Good News for vegans

In his latest column, Robert Kirby lists numerous parties who have (or should have) grievances with the church. He’s looking for someone to replace gays who, despite email rumors to the contrary, won’t be protesting outside General Conference next weekend. Among the aggrieved parties are vegans [emphasis mine]:

Vegans should have a real bone to pick — oh, sorry — with the LDS church. Mormons are serious carnivores. The church owns huge welfare farms including some with cows. The bread we use in our Sacrament is made with real dairy products.

And that got me thinking, here’s the perfect idea for a post that will helpfully provide conservatives with link fodder for showing how nutty the liberal wing* of BCC is–a post that wails, “What about the vegans? Will no one think of the vegans!!!”

So, what about the vegans? Does BCC have any vegan readers? (How embarrassing for us if we don’t. Quick, someone at least pretend!) I imagine that requests for vegan-friendly sacrament bread may be received with more than a little eye-rolling in some wards’ deacons quorums. What about other dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free, any luck with requests there among our readers?

As LDS, we ought to have an abundance of empathy for those with uncommon dietary restrictions. Can those who bashfully inquire of waiters whether or not any actual wine (gasp!) was used in the preparation of the chef’s special Coq au Vin fairly cast aspersions at our vegan friends for demanding to know whether any butter was used to lubricate a frying pan behind the scenes? And let he who has never demanded a rock-solid money-back guarantee that the flambé will in fact consume all the alcohol in their dessert cast the first stone at someone who doesn’t want a stray shred of Parmesan in their Caesar salad. Don’t get me started on how much time it takes to get a definitive ruling from Taco Bell personnel regarding the presence or absence of caffeine in their lemonade (“Lipton Brisk” lemonade = YES, it contains caffeine). We have Amri to tell us the etiquette of not drinking at a bar, and they have Chic Vegan to tell them, “When eating at a friend or relatives house, do not expect them to make anything special for you to eat. They probably will, but if you don’t get your hopes up, you won’t be disappointed.” (PS: thank you, Chic Vegan, for supplying the butter and salad cheese examples)

Well, Good News for vegans! Using my years of Mormony experience in investigating ingredients of various food items, I have uncovered the following: Wonder Bread-based sacrament? 100% vegan! Oh, yes. Wonder Bread is vegan. So covenant-renew up, vegans! You are in the clear.

* yes, BCC does have a conservative wing too

Bookmark Good News for vegans


  1. I am so proud to announce that yes, some of us think of the vegans. Some of us — okay, one of me — has a cousin who is a vegan with an entrepreneurial itch to satisfy the niche-market needs of other vegans. Specifically, she wants to sew leather-free outfits and provide other leather-free equipment to vegan dominatrixes.

    Now, if that isn’t as niche-y as vegan sacrament bread, I don’t know what is.

  2. In my grandmother’s ward in the Salt Lake area, there are people I presume cannot eat gluten because when the sacrament bread is passed around there’s a little baggie of some sort of rice cracker on the plate. When I’ve been there the presiding bishopric member reminds the congregation not to eat the special bread because it’s meant for certain members with dietary restrictions. I don’t know whether the members provide the special bread or if the person assigned to bring the sacrament bread does.

    Good call on the connection between members with special dietary restrictions and Mormons in general and our restrictions on what we can and cannot eat. Now that I’m a vegetarian, I’ll have more ammo for when my fellow Mormons look at me funny for not eating the ham at a funeral lunch.

  3. as far as special diets are concerned, the ward I grew up in had a lady that was very allergic to gluten. So each Sunday she brought a piece of gluten free bread, I think it was rice, wrapped in a piece of aluminum foil. Someone would put in in the appropriate bread tray depending on where she sat. Everyone just knew not to take her bread.

  4. #2 & #3 – We have the same situation with a member in our ward.

    If God had wanted us to abstain from meat, he wouldn’t have made animals taste so good. If he had wanted us to abstain from dairy products, he would have given Eve some Similac. If he had wanted us to be nudists, we wouldn’t have been born fully clothed.

    See how simple it is?

  5. I’m gluten free. That’s as close as I get.

  6. Ray has inspired me. I shall attend Ward Council meeting in the morning sans cravat.

  7. J. Nelson-Seawright’s cousin is a vegan.

  8. But does Wonder Bread cast a shadow?

    From “Lisa the Tree Hugger”

    “Lisa: Oh, the earth is the best! That’s why I’m a vegetarian.
    Jesse: Heh. Well, that’s a start.
    Lisa: Uh, well, I was thinking of going vegan.
    Jesse: I’m a level 5 vegan — I won’t eat anything that casts a shadow.”

