Vegemite

Vegemite

There are 3 ‘V’ words that can cause instant controversy, alienation and uproar in any conversation or social media post. Just the mention of any of these words can cause the conversation to change from a dialogue between two sane, rational adults to a monologue or riteousness. So I have avoided these words or subjects in any form on my page.   UNTIL NOW.

The 3 words I am talking about are:

Vaccinations, Vaginas & Vegemite.

Today I am going to tackle the most controversial of the 3:

VEGEMITE!!!

Responses I am expecting:

  • WTF?? How can you go there? It’s vegemite!!!  (I’m sorry but it’s time to talk about it) 
  • You have pushed this one step too far now – leave vegemite alone  (I’d like to but I keep being asked about it.) 
  • Consider yourself UN-liked, UN-followed and UN-respected. (Okay – do what you feel you need to do here) 
  • There goes that anti vegemite woman she does not know anything (Okay if you say so) 
  • You are UN-Australian and unpatriotic – please leave this country. (Well we are certainly good at getting people to do this here in Australia) 
  • I grew up on it and I’m fine (Are you? Do you have any gut issues? Most people do and additives can be one of the reasons) 
  • It’s good for you – the adds say so (Adds also told us that Alpine cigarettes could make us ski down mountains faster) 
  • But it has B vitamins (They are synthetic and not absorbed in the same way of normal vitamins are from real food) 
  • But it’s found in the health food section (so is a whole range of packet food that is full of shit) 
  • But it makes us as bright as bright can be (yes fake caramel colour will do that – I call it a rash) 
  • But we ALL enjoy our vegemite for breakfast lunch and tea!!! (okay now you are just singing the commercial) 

Noooooooo…….Stop just stop.

“Oh please don’t tell me what the nasties are… I am playing ostrich on this one and keeping my head firmly in the sand”

Okay –  If this is you and you want to be an ostrich – absolutely no problems. This is your ‘you are free to leave this post now, walk away and never look back’ pass.   Stop reading now if you don’t want to know. I’m not forcing you to read.

Nor am I telling you not to feed your kids vegemite. They are your kids. Your choice. Your rules. I am not writing this post as a doctor, as a nutritionist or as anything but a mother who runs a page and is continually asked about vegemite.

I will tell you what I have chosen for my family and why I will not allow vegemite in my house or my kids to eat it. I realise that even discussing this will cause people to leave my page thinking I’m extreme and a whole range of other negative labels. But here goes anyway…

Vegemite – the low down and why I will not let my kids eat it.

Firstly I don’t feed my kids additives and chemicals that affect their brain and immune function where I can avoid it. Especially foods that contain additives that are cautioned in foods for infants. How many babies do you see being fed vegemite on a cracker? Babies palates are developing and so are the cells in their taste buds.

By feeding babies products like vegemite or vegemite equivalents it will make it far harder for you later on to get their palates used to real whole foods as they develop a strong taste for salt, sugar and chemicals and real food will not taste like this and will be rejected. I have seen so many kids addicted to vegemite who are fed it daily and then their parents tell me they are having trouble getting veggies and whole foods into them. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

I decided that vegemite was not going to be something I fed my kids from an early age. Yes they have tried it many times and yes they like it and their dad has found it the hardest thing to let go of feeding them and still does.  The main reason for me choosing to remove vegemite from my house is the first ingredient here:

Ingredients:

  1. 150C (Caramel 111 – Artificial Colour Dark Brown to Black) This is what gives vegemite it’s black colour. 150C  is thought to be genetically modified is prepared from ammonia compounds is linked to gastrointestinal problems. liver problems and is recommended to be avoided in food for infants.  (Source – The Chemical Maze – Bill Statham) It’s also what they use to colour coca-cola.
  2. Flavours – ‘Flavours’ is made up of 48 chemicals including solvents and diactyls. We know that one additive may be safe at a certain amount but we don’t know when you mix many additives together what the safety ratio is. Cyndi O’Meara has some amazing research on her site Changing Habits on what is really in ‘flavours’  Flavours can also contain MSG and genetically modified ingredients. There are too many possible ingredients that are not divulged when you see the word ‘flavours’  I’m not willing to give this to my kids as they are sensitive to additives and MSG.
  3. Salt & 508 (potassium chloride) This is used as a gelling agent and is also prohibited in food for infants (Source – The Chemical Maze – Bill Stratham) saying excessive ingestion may result in gastric bleeding.  Even if your intake of vegemite is not excessive children do not need this much salt in their diet and their delicate guts can be so easily compromised and extra salt should be avoided while they are establishing a healthy palates for real foods.
  4. Yeast Extract – Okay this is the dicey one. Yeast extract is sometimes another name for MSG but Kraft claim the yeast extract is naturally occurring within vegemite and is not MSG. I’ve written to Kraft and asked them to elaborate because MSG can be naturally occurring in certain foods but they just keep responding with an automated response saying yeast extract does not contain MSG. Given there are not many natural foods in vegemite I remain confused how the yeast extract can be naturally occurring.  It is very hard to know what the truth is here. Here is the response from Kraft ‘MSG is not added to Vegemite, however the yeast extract used as an ingredient is known to contain naturally occurring glutamates. One type of glutamate is MSG (monosodium glutamate). Glutamates help to enhance the flavour of foods, and are found in a wide variety of foods – from meat, poultry, fish, cheese, milk, tomatoes and tomato pastes, mushrooms, many other vegetables, stocks, sauces and yeast extract.’ Vegemite will not confirm or rule out that there is no added MSG in the ‘flavours’ component of vegemite but categorically deny yeast extract is added MSG in this case despite it being so in so many other products. I have a child who is very sensitive to MSG in any form. Any time he has vegemite he goes wild. So either Kraft are telling the truth and that their yeast extract is MSG free but there is MSG in the ‘flavours’ component or they are not telling the truth and the yeast extract is MSG.  Remember there are many many different names for MSG so when Kraft carefully word statements like ‘our products contain no MSG whatsoever’ does not always mean it contains no added MSG – it just may be called something different that is not MSG but mimics all the chemistry and pathways of MSG without being actually called MSG.
  5. Vitamins: These are synthetic vitamins. They are not like vitamins that you get from eating fruit, vegetables or meat. They are not absorbed the same way within the body. When I read ‘The History of Vegemite’ recently I learnt that these vitamins were added purely for marketing as there was no ‘selling point’ without them. It was hard to get consumers to see any nutritional benefits from what was essentially a salt spread so adding fortified B vitamins was an easy and obvious marketing solution. Lets call a spade a spade though. Adding synthetic vitamins which the body does not utilise in the same way as normal vitamins does not make this a health food or a healthy product.

