Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Whenever I leave (fill in the blank),

I find myself thinking...

Whole Foods Market: "I can't believe I spent $60 for two bags of groceries!"
Trader Joe's: "I can't believe I got an entire cart full of groceries for $50!"
Stop & Shop: "I can't believe how Americans shop. All that processed food. And bottled water in everyone's cart?"
Old Hook Farm (my local organic farm): "I can't believe how fresh and inspiring everything is. I can't wait to get in the kitchen and cook! I love supporting my local family farm."

Needless to say, I do almost all of my shopping at Trader Joe's and Old Hook Farm. Trader Joe's for the basics (organic almond milk, recycled toilet paper, cruelty-free toiletries such as $1.99 toothpaste, etc.) For produce and some vegan products, I hit the farm.

I rarely go to Whole Foods. This place has earned the name "Whole Paycheck" for a reason. They do have a few vegan items I can't find, such as cheese (check out Alicia Silverstone's cheese post). With a gift card in hand, I paid a visit to their Paramus, New Jersey store.

Vegan pizza! I didn't buy any ($7.99/lb.) There's a private label frozen version for $4.99. I think making your own may be the cheapest and healthiest way to go. When I asked at Trader Joe's when the roasted vegetable pizza was coming back, they said it was discontinued due to slow sales. Sob.

I did buy Rising Moon Organics butternut squash ravioli. I can't wait to saute these in olive oil, shallots and sage.

Read the fine print: the Tofutti cream cheese and sour cream at Whole Foods does not have partially hydrogenated oils. The Tofutti sour cream at Stop & Shop and the Toffuti cream cheese at Trader Joe's does. In fact, partially hyrogentated soybean oil is the second ingredient listed.

I love a cup of non-dairy hot chocolate on a blustery day, but these vegan marshmallows, at $7, will not be in it. Sweet & Sara are also outpriced at $7.

These were the cheapest soy yogurts I saw, for 89 cents (*note-contains dairy cultures). The Trader Joe's private label soy yogurt (in peach, strawberry or raspberry) are 99 cents. I used to eat yogurt daily when I consumed cow's milk as you could always find a great sale. Now, I have it occasionally. Yogurt cups=tootbrush? Learn about Preserve, available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

This WholeSoy & Company chocolate hazelnut frozen soy yogurt is good alternative for un-vegan Nutella cravings. The crème caramel variety goes wonderfully on a warm apple crisp.

I also spotted vegan sugar. Vegan sugar? According to Grassroots Veganism with Jo Stepanick:

"Cane sugar is filtered through activated carbon (charcoal) which may be of animal, vegetable, or mineral origin. Over half of the cane refineries in the United States use bone char (charcoal made from animal bones) as their activated carbon source. The bone char used in this filtering process is so far removed from its animal source that cane sugar processed in this method is deemed kosher pareve, which, according to Jewish dietary laws...A number of vegans disagree with this perspective." Read more.

Am I going to obsess over this? No. I recall advice that has helped keep me sane as a vegan from Kathy Freston's Quantam Wellness.

"Vegans and vegan wannabees shouldn't be too concerned about ingredients that make up less than two percent of their meal. You will obviously want to avoid dishes served with meat, cheese, or eggs, but you need not get crazy if there is a dab of butter or whey or other animal product in the bun your veggie burger is served on. You won't appreciably stop animal suffering by avoiding such minuscule amounts of animal ingredients. The goal is to eat in a conscious, animal-friendly manner without driving friends, family, or the waiters at restaurants nuts."

I've seen too many people attempt veganism, then have a moment of weakness around a communal cheese platter (myself included), and abandon it altogether deeming it too restrictive. I drink wine rarely so I don't consult barnivore for a single glass of wine out. Vegan favorite Yellowtail (only the reds are vegan) are non-organic and flown in from Australia. That doesn't sound very animal friendly. The issues are complex. All we can do is make the best decisions with the information we have at the time.


Anonymous said...

great post. two quick thoughts:
(1) I think the sweet and sara vegan marshmallows are worth the $5.50 WF charges, at the very least for special occasions like making campfire smores.
(2) though the stoneyfield farm o'soy yogurt is the creamiest and IMHO best soy yogurt on the market, it says on the container that they use dairy based cultures. Not sure what % of the yogurt is dairy because of it, but it sounds like it is not strictly vegan. (I liked your reaction to the vegan sugar and 2% rule... I often refer to myself as an exceptional vegan, as I sometimes make exceptions if chocolate is a main ingredient)

Vegan Good Life said...

Thank you for the comments and for calling that to my attention! Much appreciated. I've made an edit to reflect that. Just goes to show you how closely vegans need to read the label. I actually bought a chocolate hazelnut spread on the trip I thought was vegan (I didn't read closely enough), then returned when I realized it wasn't.

I opt for the Trader Joe's soy yogurts when I do buy them.

The 2% rule is great. I think we shouldn't get so tied up in labels. Someone who eats vegan 98% of the time is a vegan in my book.

Enjoy those marshmallows. Those s'mores sound great. I think everyone's standards on price on different. It's more a general comment on how much more expensive some vegan products are compared to their non-veg counterparts.

Thanks for reading.

Chessbuff said...

The Paramus branch of Whole Foods, I reckon, is the one in Bergen Mall. Or, is that Maywood? I went over to the Barnivore site and lo and behold the beer on which I was raised on isn't vegan-friendly. There was so much drinking in my old neighborhood that we raised the stock value of San Miguel Corporation. Anyway, I am not going to agonize over the fact that SM Beer uses some animal products in its refining process. When Corn Furs on Rt. 17 and the steakhouse at the Riverside Square Mall closes, that would be time for some San Miguel beer.

Vegan Good Life said...

Eye-opening, isn't it? I don't worry about that much either. I think Kathy has given us great advice. Being vegan in a an almost entirely non-vegan world presents temptations everywhere (think birthday cakes at work, communal cookie trays at a picnic, and so on). To be human is to have weaknesses and no one's perfect (myself included). It takes a lot of will-power. I don't worry about labels or perfection and try and think of the greater goal of better animal welfare.