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Whoa, something new to keep my eye out for in the grocery store: Breyer's non-dairy Frozen Desserts
flavors: Vanilla Peanut Butter, and Oreo Cookies & Cream

Breyers Releases Two Almond Milk-Based Ice Creams - and Ben & Jerry's has 2 new flavors in their vegan line.
OMG, do the Breyer's ones really come in 1.5 quart-sized containers? Not in those little pint-sized containers that all the other vegan brands come in? I wonder how much the Breyer's costs...
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Silk finally came out with a nutmilk that tastes as good to me as their soymilk - their "Protein Nutmilk". It has added pea protein. It also has added high oleic sunflower oil, giving it 8g of fat per 8oz serving, and which I suspect is what makes it taste better than their other nutmilks, which have 2.5g or less of fat.

The plain version which I tried has, per 8oz:
140 calories
8g fat
6g of sugar
10g of protein
220mg sodium
80mg potassium
45% RDA calcium
25% RDA vitamin D
8% RDA iron

They also have a low-sugar version which has 2g sugar. I haven't tried that one yet.

Normally I buy Silk's organic unsweetened soymilk, which has:
80 calories
4g fat
1g sugar
7g protein
75mg sodium
350mg potassium
30% RDA calcium
30% RDA vitamin D
6% RDA iron
50% RDA vitamin B12
and more of various other vitamins

Given that they both taste about the same good to me, it looks like the soymilk still has overall better numbers.

The flavor and consistency of the protein nutmilk reminds me of the Vitasoy brand soymilk which used to be my favorite until they stopped selling it over here.

Hah!... Vitasoy has had a factory in Ayer, MA since 1998!
So why haven't I seen their American-branded soymilk for sale in like, 10 years? I've only seen their Chinese-brand soymilk that comes in metal cans; the one time I tried that, it didn't taste as good as the previous "American" kind.

Hmmm. This article, Home / Articles / 2005 / New Food Products: Vitasoy Complete
New Food Products: Vitasoy Complete
: says "But faced with a U.S. market that appears to be leaning toward refrigerated products, Vitasoy and also Hain announced in December 2004 they were exiting the U.S. refrigerated soymilk market."

Now that I think about it, maybe I have seen their non-refrigerated product for sale in some places. Or was that Silk's non-refrigerated boxes? Now I'm not sure of my memories. Maybe after Vitasoy hadn't been available for a while, I switched over to Silk, and then even if I saw Vitasoy again, I didn't buy it because the aseptic boxes which don't need refrigeration aren't recyclable here like the refrigerated soymilk boxes are.

Update, 2017/04/16-18:
I've now also tasted the lower-sugar version of Silk's "Protein Nutmilk". It tastes as good to me as the first one did (apparently the first one was also vanilla-flavored, though I didn't really notice). But I have noticed that both of them do have an unusual flavor when drinking them straight, which some people might not like. It's sort of a chalky flavor, maybe from the added calcium or the pea protein. Maybe it is even more pronounced in the lower-sugar version.

But they taste quite good to me mixed with other things, like in a milkshake. And over preserved cherries - the nutmilk curdles into a lovely texture.

I must say, the package labeling on them is confusing. One is labelled "Vanilla" and says "HALF THE SUGAR of dairy milk". The other is labelled "2g sugar per serving". Now based on that, how are you supposed to know which one is the lower sugar one? In the store, I had to check and compare the numbers on the Nutrition Facts labels, to figure it out.


Monday, November 21st, 2016 03:27 pm
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The Follow Your Heart vegan smoked gouda cheese slices mentioned in this post tasted great when melted.

I found a similar product by Daiya, Smoked Gouda Style Block, which melted and tasted pretty much the same. However, it wasn't pre-sliced, so the other one seemed more convenient.