  9. So nobody is going to dispute my implicit claims that Mormons are required to drink caffeine-free lemonade, not eat chicken cooked in red wine, and use the One True Bread, WonderBread, in the Sacrament?

  10. Steve Fleming says:

    Our ward in Santa Barbara, CA, had a Christmas dinner with vegetarian and non-vegetarian plates.

  11. Ardis, can I have your cousin’s e-mail address for my – uh – cousin! ?

  12. What does Level 5 veganism portend for vampires then? They cast no reflections and have no shadows. Must dear Edward take caution around vegans, too?

  13. Interesting. I never knew Wonder Bread was vegan. I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian. Here in California, I don’t have much trouble finding stuff to eat at ward activities. When I was on my mission, however, I ended up eating a lot of salad and dinner rolls. (I was the first vegetarian many of them had ever met.)

  14. Not exactly a dietary condition but an odd sacrament request. Growing up we had a guy who wouldn’t drink cold water. I was a deacon at the time but I think he fell in a river a child and had a fear or something…not 100% on that. The Teachers would put in one cup of hot water in the tray and circle the rim with a red permanent marker. Like #3 everyone just knew not to take it.

  15. A few of my daughters have drifted in and out of various levels of veganism. And, yes, we have gluten-intolerant folks in our ward, so one of the sacrament bread trays has a small dish of gluten-free bread.

    On the other hand, when I was a freshman at BYU and living in Deseret Towers, we would be served steaks (or, at least, cuts of cow meat with bones in them) in the cafeteria from time to time. I always availed myself of the ‘rare’ bin. My RA, Ray Smith from Ely, Nevada — from a rancher’s family — once saw me sit down at the table with such a steak and drawled, “I’ve seen meat hurt worse than that get up and walk away.” I smiled, cut in, and ate. ..bruce..

  16. By the way, my homemade bread is usually vegan (depends on what I use to grease the bread pans, and whether I use an egg wash on the top of the loaves). Though I like to pretend the little yeasties are animal rather than vegetable (“Yea! Water! Yum! Sugar! [bubble, bubble] Oh noes, it’s the giant hands of doom!”)

    As for my current dietary habits — well, this should answer those questions. ..bruce..

  17. I have no chance with my son and some of his friends. They made this a couple of weeks ago – and ate it:

  18. Ray:

    I saw that on the ‘net months ago, and decided that it exceeds even my carnivore leanings (though the idea of a bacon weave is fascinating).

    So…how was it? ..bruce..

  19. Cynthia L. says:

    Ray, Bruce: has either of you ever attempted turducken?

  20. I am interested in how those of you who have less wheat or other restrictions brought this to the attention of those in charge of the sacrament. I live in a huge ward, and it seems more than reasonable to expect that at least one person in the congregation has some similar problem, and it simply hasn’t been brought up before. Did you just mention it to the priests once, or did you get approval from the bishopric? Do you think it would be appropriate for a bishopric to request information regarding these things for new move-ins?

  21. I want to know what kind of vegan can eat Caesar salad, sans parmesan or not! Caesar salad has anchovies AND egg yolks, and there is no other way to do it and have it still be a caesar salad.

    Ardis, I beleive that is the niche of all niches!

  22. esodhiambo says:

    I was a vegetarian for some time, and I know of no other issue Mormons are more defensive about. I never said anything about it, but I was regularly lectured on how appropriate it actually was to eat meat.

    We once had a vegetarian Stake president. HE put an end to the YMs favorite recurring activity: Meat Night.

    If I had any reason I could not take the provided Sacrament Bread, I would provide my own. It doesn’t seem it would be that big a deal.

  23. Karen H. says:

    Ardis, I love niche businesses. Down the street from me there is a store called “Parrots, Parrots, Parrots, just Parrots” Not only is their sign informative, it’s strident as well!!

    I think it’s great that some wards put gluten free bread on the sacrament tray. It’s really thoughtful of people who are on very restrictive diets and can get pretty sick with even a small piece of bread.

  24. Cynthia L. says:

    #21–heh, glad you caught that, Tracy. That was a little joke to myself. :-) I know Parmesan sprinkles are the least of the Caesar Salad’s vegan problems, but even I didn’t have anchovies in mind. Blech! No wonder I’ve never been a fan of Caesar Salads.

  25. #19 – Um, no, Cynthia. I didn’t eat of the bacon explosion, either; they made it at my non-biological son’s house. Neither option is one my body is likely to appreciate.

  26. Ray, Bruce: has either of you ever attempted turducken?

    Nope, and if I ever do, I will buy one prepared. Removing the bones from three different birds is more work than I care for. My BBQs are simple compared to that. :-) ..bruce..

