In the world of vegan choices, there are obvious things to avoid - steak, chicken, cheese, and eggs. Veggies, grains, tofu - all safe choices. But what about some other things? Is everything that is not meat safe?
In my travels into a vegan lifestyle, and cooking for clients with sensitivities to certain things (shellfish for example) I am learning of hidden "traps" we must be careful of in trying to be 100% vegan.
Gelatin - of course we know that this is made from hooves, but did you know that it is often a thickener in many things, including yogurts and chewing gum. But I don't do dairy, you say - read the label on the soy yogurts and sour creams. There are vegan alternatives, such as agar-agar, a seaweed gelatin. If you wish to make jello or anything that needs gelatin, check your local health food store for agar-agar.
Wine - grapes right? Sure but did you know that some wines are filtered using egg whites? Beer and other spirits can be filtered this way too. Vegan friendly wines can be found, such as:
Marks and Spencer. Most of their wines are vegetarian safe, with many vegan friendly as well.
Hardys Bin 7 Leasingham Riesling. You may need to ask per year.
Brown Brothers Again, a majority of the wines are vegan friendly, though it is best to ask per year.
Vegan beers can be found at:
Worcestershire sauce - contains anchovies! Caution. There are vegan options avaiable - just look for them in your food store or health food store.
Salad Dressings, Mayo - can contain eggs, anchovies, gelatin, and or dairy - stick to homemade dressings and vegan mayo
Sugar - bad for you anyway, but did you know that sugar can be filtered thru bone ash to remove the color? Choose a natural sugar, molasses or rice syrups to avoid this issue. Truvia for those watching glycemic levels.
Breads, breakfast bars and cereals - often contain milk and egg products
Pasta - fresh often contains eggs, though dried is usually safe
Margarines/butter spreads - often contain cassein - a milk derivative
‘Veggie’ burgers or sausages: many contain milk or eggs, including the Quorn brand which is never suitable for vegans
For a complete list of animal based ingredients to watch for check out
The bottom line is always read your labels, and cook from fresh ingredients as often as possible. If you accidently ingest a product that does have animal products - don't beat yourself up. Say OK, now I have done what every vegan has done - I learned and I move on. You won't die. You are human.
Healthy eating and happy summer! Pumpkin chickpea burger anyone?