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Vegan Challenge Day 4: Belly up to the Barnivore

May 4, 2010 - Andy Gray

When I posted a link on Facebook to my Day 1 Vegan Challenge blog entry, the first question an old college friend, Paul Kelly, asked was, “Is beer vegan?”

It was a wise question. That would have been a deal breaker for the Andy that PK knew in college, and I still enjoy a good beer these days. Before I could answer his question, PK found the answer online and sent a link to a valuable resource – Barnivore.

For those committed to a vegan lifestyle because they don’t believe in eating or using any animal products, staying true requires more than reading the ingredients list. According to Barnivore, many brewmasters, winemakers and distillers may use animal products in the filtration process (like gelatin, egg whites, sea shells and a part of the fish bladder called isinglass) even if they don’t show up on the label.

Barnivore asks the questions so vegans can drink guilt-free. The Web site has a searchable database that reveals which drinks are vegan-friendly and which ones aren’t.

Turns out the Guinness in my fridge will have to stay there until May 29, but I can drink the Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold or any Great Lakes brew except for Christmas Ale (contains honey). Dogfish Head beers (another personal favorite) except for Midas Touch Ale also are vegan approved. So is Glenlivet scotch. Click the link to see if your drink of choice gets a thumbs up or not.

As for my quest, so far so good. The spicy peanut noodles with agave nectar instead of honey are as tasty as always and made for a satisfying lunch the last two days.

For Monday’s dinner we improvised our own version of a Chipotle vegetarian burrito bowl. While my wife made the guacamole, I grilled up some onions and green peppers, cooked a large can of black beans with chipotle pepper seasoning and cumin and added some chopped cilantro and squeeze of lime to the rice. With a spicy store-bought salsa, the flavors were intense enough that I didn’t miss the cheese or sour cream.


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