Sneaky Non-Vegan Foods
If you’re following a vegan diet, the obvious foods to avoid include ones that come from an animal: milk, meat, poultry, cheese, eggs, fish, yogurt, etc. Sounds self-explanatory, right? But what about those foods that don’t scream “vegan!” at first sight? If you’re going to go completely meat-free, it’s important to be aware of some of these foods that have animal by-products lurking in the ingredient list.
Wine and beer – Some wines and beers are made using a product called isinglass, which comes from fish, or bone char. Although there is no animal ingredient in the final beverage, you might not want your glass of vino even touching those animal products. Buyer beware: Not all wines and beers that do use animal products even list it on the label.
Soy cheese – Soy cheese sounds like it’d be completely dairy free, when in fact many varieties contain casein, which is a milk protein that helps the cheese melt. It’s hard to find a great, gooey, melty cheese that is also vegan, but I’ve scoured the grocery store shelves and my current favorite is Daiya Vegan Cheese.
“Vegetarian” dishes – Don’t go into a restaurant to order a vegetable noodle dish, or bean based soup thinking you’re completely in the clear of any animal ingredients. Oftentimes restaurants will use beef or chicken broth as a base to many foods, even those listed as vegetarian! Ask before you order to be sure.
Sweets made with gelatin – I love chewy fruity snacks more than I love chocolate, but I was not pleased to find many (like Starburst, and gum with a hard shell) contain gelatin. Marshmallows and Jell-o contain gelatin, too. I can’t say I’ve ever tried these brands, but if you want some s’mores for this summer’s campfires, try Sweet & Sara or Dandies vegan marshmallows, which get great reviews.
Gel-cap medications – Did you know that anything “gel-cap” contains gelatin? Yikes! Look for non-gel-cap versions of the medication you’re prescribed and speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Have you found any animal product-containing foods you once thought were vegan?