But I don't always eat things up very fast, and the Daiya block was in my fridge for some time (I'm not sure how long), partially used up. These last 2 days, I finally used the rest up as a burrito topping. The interesting thing is that now, it even tastes quite good raw to me. I don't remember it being the same when it was fresh. The raw taste and texture - slightly crumbly - now reminds me of non-vegan cheddar cheese blocks I had as a kid (not the sharp cheddar ones with the bitter taste, but the very mild ones).

I'm not sure if I ever had Gouda cheese before I became vegan, so I can't say whether either of these brands tastes like dairy Gouda or not.

omg, yum

Friday, August 12th, 2016 07:48 pm
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Goody Good Stuff - they have vegan cola-flavored gummies! Yes!!! (The "Cola Breeze" ones). I found them in a Winn Dixie store.

vegan frankfurters

Sunday, August 7th, 2016 06:31 pm
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These vegan Field Roast Frankfurters taste very good. They are very salty*, though. I think they'd work well cooked on a grill for a vegan cook-out, or sauteed, even though so far I've only had them microwaved.

The packaging is annoying. Each sausage is individually encased in a plastic film that you have to cut and peel off. So much work for a hot dog! I took the time to unpeel them all to begin with, and put them in a ziploc bag in the freezer, so that I could simply take them out whenever I wanted without all the work.

*If it weren't for that and the packaging, they'd be my new favorite. As it is, I suppose they're a tie with my other favorite, Yves hot dogs. For a while, I liked Tofurky Kielbasa the best, but over time I lost my taste for them, largely in part to them being so salty too. Which is odd, because in comparing them, the Kielbasa ones have the least percentage salt of the 3. My least favorite vegan dogs are the Lightlife ones; they seem bland to me.


Saturday, July 16th, 2016 08:18 pm
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I've been updating scripts for setting up a local debug/testing environment for work.

I worked late on it last night. If I don't take extra time in my off hours to get it done, I'll never finish it, even though it is something that will make the rest of my tasks easier to finish, as well as helping out co-workers.

This morning, after getting only 5 hours sleep because I woke up early, I just wanted to tweak a few things and test it out. I should be able to kick it off and let it run while I'm doing other things, then kick off a few more things, etc. It started out well. Except that Eclipse wasn't picking up the right default JRE, which for our environment isn't the same as the JDK version that we need to use for running Eclipse itself.

It was unclear how to configure Eclipse's prefs and configuration files so that it would use my dynamically inserted JDK path. That took what, 5 hours to get working? Because of fascinating details about how all that works, which I'm too tired to describe now but maybe later elsewhere.

Then I had to do more tweaking because some files need single backward slashes in the paths, and some files need double backward slashes... and good heavens it didn't like having a combination of forward and backward slashes either...

Then I had to tweak it more, because in changing all those slashes in the paths, I accidentally also changed slashes that weren't in the paths. So I had to add logic to swap those back. At this point, even though that may seem convoluted, it's the simplest way to do it.

REM ... undo the slash changes that weren't in the paths. Change the double slashes back to single slashes.
powershell -Command "(Get-Content '%EclipseDir%\org.eclipse.jdt.launching.prefs') -replace '<\\\\', '</' | Out-File -encoding ASCII '%EclipseDir%\org.eclipse.jdt.launching.prefs'

I already inserted a "Sheesh!" to the end of the comment, and was debating adding "Please Lord let it work right this time" or perhaps, "Please Lord, bless this code..."
because you know, even if I don't believe in a Lord, it would probably amuse the next person who looks at the file.


and also thunderstorm and yapping dog and vegan grilled cheese sandwiches - Follow Your Heart has a new Smoked Gouda cheese which combines/melts well together with the Tofutti American cheese slices.

and also being partly upset with myself for having wasted more than half my weekend on work work. and yet still wanting to continue on it.
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On my lunchtime walk, I noticed some traffic cones in the field behind the tennis courts. They'd never been there before. Maybe there were there to keep people from falling into some kind of hole, or what else could the reason be? I walked in that direction to check it out.