  27. StillConfused says:

    I am lactose intolerant and extremely sensitive to refined sugars. I can recall being in a particularly sensitive time in my life and not able to eat white bread. So I only took the water not the bread. I was chastised and told I could not take one and not the other. So I didn’t take either.

  28. I’m pretty sure Sam has made a turducken.

    And I always thought Lipton Brisk Lemonade was black tea with lemonade. Is that not true?

    When I was a teenager, my pious little brother accused me of breaking the Word of Wisdom bc I loved Arby’s Jamocha shakes. We asked the kids who worked there and they spent a good 45 minutes trying to show us what exactly was in the shake. It’s funny that I can’t even remember what we discovered but I didn’t stop drinking them.

    I’m sorry that that has nothing to do with vegans, Lord love you.

  29. I haven’t actually dealt with the gluten-containing sacrament bread yet, because my kids are young enough that they don’t have a clue what the sacrament is (when we even make it in for the sacrament), so I just give them their own food at the same time (to distract them from trying to take food they can’t have). My plans for the future are to bring gluten-free bread (in a plastic bag, like someone else said, since if it’s with the other bread it will get gluten on it) every week that can be blessed with the rest of the sacrament bread and that my kids can have. I’m sure I will talk both with the bishop and with the YM pres about it, and anyone else that they would like me to as well.

    On a side note, food allergies can also create problems in nursery. People aren’t always happy about having to give the kids specific things, but I’ve mostly gotten around any resentment by providing all the nursery snacks. That way I know they’re safe for my kids, and no one else feels put upon.

  30. #28. Turducken sounds cooler than it tastes (and they cost $80). Alligator, though, barbecued with a nice cajun rub, is outstanding.
    Is there a kind of Vegan that refuses to eat things that aren’t real? Because then this whole wonderbread discovery would be in vain.

  31. I am vegan. All of my family has been vegetarian at some point, 4 of us are now vegan. It has not been socially easy, let me tell you. It’s funny. Food is such an intimately personal thing… people react in strange ways to those who have radically different views on the subject. I’m not a nazi about it. I’m actually pretty chill and ok with people having different opinions. But I have more than a couple ridiculous stories…

    Anyway, I find it interesting that you don’t even allude to the contradictions between popular American Mormon culture and the doctrine we profess to believe in as written in the scriptures, spoken by prophets, and sung as hymns.

    I’ve written about this at length here.

  32. Mark, thanks for being ok with us having different opinions even though those opinions are contradictions with scriptures, prophets and hymns. ‘Preciate it.

  33. Ray,

    We made one of those, too. It was delicious. :)

  34. Amri, the Lipton Brisk lemonade is just like regular soda machine lemonade, except that it has caffeine, which is unusual for soda machine lemonades. However, Lipton does have a whole line of soda machine offerings in its partnership with Pepsico, and most of them are tea-based. Here is the full lineup, you can see there are teas with lemon, and then several varieties of lemonade. There is actually a Lipton Brisk caffeine-free lemonade product in addition to the caffeine version. The mind boggles!

  35. I dated a vegan once, does that count? On our first date, I took her to “Hungry Hunter Steakhouse” where I dined on cow and she dined on a tasty vegan dish. Needless to say, our relationship ended abruptly. I think it had something to do with me not knowing what the word “vegan” meant.

    Anyhow, we only want to save the cute animals. Otters are protected. Cows? Baseball gloves and steaks. Need I say more?

  36. You’re welcome, Cynthia.


  37. Fireball says:

    #20 – I am gluten free, and for a few years I just took the regular sacrament bread and dealt with the consequences. It wasn’t until I found out that a 4 year old in our ward also suffered from gluten intolerance that I mustered the courage to talk to the bishop about it. I started bringing bread for the two of us every week, and it’s no big deal. I’m glad I spoke up – no more Sunday afternoon stomach aches!

    Another ward in our stake does it differently – they have everyone suffer with the gluten free bread for just because a couple of people need it. And they use the nastiest GF bread ever. The bread we use isn’t too bad, but the one they use is like eating chalk.

  38. I am gluten intolerant, and it has never been a problem in any of the wards I have attended. I just go to the priests and/or the YM leaders and explain that I have a gluten free bread I have to use for the sacrament, and I will bring it with me every week.

    There has never been any question at all about it. Usually it is left in the plastic wrap or they will put it in one of the water cups.

    This system works very well for me and for others I know who have dietary restrictions.

    #37 – I would be very reluctant to inflict my bread on others on a ward scale. It is so much easier to just bring a bit myself.

