Archive for August, 2007

When looking on labels (which I’m sure many of you do religiously) you’ve probably run across an ingredient known as casein. You’ll find it in soy cheeses, among other things. It might say “casein (a milk derivative)” or something to that effect. This was confusing to me. Do they mean it’s a product that they created based on an ingredient in milk- but is not a milk product? Or do they mean that it came straight from milk? Well, unfortunately, it is the latter. It is not a vegan ingredient. So if you’re looking for cheese substitutes, many of them aren’t totally vegan. They put this ingredient in there to give the “cheese” a better consistency. As you may have noticed, non-cheese cheese does not melt as well as real cheese. That’s where the casein comes in.

Casein is a phosphoprotein in milk and cheese. It can sometimes be referred to as paracasein. This product is not only found in food- it can also be found in such random things as a knife handle or a binder.

One thing I found to be completely fascinating about this ingredient is its affect on health. Along with the removal of gluten from the diet, removing casein can actually aid in the treatment of autism.

There are also studies being done about the possible link between casein and cancer (I know, I know. What isn’t linked to cancer these days?). I found this article to be very interesting, though

So there you have it. More evidence that veganism can be beneficial to your health.

(read update here)

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to San Francisco. I hadn’t been there in years, so I was very excited. Before I left I looked up various vegan/vegetarian restaurants in the area and read that Herbivore, an all vegan restaurant, was highly recommended. So my boyfriend and I trudged up and down the beautiful, hilly San Fran until we came upon 531 Divisadero Street.

Herbivore has a stylish, modern atmosphere.


For an appetizer, we had bruschetta. It was fabulous.


and a salad before the meal (trust me, you won’t starve if you eat here)


…and our main courses. Gnocci with creamy marinara sauce and pasta with lemon cream sauce and portabella mushrooms.
The gnocci was amazing.
Now I had never had a lemon cream sauce before, and I wasn’t a huge fan, but it was still good.

Wait- there’s more… dessert. We went all-out. Carrot cake and a blueberry donut. Both were absolutely delicious.
It’s been years since the last time I had a donut. Amazing.

All in all, a fabulous experience. Our waitress was very sweet as well. If you’re ever in the area, I strongly encourage you to try Herbivore. They have 2 locations in San Fran and one in Berkley

This mineral is essential for the thyroid to function properly. If the thyroid doesn’t have enough iodine, it will expand and eventually lead to a goitre. If you develop hypothyroidism, you may experience weight gain, lethargy, intolerance to cold, increased blood cholesterol, mental slowness and reduced heart function. It is especially essential to get enough iodine during pregnancy.

  • Adults need 150 micrograms/ day (for metabolic processes i.e. growth/energy expenditure)
  • During pregnancy and lactation 200 micrograms/ day (for baby developent in womb)
  • Children (6-12) need 120 micrograms/ day (for normal brain and physical development)
  • Infants need 90 micrograms/ day (for normal brain and physical development)

Setting aside fish, seaweed is a great source of iodine. Eat 2-3 servings a week. I’m a big fan of vegetarian sushi, myself. Otherwise a few grams of iodized salt (varies, depending on the country you live in) will do the job. Note: sea salt is actually a poor source of iodine.

My main iodine intake comes from a liquid kelp supplement. Kelp is a type of seaweed extract. I just put a few drops into a glass of water. Easy peasy. And you can’t even taste it.

If you have an overactive thyroid- you need less iodine in your diet. Please talk to a doctor.
And never go above 1,000 micrograms per day. Too much iodine can be toxic.

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