I consider myself an ovo-lacto vegetarian since I see no problem using animal products like milk, eggs, and honey.  That being said, I do want to use only products from animals that are treated decently and raised in an ecologically sound manner.  I buy eggs from a neighbor who raises chickens, so I know how the animals are treated and how "green" they are.  Dairy products are another matter.  I don't know anyone with a cow :).  I have used Smart Balance products but noticed that they contain a small amount of whey.  Is there a good vegan "butter" on the market that anyone would recommend?

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The most common one out there is Earth Balance, which is made by the same company as Smart Balance.
I love Earth Balance! It is the best vegan imitation of butter, better than most margarine and vegetable oils.
Earth Balance..unlike Smart Balance, this reacts like real butter for all your cooking/flavoring needs, and contains no whey or other animal products, AFAIK.

Also, I am vegan, unless I can find products that are organic, free range, cruelty free, raw and local. This means I'm pretty much vegan all the time!

Where do you live? There are, in most states, raw, happy cow, milk networks...look here for suppliers. Not a complete list, but it can get you pointed in the right directions.
That would be called margarine... :)

Margarines come in all varieties of course, problem is they are all made from hydrogenated vegetable oils. Hydrogenation of oils which are supposed to be liquid is NEVER good.

Also, 80 of margarines contain lactoserum or whey, which margarine MANUFACTURERS use to make their product taste more like... butter

So if you don't want to buy butter, you're better off simply finding a nice organic olive oil and eat like Italians, sprinkle you bread with olive oil. You can also make yourself a bottle of flavoured olive oil, which adds a nice twist. This is where the Bruschetta concept started, a nice slice, a little oil, some chopped tomato/onion/parsley and voila.

Italians will often sprinkle oil and vinegar in a plate and 'dip'. (with bread or veggies)
I do know the difference between butter and margarine. I do read labels and I do avoid trans fats, AKA hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Just because it is a "margarine," doesn't mean it is necessarily bad. Smart Balance has only good oils like olive and canola in it, and no trans fats, but it does have a tiny amount of whey. That's why I asked if anyone knew of a vegan butter substitute that had no whey. I bake a lot and a person cannot use olive oil in place of butter for baking, although I do use olive oil a lot for other cooking.
It doesn't matter which oils they use, once the oils are solid at room temperature THEY HAVE BEEN hydrogenated (except for palm oil, which most nutritionists consider unhealthy due to its... saturation)

It doesn't matter that SMART BALANCE does not use the word margarine in their marketing plan, they are still a margarine.

Butter is a saturated animal fat and margarine is a saturated vegetable oil. There is no getting around this. It does not matter that some companies market their product as a "spread". That's just advertising made to convince people to buy 'their' product over competitors.

This from the Smart Balance website:
Full hydrogenation and interesterification, two separate chemical processes using heated oil with a metal catalyst which saturate the fat with hydrogen so that trans fats can't be formed

The ingredients list they print on containers conveniently omits to state that they are hydrogenated too. Yes trans fats are the worst form 'manufactured' fats, but any hydrogenation is only a small step down from trans.

No oils should be hydrogenated.

The same difference when speaking of shortening... shortening is an imitation of lard, done by... hydrogenation.

Don't let yourself be fooled by misleading advertising.
You may be right about trans fats. I have read that you should not re-use cooking oil because the heat of frying hydrogenates it.

Smart Balance at room temp is quite soupy. I looked on the Smart Balance website and did not find exactly what you quoted above, which seems to be a definition, rather than an ingredients list. I found the following regarding the 67% oil Smart Balance spread:

"Ideal for cooking and baking as well as table use, our signature Spread’s patented blend of vegetable oils helps you balance fats in your diet. Contains no hydrogenated oil or trans-fatty acids. This flavorful Spread also provides a favorable ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids (a 5.8 to 1 ratio)."

I do not think it would be legal for that company to claim no trans fats but include them anyway.
That was exactly my point. Their ingredient list isn't fully transparent. And they make it as difficult to search as possible by using a ridiculous little window that does not say much... I really dislike their site. It smacks of manipulation. Especially their nomenclature of "spread"; it is very deceiving.

Sorry I forgot to include the link to the quote:

To get to the exact quote I had to click the middle tab "health" and scroll down until the subtitle: What makes Smart Balance trans fat free? The quote is halfway in that paragraph.

Apparently from your quote and other readings on their site, to their own benefit, though they do hydrogenate, because it is 'full' hydrogenation, they do not consider it worth mentioning in the ingredients... (rolleyes) at their deviousness. ! :)
About.com has a page (link below) from which I quote: "When liquid vegetable oil is fully hydrogenated, however, almost no trans fats remain. The resulting fat is even more solid, taking on a hard, waxy consistency, even at room temperature. Full hydrogenation increases the amount of saturated fat, although much of it is in the form of stearic acid, which is converted by the body to oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, which doesn't raise levels of bad cholesterol. This makes fully hydrogenated fats less harmful than partially hydrogenated fats."

Well the science of that is not cut and dry. There is still much debate on that topic.

Not withstanding the fact that a naturally occurring monounsaturate (nuts, avocado, etc) will have a different conformation that one occurring from a non naturally fully hydrogenated vegetable oil...

And yes most nutritionists do encourage us to consume these nuts and avocado, but in very limited quantities.

I'd say we've reached the edge of the actual knowledge on this topic, so my parting word is: I stick with 'real' butter and 'real' oil. I cannot condone manufactured foodstuffs.

I wish you much success in your baking projects. Personally, I very rarely bake, because I stay away from flours and their resulting products too... I don't digest these very well. They cause me heartburn.
I've been learing to substitute olive oil for most other fats and oils. Even for baking, I use olive oil in pie crust and in breads. An oil crust is challenging to learn, but once you get used to it, it's still pretty good. It's a different flavor, but I think it's a good flavor. For pies, if they call for butter in the filling, I use olive oil and add some butter flavoring. I also use olive oil in place of butter for making crepes.

The place where it is difficult, is for actual eating butter - like on pancakes. For that I use Parkay Squeeze - looks like there's no whey in that. I won't claim that it's health food, but I do like it on pancakes, corn on the cob, and those crepes. The down side, for me, is some stores dont carry it, or it's hard to find.
I'm lactose intolerant. This means I can eat butter, because it's 100% fat and 0% carbohydrate (which is lactose).

I got interested in the science of margarine, and all its misnomers, only after becoming lactose intolerant.

Parkay, just like Smart Balance, has many different products, some have lactose, and/or whey, and/or lactoserum. I've stayed at friends' homes who used Parkay in their recipes, unbeknownst to me, and I had an intense 'episode'. So I asked if they had used butter or margarine in the recipe, upon learning, I checked the ingredients, and sure enough, there was my nemesis.

The point is really, you've got to read ALL the ingredients ALL THE TIME. Every manufacturer uses different ingredients in different products.

It is a unique aspect of vegetarianism I have always disliked, the propensity with manufacturing imitations of animal byproducts which can be produced without manufacturing (butter and cheese are easily accomplished at home by hand). Ah but the worst is imitation bacon, ick!

The 10 years I was ovo-lacto-vegetarian (before my lactose intolerance) I insisted on being a NON manufactured vegetarian, foods which could occur naturally.


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