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View Full Version : earth balance = rainforest degredation?



Nyx
Jan 21st, 2009, 04:14 AM
So earth balance butter has palm oil in it. I have heard from green peace that palm oil is obtained from (I believe) the borneo rainforest? Correct me if I'm wrong. Apparently this oil is only from rainforests and the demand for palm oil is creating deforestation.

I am very sad about this for there are many vegans foods (especially earth balance) that contain this ingredient.

Does anyone know of this?:confused:

harpy
Jan 21st, 2009, 09:58 AM
Some palm oil is produced more sustainably, apparently, but there seems to be some debate about how acceptable it is. Have you seen this?

http://invisiblevoices.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/earth-balance-palm-oil-rainforests-and-ran/

There seems to be some more if you Google "earth balance palm oil".

Nyx
Jan 22nd, 2009, 03:46 PM
Oh Harpy, I just read it all and am about to cry. I will SORELY miss earth balance now that I know the truth. :(

I have the Joy of vegan baking and so many memorized recipes (including ones I concocted and posted on my blog) that rely on EB. :'(

Pob
Jan 22nd, 2009, 03:53 PM
We've been avoiding palm oil as much as possible for a while. It's also in soap, biscuits, pastry and lots of other things.

Cherry has cake recipes that use oil instead of palm oil.

Nyx
Jan 22nd, 2009, 04:21 PM
Thanks Pob. I had my suspicions for awhile and was still using palm and felt like crap for it.

Oil it is!

Sarabi
Jan 22nd, 2009, 04:36 PM
One should avoid prepackaged foods in the first place. Blue Cliff Monastery uses earth balance. That's where I discovered it. I only tried it once, though. It had a strange flavor to it and tasted at least as unhealthy as cow butter. I prefer foods that are more original/creative instead of just copying non-vegan foods.

Quantum Mechanic
Jan 22nd, 2009, 06:55 PM
What can you use to replace earth balance that doesn't have palm oil?

Nyx
Jan 23rd, 2009, 03:07 PM
Quantum: Alternatives I think would just be oils and perhaps one could use coconut butter instead of real butter? But it wont have the same taste. There's apparently another vegan margarine ppl talk about called spectrum or something but all I came up with a company who makes oils.

I'm looking further into this. I have to admit, I trust a rainforest organization over a company trying to make money. I contacted Isa Chondra (among others) and told her this:

Dear PPK,

I recently bought your book Veganomicon and have found it to be amazing. I have gluten problems as well as allergies to cane sugars, deadly nightshades and on and on so I generally just make stuff for my friends or alter recipes drastically. It's still one of the most amazing cookbooks I've ever had and I hope someday I can create one like this.



Today I found out some very upsetting news about Earth Balance margarine (a product highly used in your books). Here is a link to the problems with Earth balance:



http://invisiblevoices.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/earth-balance-palm-oil-rainforests-and-ran/



I searched it further to get other opinions and honestly, I am never going to use EB again. I'm not sure what other alternatives there are (besides oil). How would I go about using oil in your recipes and what kinds should I use?



I hope that you take this news into consideration. I know that for me, giving up EB seems almost impossible and heart-wrenching but it's what I feel is morally right.



I have sent an email to EB and asked them to stop using palm and soy oils in their products. I am also sending an email to other top vegan cookbook authors who advocate the use of EB.



Thanks for taking the time to read this and hope to hear back from you.





She wrote back with this:

Hi Kathryn,
You know, I don't see anything about displacing people anywhere except for on that blog. I would like to see more evidence of this before deciding to boycott palm oil outright. I would also like to see that EB is not using sustainable methods as they claim. You said that you researched it, I would love to see what your research turned up. In any case, I would love to say that boycotting EB, if all of these accusations are true, is the answer but I am not sure that the good of that would outweigh the good of having a non-hydrogenated alternative to butter.

In the meantime, coconut oil is probably a good alternative for baking (although not for buttercreams, there is a coconut oil based buttercream in Vegan Cupcakes) and I love good olive oil on my bread, I really don't even use EB for that. I am not sure that EB is highly used in my books besides for the buttercream in Cupcakes. Usually I cook with canola, peanut or olive oil. If there is a specific recipe you'd like to know how to get rid of the EB in then let me know.
Thanks!
Isa

Nyx
Jan 23rd, 2009, 03:09 PM
if all of these accusations are true, is the answer but I am not sure that the good of that would outweigh the good of having a non-hydrogenated alternative to butter. "

-I have to say, regardless of whether EB is bad for the environment or not, this statement pissed me off. It's not necessary to use margarine.

Nyx
Jan 23rd, 2009, 03:10 PM
if all of these accusations are true, is the answer but I am not sure that the good of that would outweigh the good of having a non-hydrogenated alternative to butter. "

-I have to say, regardless of whether EB is bad for the environment or not, this statement pissed me off. It's not necessary to use margarine.

Risker
Jan 23rd, 2009, 04:30 PM
-I have to say, regardless of whether EB is bad for the environment or not, this statement pissed me off. It's not necessary to use margarine.

It's not necessary to use alot of foods, eating purely for nutrition would be sad.

I've no idea why she mentioned hydrogenation though, that has nothing to do with the issues you mentioned as far as I'm aware.

Nyx
Jan 23rd, 2009, 05:21 PM
It's not necessary to use alot of foods, eating purely for nutrition would be sad.

Yes it would. But on the other hand, eating for pleasure because of an over abundance of food makes me sad because I think about all the people who are starving and don't even have enough food to sustain themselves, let alone eat it just for pleasure. Of course there is also eating "bad" foods for pleasure (e.g. sugary cupcakes) which have pretty much no nutritional value and wasted energy and resources to make. Yes I'm a pessimist.:dizzy:

Also Risker, you're right. Strange for her to mention non-hydrogentated. I am guessing this is because it provoked a question in herself as to why then, she should use earth balance (if this turns out to be true) and came up with, "But there are no other "healthy" alternatives!"

Quantum Mechanic
Jan 23rd, 2009, 06:08 PM
Well, my dad rarely cooks with margarine/butter anyway, and I like olive oil and sundried tomatoes on bread, but some situations I wonder where it would be replaced with? I mean, as in when making brownies, how would you coat the dish that it's in so it doesn't stick?

Nyx
Jan 23rd, 2009, 09:15 PM
Oh, I've always used oil when coating my pans for baking. Also you can use coconut butter to line pans. It has NO real flavour and works like a charm (this is assuming you aren't allergic). I also have a butter free brownie recipe on my blog. You can easily take out the "gf flours" and replace with regular flour I'm sure. Play around with the recipe if you'd like. I've noticed putting more coconut butter in it, makes it denser, softer, yummier.

http://feedingthekat.wordpress.com/2008/09/27/coconut-brownies/