 

What’s wrong with a bit??

So the question I get asked alot ‘but what is wrong with a bit of vegemite?? I will rephrase that to ask ‘What is right with vegemite? What is nourishing about it? There is nothing in that ingredient list that has any nutritional value as far as I’m concerned and this is why I choose not to feed to my kids.

I don’t feed my kids coke that has been coloured black with caramel colouring and filled with refined sugar and I don’t feed my kids vegemite which has been coloured black with caramel colouring and filled with refined salt.  So do your own research. Make your own choices. Like everything in life. 🙂

Alternatives:

I have yet to find a supermarket alternative that is any better than vegemite. Even the Gluten Free ones. Even the organic ones. Even the Australian made ones. In fact some of these contain refined sugar and extra additives.

There is a beautiful product from a company called ‘Naked Treaties’ and they have a  vegemite alternative called ‘I am Mighty’  I does not taste exactly the same. How could it? But it is filled with nourishing ingredients and has a fairly similar taste, look and appearance. It took my boys a few weeks to get used to it but now they love it. Also some people have said using miso paste has worked for them.

Another newer alternative is Every Mite – (just google) again it does not taste the same but it’s a great alternative, packaged in glass and organic.

Anybody ever try a home made ‘vegemite?’ or have a brand that they want to discuss?

VEGEMITE FREE HOUSE

So these are my personal reasons for choosing to be a vegemite free house. These are some of our favourite spreads and alternatives for toast. Gorgeous 3 ingredient Jam – filled with nourishing beautiful ingredients and super simple to make. We also make our own Nourish Me Roasted Almond Butter – 2 ingredients and so yummy I always run out on the day I make it.

It’s okay to be different!

Just because every-one eats vegemite in our country does not mean that we can’t look objectively at the ingredients and decide if it is something you want to be feeding your family.

I have resisted posting about this for many months as I know the backlash that will come to dare to say anything against our ‘mighty Aussie Icon’ so again do your own research and make your own decisions.

I am not telling you what to do, simply sharing the reasons I have made this choice for my own family and we we are very proudly Australian AND a vegemite free zone.  Alisa 🙂

 

Vegemite Free Zone
Vegemite Free Zone

 

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20 thoughts on “Vegemite

  1. megan says:

    I have been having vegemite all of my life. Every Saturday morning I wake up have 2 pieces of toast with vegemite and a cuppa. Can’t get better than that.

  2. Vicky says:

    Great info and nice to know I’m doing the right thing by my kids by not giving them vegemite 🙂
    I do use a savoury yeast in place of it – have you used it?

  3. Erin says:

    Hi Alisa,
    My kids are addicted to vegemite. But eat very healthy otherwise. Where would I look for this “I am mighty” ?

  4. Nadia says:

    We find a traditionally fermented and unpasteurized Miso paste spread on toast a great alternative to Vegemite- has a similar flavor that we prefer better!

  5. Kirsten says:

    We use Omega Mite. Similar but milder in flavor. Was initially only available at our local farmers market but I believe they now supply to Coles nationwide (I think?)

  6. Mandy Jennings says:

    I do this one from a friend:
    1 1/2 cups black sesame seeds (I use black tahini)
    3/4 cup tamari
    3 tblsp nutritional yeast
    Blend until smooth

    We have never eaten vegemite but my kids love this

  7. Leah says:

    Thank you. It’s always hard going against a culture! Good on you for informing others anyway, we all need to support each other more and be open-minded to change.
    I don’t have Vegemite or give it to my 3 yr old son.

  8. Nora says:

    Thank you for this post. I always have a battle about vegemite with my hubby. I banned it and started my kids on miso paste, but always felt I was lacking reasons why the v stuff is bad for them. This is a great read.

  9. Denise says:

    I love all this information. I have just recently banned Vegemite in my house. I am looking for an alternative recipe that doesn’t include Sesame Seeds or Coconut Aminos. I have a child who is allergic to both of these.

  10. Lisa says:

    Very interesting to read. We have been using AussieMite as it has a lot less salt than vegemite and even the salt reduced vegemite which they claim is for kids. But I hadn’t considered that it still contains some of the coloring and preservatives as vegemite. Looking forward to trying your alternative suggestions!

  11. Tracey Sharp says:

    I only recently realised I will no longer eat vegemite or even dicksmiths ozemite as it contains yeast extract, and as a person with epilepsy I am intolerant to MSG in foods. Everyday I find something else I’m surprised is filled with MSG, glutamate, or “flavouring”. It sucks.

  12. Steph says:

    Thanks for writing this article.
    I believe, that years ago, many babies and toddlers got a spoonful of vegemite put into their mashed vegies so that they would eat it.

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