  39. Our ward has a lot of gluten free people (it seems to run in families). There is one deacon who goes around to the families with the gluten intolerance and passes them the gluten free bread. It has it’s own tray. They use a plastic tray for that and the regular bread is in metal trays.

    Dunno about vegans. I guess I always though bread was vegan. Thankfully the water is vegan.

  40. My SIL was a vegan for about 5 years –but she’s now just vegetarian (eats dairy and fish). Her sister (my other SIL) has been a vegetarian for about 10 years, and my cousin won’t eat beef (for about 20 years?). Our best friends decided about four years ago to become vegetarian (their children are young, like ours) and hoo-boy! You should have seen the lectures they got from family. It was actually pretty sad.

    As for me (and my family), I’m so glad they are vegetarian (and had been vegan)! Because of them I have been introduced to some of the best foods ever (Indian, Thai, etc.). In fact, I lean more towards vegetarianism, although I still eat meat sparingly (wait…where did I hear that phrase, once? ;) ). But I have no idea if I could be an exclusive vegetarian. I’m such a hard-nosed moderate (is there such a thing?) that I doubt I could swing it either way (for example, meat lover’s pizza is so gross to me now, but chicken is divine).

    Oh, and since my SIL wasn’t active while she was a vegan, the Sacrament was never an issue…

  41. A couple of thoughts —

    First, coincidentally, today after Church we had a couple of families in our ward over for a vegan Sunday dinner. I’ve been vegetarian for some time, and one of the families asked me how to get enough protein, so my wife and I prepared a bunch of vegan protein-rich dishes: Barbecued Tempeh Fingers, Tofu ricotta Lasagne, Wild Rice Salad (wild rice, dried cranberries, soaked sunflower seeds, and avocados tossed with a tamari-lemon dressing), Sea Greens with Tofu, Quinoa and Blue Corn Cornbread, and Tofu Lemon Cheesecake with Blood Orange Glaze. I wouldn’t try the cheesecake recipe again, but everything else will easily end up on our normal Sunday dinner rotations.

    Second, as to a few of the other comments:

    When it comes to turducken, I get what the first half is, but what is an “ucken”? Still not sure why meat eaters like that first half, but different strokes, I guess.

  42. Greenfrog—

    cken = chicken. Chicken + Duck + Turkey = Turducken.

  43. Awesome, greenfrog. Thank you so much for the report.

  44. What does Level 5 veganism portend for vampires then? They cast no reflections and have no shadows. Must dear Edward take caution around vegans, too?

    Uh, no. Edward casts a shadow, has a reflection and is visible on photographs.

  45. MCQ, are you the bloggernacle’s token male Twilight fan? Awesome.

  46. The Catholic Church has had some issues surrounding gluten allergies as well. They had a local bishop here come down and basically say if it ain’t got gluten, it ain’t the Body of Christ. So, no market in gluten-free host, at least in the St. Louis area.

    When I was growing up, we had a bizzare family in the ward who owned a health food store, wouldn’t touch sugar, and practiced homeschooing and homebirthing (babies were delivered at home with the rest of the kids looking on). They once raised a stink about how the Sacrament bread was always white, and that stuff was toxic, and by using Wonder Bread in the sacrament, the Church was saying it was okay to eat a diet full of toxins and poisons and renewing your baptismal covenants shouldn’t put you at risk of colon cancer. The bishop told them they could bring the bread. So, we got these really weird samples from their store – flaxseed, oat, caraway, black bread, rye bread, you name it. Some of it wasn’t bad, some was just nasty, and some left the little kids crying and coughing. These were the same folks who tried to tell everyone that if you had grass in your yard instead of vegetables, you were in violation of the Word of Wisdom.

    Just goes to show that you can take anything too far.

  47. Interesting, Michael, I was wondering about the Catholics when I was writing this. Sounds like I agree with many of the hobbies and preferences of the that family in your ward, though their attitude seems a bit off.

    Oddest sacrament bread I’ve ever had: jalapeno bagel. And not just a hint a jalapeno. People were crying and it wasn’t just from the Spirit.

  48. I do not think I could be vegan, just the possibility of developing manboobs from the soy is enough to keep me away.

  49. #9 – I’ve got a bottle of red wine in my fridge right now. You just can’t make a good ragu without it.

    But I wouldn’t buy anything made by Lipton, just to be safe.

    So you can see how sensible I am.

  50. “…if it ain’t got gluten, it ain’t the Body of Christ.”

    I can die now. It is well enough for me.

  51. This is obnoxious.

  52. Steve Evans says:

    Preach it Angie M! So succinct.

%d bloggers like this: