Insight: 10 Foods You Thought were Part of the Vegan Diet
Is bread vegan? What about ice cream, beer and chocolate? Think twice if you plan to go 100% vegan. Not all cruelty-free diets are vegan approved. Do not worry though, these are common mistakes that new vegans make (even long-time vegans!) Even the supplements you take might not be vegan approved.
Sometimes it can be hard to follow a 100% strict vegan diet especially if you do not live in a bubble (which we all don’t!). Although we are in a “lockdown” as of the moment, we will still be faced with circumstances that make us “unconsciously” choose the non-vegan option. So, do not be hard on yourself especially when it comes to diet. Life is not perfect. Going vegan doesn’t mean that you have to be 100% perfect in your daily routine as a vegan. Veganism is a healthy lifestyle and should be enjoyable at the very core of it. The fact is, no one can really go 100%. But you can get close to 99% with your conscious efforts.
You can go all strict about your vegan diet and your lifestyle and always read the label every time you put something in your mouth. You can analyze every bit of food and product that you purchase. Every time you “miss the mark” you can punish yourself. OR the second option is for you not to go hard on yourself but enjoy your vegan journey. If you commit a mistake, learn from it and try your best not to do it again in the future.
The key here is that as long as you actively and consciously eliminate the major food groups that are non-vegan friendly then you have done veganism justice. So, do not carry that heavy burden in your shoulder in trying to achieve an impossible feat but enjoy the vegan diet journey and be proud of your achievements in your vegan diet.
That said, here are some non-vegan friendly foods that you thought are vegan approved:
- Chocolate - Cocoa by itself is vegan. But most chocolate bars have either milk in them. Many chocolate brands are vegan but check ingredient listings if they have whey or casein. If it does, it's not 100% vegan. Dark chocolate is the best option for vegans. If you are not a fan of the super dark flavor of the cocoa, you can choose chocolate bars with almonds, mint or dried fruits. Caramel, peanut butter, toffee filled chocolates are not vegan because of the dairy content.
Veggie Cheese Slices - cheese slices can be deceiving. Some marketing tactics say “vegan cheese” when in fact if you read the fineprint of the ingredients, flavoring comes from animal milk products. But do not lose hope, Galaxy Foods have 100% vegan cheese slices.
Beer and Wine - At first glance, beer and wine should be automatically vegan. Think again! There are some fining agents used by breweries that make the beer non-vegan diet-friendly. The added flavor will make the beer non-vegan. An example is honey lemon-flavored beer. The good thing though for vegans is that we have Barnivore.com that has more than 50,000 beers and wines graded as vegan or non-vegan friendly.
Red Dye - If you are drinking red soda you’d better stop. It might be made out of red dye, or carmine which is a bug juice. Do not worry. It is totally safe to drink. It is made from tiny parasitic insects.
Some Dry-Roasted Nuts - Peanuts are the go to snacks of vegans. THey are packed with protein and fat that the body needs. Salted peanuts are not always vegan. Planters Dry ROasted Peanuts are not vegan friendly. Listed among the ingredients is gelatin. Gelatin is used as an adhesive for the spices to stick to the peanut. Tasty peanut butter spread can be your best option for peanuts.
Bonus FYI: Almonds might not be the best alternative as well. Almonds require honey bees for pollination. Without bees there would be no almonds.
Non-Dairy Creamer - If you think non dairy creamers are truly part of the vegan diet then think again. They contain casein or sodium caseinate which are both derived from animal milk. Coffeemate is one product which uses casein.
Gummy Bears and Marshmallows - Both are made of gelatin which is derived from animal bones and tissue. If you go on your next grocery run, avoid the cand aisle altogether. It is a minefield of non-vegan products. On a good note: Skittles have now switched to vegan gelatin. Petakids has quite a list of candies and snacks for kids and adults alike who have a sweet tooth. Among the sweets include Atomic Fireballs, Big League Chew, Root Beer Barrels and a whole lot more. Go ahead, click on this candy link to fulfill that craving!
White Sugar - white sugar has animal bone char. You read it right! Animal bone char. Sugar comes from sugar canes (plant) but the refining process to get rid of the impurities needs animal bone char.
Orange Juice - brands like Tropicana are not really vegan friendly. They contain omega 3 fatty acids which come from either tilapia or sardines. To stay true to your vegan diet, stick to freshly squeezed juice, have the 100% juice label or better yet have your own juicer at home.
Potato Chips - Although potato chips are made from potato, most flavored potatoes contain chicken fat. Vegetarians can get a little lax especially when it comes to tasty potato snacks. But think again!
The list can go on and on! Worcestershire sauce, pesto, figs, non-organic banana and a whole lot more.
Well, unless you live in a vegan bubble where all suppliers, groceries, shopping malls offer truly vegan products, then your mantra should be to live within the bounds of a reasonable vegan life being as cruelty free as much as possible. Do not despair, there are tons of vegan friendly stores that have taken the mainstream light. Let’s be aware of what we eat and live life to the fullest!