you will stop eating processed meat.
Here are some good links to read: