I have been grappling with the idea of vegan versus local versus what the heck do I eat and why do I eat it?
After completing October Unprocessed, I got to thinking a lot about what processed foods I put into my system as a result of being vegan. One of the things that I am concerned about is vegan cheese.
Let's for a minute take a look at the ingredients:
organic rice malodextrin
organic soybean oil
organic rice flour
calcium and sodium phosphates
contains 2% or less of: sea salt, carrageenan, mono & diclycerides, natural flavors, lactic acid (non-dairy).
Okay, so it is vegan, but could I make it myself? NOPE! This ingredient list screams made in a lab. Not to mention, it is distributed in Florida, so the fossil fuels it takes to get to Brooklyn contribute to my questioning of it.
Yes Yes I know, "But D you are not a locavore anyway!" I mean, if you check out what is in my fridge you will see that I have tomatoes out of season, avocado, bananas, and a pineapple for gosh sakes! But I DO try to think about what I eat and try to eat and support a lot of local agriculture.
Now, the next thing. I disagree with the way animals are treated and kept in factory farms. Disagree is way nicer than how I feel but for all intents and purposes, I disagree with it. So how can I support farmers who are keeping animals the correct way? How do I support my local farmers that are competing with big factory farms; my local farmers who have higher prices but also higher ethical standards, and less face it, better products.
I support these farmers by going to the farmer's market, by looking for locally sourced goods at my neighborhood stores, and I support them with my money, by things like joining a co-op or a CSA.
This day, I supported them by eating cheese.
I still am not completely decided on what way to swing. I doubt I will find myself being a regular cheese maker or eater, but for this one time, I didn't feel so terrible about what I was consuming. I think it is up to each and every person to make their own decisions that are best for them and their beliefs....but the most important thing I think, is to be an educated consumer. Think about where your food comes from, and let that guide you.
Some books that I recommend on the subject: