Thursday, February 27, 2014

So you think you are a vegetarian???

So you say you're a vegetarian? Have you fact-checked that?

by: Antonia

We all have certain ways of eating and the reasons that propel those choices vary. Some of us never use the microwave because of studies that show how it changes the properties of foods, making it toxic. Many of us are raw foodists, enjoying the benefits of foods in their most natural, unheated, non-processed state. A few of us like monofruiting, believing that focusing on one kind of fruit for extended periods of time does our bodies good. And then there's the whole vegetarian thing.

Many individuals refrain from eating meats and foods that don't have animal byproducts. They love their healthy choices from both a moral, animal-friendly and a healthy, body-friendly standpoint. The horrific conditions that animals live in, not to say anything of the manner in which they are slaughtered (and naturally, the fact that they are slaughtered in the first place) just for the enjoyment of a summer sizzle on the grill, is upsetting and harmful for our bodies. We get that. But, my vegetarian friends, I'm sorry to say that while you've been diligently doing your part to keep the cow bells echoing on sunny pastures throughout the world, you may have overlooked something that has rendered you, well, not so much of a vegetarian after all.

Rennet: a cheese-making enzyme and the surprising place it comes from

Here's the deal: if you've been eating cheeses labeled as having no rBST hormones and the like, don't think for one minute that this means those farm-grazing cuties have been spared. Time to become familiar with the word, "rennet." It's an enzyme that helps to separate the milk into solid curds and liquid whey during the cheese-making process and it's in lots of cheeses, even your beloved ones with labels that come with an rBST or rBGH-free promise.

Where does that enzyme come from? The lining of calves' (and sometimes lambs') stomachs. So if the little darling doesn't become a breaded dinnertime cutlet or something to be enjoyed with mint jelly, chances are, it ends up as the ideal source for some nasty stomach-scraping all in the name of speeding up the way cheeses are made. Yikes.

As the saying goes, "but wait, there's more." There's even genetically modified (GM) rennet but it's not like you think, from calves. It's Franken-made in labs, so you get the pleasure of spreading the goodness of a bacterial and fungal process all over that sesame-seed cracker.

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