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. http://www.gfcfdiet.com/Successstories.htm
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 http://www.ezhealthydiet.com/casein-protein.html
So there you have it. More evidence that veganism can be beneficial to your health.