As I got nearer, I saw that the cones were positioned in a circle. To my surprise, in the very center of the circle, a small bird was standing!

It felt surreal like a dream. Why would a bird be standing in the center of a circle of traffic cones?

Times like that, I wish I always carried my cell phone on me, to be able to take a photo.

I didn't want to frighten the bird, so I didn't go any closer, but rather walked on past while still looking. There was another bird of the same type outside of the cones. It walked into the circle towards the other bird. When it reached the center, it took the first bird's place, and the other bird walked away in the opposite direction. Half-way doing one of those funny bird-walks.

So. I can only presume that there's a nest of eggs on the ground right there, and someone put up the cones as a warning to keep the nest from being trampled or driven over with a lawnmower. I wonder who did it, and where they got the cones from.

It was a hot afternoon, and the whole area was in the sun. I imagine the birds were shading the nest with their bodies to keep the eggs from over-heating.

The birds were brownish, with a ring around the neck. Most likely killdeer:
The birds nest on the ground. They do not build a nest but will lay their eggs in a depression in gravel. The nest, and speckled eggs blend easily into the background making them hard to see. ... Both parents take turns incubating 4 buff, speckled eggs for 24 to 28 days.


After work, I drove to the grocery store. A car in front of me had a SC Equality license plate, like mine. It's the first time I've come across another car with one of these plates! I was tickled, and wished they could have seen my license plate too.

At Kroger, I checked the ice cream section, and for the first time they had non-dairy Ben & Jerry's. They had all 4 flavors, so I got one of each. They taste good!

They also still had a bunch of Clif Bars on the shelves, including the recalled flavors. I checked the use-by dates on them, and they seemed to be within the recall period. That surprised and unsettled me. I made a note to check the recall notice again after I got home, to make sure I was remembering the dates right. I didn't buy any of those, but got a few bars of the other flavors.

At the self-checkout counter, the automated voice advised me to check the bottom of my receipt for an important message. It was a note about the recall again.

After getting home, I checked the recall notification, and verified that the ones I had seen should have been recalled. (Unless I actually misread the dates on the items, which isn't to be ruled out, the way my brain has been acting lately.) So I called the store and advised them to double-check the items on the shelf. I'm not sure if the CSR took me seriously, but at least I tried.
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Since becoming vegan, I've never really missed having dairy butter. I remember butter being fairly bland or outright tasteless. Non-dairy vegetable margarine works just as well for me on hot pasta, potatoes, or toast.

Those memories must be of the American pasteurized kind of butter. I have a different memory of the butter that my German aunt used to have on the table for breakfast. It had a much stronger uniquely pleasant flavor.

When I came across Miyoko's European Style Cultured VeganButter online, I was curious. When I saw it for sale in a local store, I bought a pack, even though it is expensive.

Upon first opening and tasting it, I was impressed. It did remind me of my aunt's butter, though the flavor is milder.

I had some on pasta and later on toast. It was fine that way, but nothing special. The flavor isn't strong enough to be very noticeable when combined with other food.

It is made mainly from coconut oil and is supposed to stay refrigerated. Removing it from the fridge to let it soften a while before eating, makes it easier to spread and improves the flavor. I've found that I like to eat it straight from the tub, just a bit at a time, for that unique flavor.

But considering the price, I wouldn't buy it to use it as an ingredient in other dishes, nor for toast and pasta.

Ingredients: Organic Coconut Oil, Water, Organic Safflower Oil or Sunflower Oil, Organic Cashews, Soy Lecithin, Sea Salt, Cultures.
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In this post from April 2014, I mentioned that WholeSoy was producing and distributing yogurts again. After that, I only saw their yogurts on the grocery store shelves a few times. Now I've read that WholeSoy went out of business in March 2015, which explains it.

