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Tapioca Pudding, Take 1

Posted by tinako on July 16, 2010

Pasta Verdura and Apple Wheat Roll

Dinner was Pasta Verdura with whole wheat fusili, garlic, red pepper flakes, the last little bit of some Tomato Coulis, red wine, and zucchini and collards from my garden.  We also had Apple Wheat Rolls, and salad with lettuce, sweet peppers, raw shredded beet, and Maple Balsamic Dressing.

I wanted to make a dessert that wouldn’t heat up the kitchen, so I dug out some Minute Tapioca I’ve had since before I went vegan.  Here is my first attempt at making Tapioca Pudding [update: I’ve figured out how to do it and the recipe link now reflects that].  I couldn’t find vegan directions online for this kind of tapioca, only people saying it could be easily done.  I used a blend of almond and soy milk.  I cooked it first with no cornstarch and that didn’t work at all.  I added 1 T cornstarch mixed in a little cold water and reboiled it.  It didn’t set well, but it still tasted good, and my kids loved it.

Tapioca is vegan, a starch from a root, and Minute Tapioca is just precooked and dried, the only other ingredient in it being soy lecithin, which is natural enough that I keep a bag of it in my cupboard.

To compare, here is the ingredients list from pudding my kids made last weekend, and with which I had nothing to do:

  • Modified Cornstarch,
  • Maltodextrin,
  • Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate
  • Disodium Phosphate,
  • Natural Flavor,
  • Artificial Flavor,
  • Salt,
  • Calcium Sulfate,
  • Xanthan Gum,
  • Monoglycerides,
  • Diglycerides,
  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame Potassium,
  • Tetrapotassium Pyrophosphate,
  • Dipotassium Phosphate,
  • Yellow 5,
  • Yellow 6,
  • Artificial Color,
  • BHA.

Speaking of imitation food, I looked in the fridge this afternoon and found Diet Cherry 7-Up Antioxidant Soda.  Wow, antioxidants, those are the good things in fruits and vegetables, right?  It must be some super cancer-fighting elixir, and of course it will count as a serving of fruit.

Here’s the promotion: “100% natural flavors. Naturally flavored cherry soda with other natural flavors. With 10% of your daily recommended amount of the Antioxidant vitamin E, Diet Cherry 7Up Antioxidant is a delicious way to cherry pick your antioxidant.”  Do you have the sense that you’re getting antioxidants from the cherry juice in this product?  Maybe you even think it’s carbonated cherry juice (that would probably be good!).  From the marketing, does this seem like a healthy choice?

Here’s the ugly truth: “Contains No Juice.”  “Ingredients: Filtered Carbonated Water and Contains 2% or Less of each of the Following:

  • Citric Acid,
  • Natural Flavors,
  • Potassium Benzoate,
  • Aspartame,
  • Potassium Citrate,
  • Acesulfame Potassium,
  • Vitamin E Acetate,
  • Red 40.”

So the one antioxidant, vitamin E, is a supplement, a pill, added to the drink, and having nothing to do with cherries or their natural flavors.  Most of what I’ve read indicates that taking supplements outside the context of a healthy diet is pretty useless.  So enjoy your pop.  But it’s not health food.


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