Silk now sells large tubs of plain and vanilla yogurt again, in addition to the small cups of various fruit-flavored yogurts. The plain one is pretty good. I enjoy it with sugar stirred in.

Silk's yogurt has undergone several labeling changes over the years:
Silk Live! Soy Yogurt
Silk Blended Cultured Soymilk / Dairy-Free / fruity & creamy
Silk Dairy-Free yogurt alternative

It was the "fruity & creamy" strawberry-flavored one that I liked so much. When they switched the labeling the last time, they must have also changed the ingredient composition. Now, while still good, it doesn't seem quite as delectable as back then.

However, Daiya now makes a vegan soy-free Greek-style yogurt, with coconut cream. The strawberry one is very good! It might just be my new favorite.

Another nice bit of news is that Stonyfield O'Soy yogurts are now certified vegan. In the past, their cultures were milk-based, but 2 to 3 years ago, they switched to a vegan formulation. I tried the vanilla one, and it's pretty good.
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Cute videos of baby goats!


Our first daffodil bloomed on Feb 1. The stem got bent, so today I cut the flower and put it in a glass vase on the table. From a distance, it smells like sawdust, but up close it has a very floral scent.


As of 12:36am we had bits of ice falling from the sky. It has stopped, but the forecast says it might snow overnight. If so, it will likely be melted by the time I get up. We already had a bit of snowfall on the morning Jan 23 too. If I hadn't been awakened by an early phone-call, I wouldn't have seen it.


VeganEgg - another new vegan egg substitute. This one can even be used to make scrambled eggs. Its ingredients include nutritional yeast and black salt for the eggy flavor, the same as Vegg does... I wonder if they got the idea from Vegg. Vegg has a scrambled-egg product now too, which I hadn't known about. Vegg Scramble uses a different main ingredient than VeganEgg does though (soy protein isolate vs algal flour & algal protein), so I wonder how they compare.

It's getting hard to keep up with all the new vegan products available!

buy / don't buy

Saturday, February 6th, 2016 05:28 pm
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Note to self (Buy/Try): TCBY has vegan non-dairy frozen yogurt. Several flavors, in fact: almond nog, chocolate almond, coconut, vanilla almond.

Note to self (Don't Buy): Target has a "Simply Balanced" brand of vegan meatless chicken/turkey in the freezer section. I was pleasantly surprised when I came across it, and bought 2 flavors - smoky chipotle (chicken) and mushroom miso (turkey). The first one I microwaved, and it was very unpalatable. The 2nd one I pan-fried, and it was ok (because I like most anything that has a crispy/chewy fried exterior and is vegan), but still not very good. So don't buy this brand again.

The few reviews I've seen praising the product all mention the Korean Barbeque flavor. So maybe that one is better. But it's probably not worth me trying, as I suspect the base product is the same for all the flavors, and only the sauce packet is different.

By the way, for anyone else reading this, the above is an anomaly. Most other vegan meat substitutes available taste very good to me. For example, Gardein, Kroger's "Simple Truth" brand, Beyond Meat, and Tofurky. That's why I was rather surprised about how bad the "Simply Balanced" one was in comparison.
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Serendipitously found. More info about veganism in regards to honey and honeybee pollination, including a lot of interesting details about bees and beekeeping.

Beekeeping and the Ethical Vegan

Why Honey is Not Vegan

The Honey Industry
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Note to self: Kroger's "Simple Truth" brand of dark chocolate covered raisins now includes milk in the ingredients. The front of the package even includes a small blurb "NEW FORMULA INCLUDES MILK".


Sometimes I intend to look up an answer a question I've had in my mind. Then after reading a bunch of webpages, I still may not have a clear answer, but have found a lot of interesting information. So I decide to put some links in a post, along with some text to explain why I'm linking it. And then what I thought would take a few minutes ends up taking hours and hours to finish...


I'm vegan as I want to minimize the suffering involved in the production of the food I eat, and as I don't feel it is right to raise animals in order to kill them. I don't believe that animals exist mainly to serve humans, or that humans have an inherent right to exploit them.

With meat, it's pretty obvious that meat production involves the killing of animals, and that the raising and slaughtering of these animals often includes suffering. With dairy products and eggs, it's also fairly obvious that large-scale productions involve non-ideal living conditions for animals and suffering. The dairy and egg industries are also closely tied in with the meat industry. On a small private farm, a farmer might choose to allow a chicken or cow to live until it dies of old age. But with large-scale production, that would be impractical. Female animals are slaughtered after their milk or egg production declines. Male offspring are either killed outright or raised for meat and/or for their sperm.

But the potential suffering involved in harvesting insect by-products is less obvious to me. I've never heard an insect squeal in pain, but to err on the side of compassion, I assume that they can feel pain and/or suffer in other ways.

In the case of honey, I've decided not to completely abstain from eating anything that has honey as an ingredient, but in general I avoid it. I could be wrong, but I think that beekeeping in general doesn't involve much suffering for the bees, and that the bees involved are still able to live a fairly normal life - living in their beehives with their normal social structure intact, and being able freely fly out to collect pollen. That the bees are robbed of their honey and given an inferior substitute in its place is troublesome to me, but I'm not sure that this causes them much suffering. However, what sticks in my mind is a long-ago news report where a truck carrying honeybee hives had an accident and overturned, letting loose the bees. Local authorities were called in to kill the bees.

Searching on honeybee hives truck overturned shows that those kind of truck accidents are surprisingly common.
Sep 29, 2015 - "Beekeepers and officers gathered as many bees as they could before 7:30 p.m., officials said. After dark, the bees became aggressive, so officials decided to burn the beehives."
Jun 28, 2015 - "A semi-truck carrying 400 beehives overturned on a busy freeway near the IRONMAN Triathlon course in North Idaho." "A similar truck wreck just two days ago released more than 20 million bees on State Highway 33 in the eastern Idaho desert."
Apr 17, 2015 - "As temperatures warmed and the bees became more agitated, firefighters sprayed a mixture of foam and water on the hives to slow down or kill some of the bees." "The overturned truck held 448 hives with as many as 14 million bees".

Why do trucks keep spilling swarms of honeybees onto US highways?
While there were only 387 beekeeping establishments in the US in 2012, commercial beekeeping is a multi-million dollar business, the US Department of Agriculture noted in a 2014 report. Many beekeepers – who work on a contract basis – live a semi-nomadic lifestyle, often transporting the bees long distances to reach farmers.

Each truckload of bees contains about 400 to 500 hives, with each hive containing a single queen and between 10,000 and 30,000 worker bees.
It is next to impossible to recapture escaped bees following such an accident. In most cases, emergency personnel have to kill the swarms to prevent them from attacking people.

So, while honey production doesn't intentionally involve the killing of bees, it does happen, and when it does, it often involves millions of bees in a single incident.

(This brings up another interesting question/moral dilemma: Why do I avoid honey because of the above, but not the fruit and nuts which are pollinated by the transported bees? And are the honey industry and the honeybee pollinating industry one and the same, or not?)


I also avoid items made with silk. Silk cocoons are usually boiled in order to kill the silk worms inside before the silk threads are extracted. There's been some research on how to get the silk without killing the worm, but that particular alternative - semi-paralyzing the silkworm and slowly unreeling the silk at the same pace as the worm produces it, doesn't sound so great to me either. I don't think a silkworm could have a very normal or pleasant life under those conditions.


All that was a prelude to the actual topic of this post: Lac, also known as shellac.

I had read in the past that "pure food glaze" or "confectioner's glaze" in food ingredient lists could represent various substances including shellac.

Shellac is a resin exuded by the lac insect in southeast Asia. I haven't been certain whether the harvesting of shellac involves killing the insect or not.

I've assumed that similar vegetable or mineral-based products were also available, and that surely these other sources were cheaper and more widely available than an insect byproduct from southeast Asia. So I thought that items containing "pure food glaze" and "confectioner's glaze" were only partially likely to contain shellac, and therefore haven't avoided them.

Today, I tried to find some more definite answers. How likely is "pure food glaze" to be shellac, and does shellac harvesting kill the bugs?

Almost all the sources I've found today indicate that "pure food glaze" and "confectioner's glaze" only comes from shellac. I only found 2 pages contradicting that:

On a message board, someone wrote that it could be palm-derived: "About confectioner's glaze or pure food glaze, I do have some good news for you all. While it should be assumed to not be vegan unless otherwise told, I contacted Sunridge Farms the other day and they confirmed for me their confectioner's or pure food glaze is indeed vegan. I believe they said it's palm derived (which may be something people try to avoid for other reasons), but they said it's for sure vegan."

This page indicates that it can be contain corn-based zein or beeswax: "Is there a vegan alternative to shellac? Of course! Zein, a corn protein, is a competitive non-animal-based product. Pure zein is clear, odorless, tasteless, hard, water-insoluble, and edible. It is already used as a coating for candy, nuts, fruit, pills, and other encapsulated foods and drugs. In the United States, it may also be labeled as ‘confectioner’s glaze’. NOTE: As well as sometimes being made from shellac, confectioner’s glaze can also contain beeswax."

So it still sounds like the item labelled as pure food glaze or confectioner's glaze can come from various sources, but I'm still unclear as to what percentage of it actually does.

Regarding the harvesting of shellac, from what I've read (more details in the links below):
The female insects attach themselves to tree twigs, and start sucking out tree sap. The sap gets converted into lac and exuded from their bodies, forming a thick coating over them and their eggs. The females die, and the larvae break out of their eggs and somehow migrate to new twigs, to begin the cycle all over again. The twigs are harvested, and then the shellac is scraped off and processed.

Now, if the harvesting happens after the encased females are all dead and the larvae have all hatched and left, I'd be ok with using shellac. But I'm not sure if that is the case. (And even if it were true in most cases, there'd doubtless be some percentage of insects that hadn't yet died or hatched when the twigs are harvested.)

The Story of Shellac

New World Encyclopedia's entry on Shellac
In Kerra lacca, the insect starts as a nymph that is only about 0.6 millimeters (3/128 inches) long (ASB 2008). It settles on a host plant gregariously and there may be on average 150 such larvae per square inch of twig (ASB 2008). The insects project protrusions into the tree, penetrating the bark, and suck up the sap, which is chemically altered in the insects' bodies (Bryk 2002). When exuded onto the tree branch, this secretion forms a hard covering. Larvae begin secreting this lac after a day or two of settlement. As the insects are in close proximity, the lac secretions from adjacent cells coalesce with each other and form a shell-like covering over the entire swarm (ASB 2008; Bryk 2002).

After the first molt, the male and female larvae lose their legs, antennae, and eyes, and after the third molt, the mouthparts in the male larvae become atrophied, the males stop feeding, and they fertilize with the female (ASB 2008). The females' lac output increases greatly after fertilization (Bryk 2002). The female may lay 1000 eggs before dying; after hatching, the new larva break through the crust and swarm out (Bryk 2002).

Orange Shellac Technical Evaluation Report (2014)
Young larvae of lac insects are red and measure about half a millimeter in length and half as much in width. After emergence, they settle down on the lac host and attach themselves to the host by piercing its bark. They suck the sap of the host and start secreting lac. Under this coating the larvae grow while they continue the secretion of lac from the inside. After eight to fourteen weeks, the male insect emerges out of its lac cover, fertilizes the female and dies soon after. The female continues growing and increases lac secretion until the egg laying period (Bose and Sankaranarayan 1963).
There are primarily four different non-synthetic substances that may be used in place of orange shellac as a component of citrus fruit waxes: wood rosin, carnauba wax, beeswax and candelilla wax.
A number of other non-synthetic and agricultural substances have been briefly studied as alternatives to or in combination with the four primary waxes, including corn zein, xanthan gum, grain sorghum wax, casein, soy protein, and chitosan.(Hagenmaier 1998; Krochta, Baldwin and Nisperos-Carriedo 1994)

Lac Insect

Large number of tiny red larvae of about 0.5 mm. long come out of each mother cell and settle on the tender portions of fresh twigs of certain trees called lac hosts. The larva is sufficiently mobile to crawl along the branches of trees to find fresh succulent twigs. When it has fixed its position and inserted its probocis into the trees it secretes a protective coating consisting of a dark red chitinous scale and a yellow to reddish resin called the lac resin. The insects mature under the protective covering of the resin which becomes hard. Wax glands near the vital pores - the oval region, the breathing pores and the anal pore keep them open by secreting wax filaments.

The larvae mould [molt] thrice inside the cell and becomes sexually mature male and female insects in about eight weeks. The female cell is roundish and the insect remains fixed to the twig. The male cell is somewhat longer with a round trap door through which the insect, sometimes winged, comes out, walks over the females, fertilising several of them and dies. Their direct contribution to resin production is insignificant.

The female insect increases in size to accommodate her large number of growing eggs. The secretion of the resin and wax now proceed at a faster rate and a continuous layer is formed by coalescence and coatings. in another 14 weeks, when the female insect is about to lay eggs, she begins to contract, allowing light into the cell which shows up as yellow spots. When hatched, the larve emerge to begin a new life cycle of about six months.

Life Cycle of Lac-insect (with pictures)

So, am I okay with eating items containing pure food glaze, confectioner's glaze, and/or shellac? Answer: still undecided.
darkoshi: (Default)
Chipotle now offers braised tofu sofritas in most locations! A year or so ago, they also changed their pinto bean formulation to no longer include pork, so those are vegan now too. The black beans, as always, are still vegan too.

I like this little essay which is printed on their paper bags: A Two-Minute Case for Optimism
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Fried pickles at Bean Vegan Cuisine, in Charlotte NC.

Peanut butter cheesecake, from same location. The coconut whip cream on top was a little smooshed from being in a to-go container.

The above was delicious, but the mocha chocolate chip cheesecake at Eden - A Vegan Cafe in Scranton, PA, was arguably even more scrumptious.

Bright cloud:

Cloudy sky in Hartford, CT:

Oranges in vending machine! (A bit hard to see, due to reflections.)


Monday, August 18th, 2014 08:37 pm
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Qiao and I drove to Massachusetts to visit family last week.

The HappyCow App was very useful in helping me find nearby vegan/vegetarian restaurants to stop at for lunch&dinner on the way there and back. I'd highly recommend the app and website for other traveling vegans. (However, the app starts automatically in the background when I turn on my phone, and apparently tries to connect to the internet right away. Why? I don't know. In case you don't like it doing that, you may want to search via the happycow.net website instead of installing the app.)

One highway rest area, in Virgina I believe, had a nice big building. One of the vending machines had oranges in it!

You know how the motels have little soaps and bottles of shampoo and such? One motel also had a packet labeled "Deluxe Vanity Kit". Curious, I opened it. It contained 2 cotton swabs, a cotton ball, and a tiny emery board. Deluxe, indeed.

Another motel had a cute rubber ducky in the bathroom to greet us.

Lately, I've acquired a taste for this "Synergy" line of kombucha drinks. They have a slightly sour flavor like apple cider vinegar, but are also slightly sweet, and naturally effervescent!

soy yogurts

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 08:21 pm
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(Addendum to this post from a year ago, about a shortage of soy yogurts. It sounds like the shortage wasn't related to any legal / labeling issues after all.)

The only soy yogurts I've found in stores lately have been the Silk "Fruity & Creamy" ones and "Nancy's cultured Soy". The Silk ones taste good but are rather sweet. I haven't much liked the 2 Nancy's flavors I've tried. The first (strawberry) had an odd color, and I wasn't sure if that was normal or if it had gone bad (even though the taste was ok). The 2nd one I tried (blackberry) had a normal bluish-purple color, but tasted rather sour, and the texture wasn't creamy.

The coconut and almond yogurts that I have tried haven't had a creamy texture either, and haven't tasted very "yogurty" to me.

So I'm glad to hear that WholeSoy is producing soy yogurt again! Apparently, their old production facility closed down on them last year, only giving them 3 days' notice, which is why they've been out of stock for so long. But as of March 12, 2014, they've been shipping their soy yogurts to stores again!

the downfall

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 09:34 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I wonder if dogs even notice or care whether their water is filtered tap water versus unfiltered. I've been giving them filtered water, under the premise that as they have a good sense of smell and taste, that they would prefer filtered like I do. That's what I put in their water bowl. But I also fill another shallow bowl with unfiltered water, and put their food bowl in that (like a castle surrounded by a moat - to reduce the number of crawly bugs that can get in their food). The big dog seems to drink out of either bowl indiscriminately. I haven't really noticed which bowl the small dog drinks from. Maybe I shouldn't bother giving them filtered?


Burger King's onion rings currently include whey as an ingredient. From what I remember, they didn't used to.

But their french fries still seem to be made of vegan ingredients, as do their new "satisfries".


I am going to stop taking the butterbur for a while, as I suspect I may be getting desensitized/immune to it. I'll try taking loratadine and/or fexofenadine every day in the mean while, to see how well those work for me. In the past, I only took them when I was having an allergy attack. Sometimes they helped, sometimes not. They're supposed to last 24 hours, but even when they did help, they often didn't last that long. Do you have to take them regularly in order to get consistent relief for a whole 24 hours? Or is it common for people to have to take multiple types of allergy medication per day to keep their allergies at bay?


Um. Guess that's all for tonight, folks.

Oh. Halloween. Thinking about doing anything for it gave me a feeling of dread the last couple of weeks. (If I buy one of those nice pretty pumpkins, I'll have gone too far: Then I'd be stuck - I'd have to design a face for it, and carve it, and buy candy, and put up decorations, and think of something to wear, and find a way to fit the pumpkin into the fridge, and cut up and cook the pumpkin, and then make pies and meals with it...)

Today in the store, walking by the Halloween candy, it felt possibly do-able. I'm feeling a bit more energy for it. Yet in my neighborhood, I've only seen one house with decorations up. It's sad really, that it's only one house. It's sad (from the perspective of myself) to buy a bunch of candy and to have the possibility of no trick-or-treaters even stopping by. On the other hand, it would be sad (from the perspective of me thinking of potential treat-or-treaters) for me to keep the gate closed and to put up decorations and carve a pumpkin just for myself.

Re-reading this paragraph makes me think, maybe I don't have the energy. Hmmm.

My foster sister said she was having a Halloween party *this* Saturday. Eh. All I'd be able to do by then is to put on a hat and throw some scarves around my neck for a "costume". I suppose it wouldn't be my kind of party. I suppose I have never even been to a party that was my kind of party. Except the ones by myself in my own room, maybe. Maybe I should have myself a Halloween party, by myself. With the gate closed, so that there's no anxiety in the back of my mind whether anyone will be coming to trick or treat or not. Except then I'd be feeling anxiety at having the gate closed and at being part of the downfall of Halloween.
darkoshi: (Default)
Coltsfoot - a perennial herbaceous plant in the family Asteraceae that has traditionally had medicinal uses.

Neatsfoot oil - a yellow oil rendered and purified from the shin bones and feet (but not the hooves) of cattle. "Neat" in the oil's name comes from an old name for cattle.