CHECK OUT OUR LIST OF FOOD INGREDIENTS TO AVOID WHEN VEGAN TO SEE WHAT PRODUCTS YOU SHOULD WANT TO CHECK FOR WHEN SHOPPING.
When you first go vegan it may seem daunting. There are so many things to learn and sometimes it seems like the longer that you are vegan, the more things come up that seem to complicate everything you thought you were doing right.
Take a deep breathe.
We understand that when you probably first considered veganism, you thought you were giving up meat, dairy, and eggs to start. Then, you knew you needed to be mindful of what your clothing, shoes, and accessories were made from.
What you didn’t consider was the fact that our society uses animal products in the most random things and the longer you continue on a vegan way of life, the more you begin to scratch your head in confusion of why is this animal product in my deodorant. (and other similar scenarios).
Fortunately, veganism is a journey and no one is perfect.
In fact, it’s almost impossible to be 100% vegan in our current society.
However, what you can do is be your absolute best and not be hard on yourself, especially in cases where it’s a hidden ingredient and unless you are a detective or a seasoned vegan, you couldn’t have know that an obscure ingredient name was actually from animals.
Today, we’re going to focus mainly on food; however, the list will help across the board in some cases.
When trying to understand ingredients to avoid when vegan, it’s important to realize that ingredients have a lot of names. It’s not just “milk” on a label. When you realize that dairy alone can come in over 6 dozen ingredient names, things start to seem like you’ll never get this right.
Luckily, we’re here to help and hopefully break this down in an easy to understand way!
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SHOULD I FEEL GUILTY FOR EATING FOODS I THOUGHT WERE VEGAN BUT LEARN THEY AREN’T?
We answered this question in our post about surprising foods you think are vegan but aren’t.
It’s easy to feel guilty, right?
We live in a society that wants us to constantly feel shame for doing something different or making a mistake.
The truth is when it comes to veganism, no one, literally no one, can be 100% vegan in our current way of obtaining goods and services.
What we can do is be as careful as possible, not get down if we mess up, and continue to keep trying our best to reduce the amount of animal products we knowingly consume.
So no, you shouldn’t feel guilty if you find out that your veggie burger was made with egg whites after eating it. And no you shouldn’t hold onto shame if you enjoyed the piece of cake your grandma made you as her first vegan cake but you aren’t sure if the sugar is vegan.
Again you being vegan is already making the most impact daily. Be proud of that.
Can I just look at the label and easily spot non-vegan food ingredients?
Yes and no.
Yes, if you live in the United States and the products come from a dairy, egg, shellfish or fish source. They must be clearly labeled or have a may contain statement.
However, that still leaves open so many animal ingredients that don’t have any type of easy to read label like honey or gelatin, for example.
The best thing you can do is continue reading and continue to look for products that are certified vegan.
Food Ingredients To Avoid When Vegan
Our goal here is to list as many food ingredients that we have been able to research.
We will put them in alphabetical order.
Beeswax – a natural wax produced by honey bees that is found on everything from prouce to candy. Also listed as honeycomb.
Butter – Also labeled as artificial butter, artificial butter flavor, butter extract, butter fat, buttermilk, butter flavored oil, buttermilk blend, buttermilk powder, buttermilk solids, butter oil, butter solids, whipped butter
Carmine. – Red pigment from crushing cochineal insects. Found in red foods and candies. Also known as Cochineal. Carminic Acid.
Casein – This is the primary protein in dairy milk; however, many products labeled dairy free still contain casein so double check the labels. Also labeled as casein hydrolysates, Ammonium Caseinate, Calcium Caseinate, Caseinate, Hydrolyzed Casein, Iron Caseinate, Potassium Caseinate, Rennet Casein, Sodium Caseinate, Zinc Caseinate
Cheese (all types), Cheese Flavor (artificial and natural), Cheese Food, Imitation Cheese, Vegetarian Cheese with Casein
Confectioner’s Glaze – crushed up bugs are used to make things shiny like sprinkles. Also known as shellac, natural glaze.
Eggs – From chickens, quail, and any other animals that produce eggs.
Gelatin – Made from boiling bones, skin, tendons, ligaments with water to make a protein. It is the thickener in candy, marshmallows, wine, Jell-O and more.
Honey – food for bees and made by them. Used as a sweetener.
Lactose – the sugar present in milk.
Lactic Acid – can be plant based, but if animal based from blood and muscle tissue. Found in foods like beer, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.
Lard – the fat from pig’s belly. It is in some baked goods, cornbread mixes, and refried beans.
L. cysteine – amino acid that comes from animal hair and feather, it is used as a conditioner in dough.
Milk – Also labeled as 1% milk, 2% milk, Cream, Derivative Milk, Dried Milk, Dry Milk, Dry Milk Powder, Dry Milk Solids (DMS), Evaporated Milk, Fat Free Milk, Lactose Free Milk, Low Fat Milk, Milk Derivative, Milk Fat, Milk Powder, Milk Protein, Milk Protein Hydrolysates, Milk Solid Pastes, Milk Solids, Nonfat Dry Milk, Nonfat Milk, Nonfat Milk Solids, Pasteurized Milk, Powdered Milk, Sheep Milk, Skim Milk, Skim Milk Powder, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk, Whole Milk.
*Milk can have many names. Learn more about milk.
Monoglycerides. Glycerides. – obtained from animal fat and found in many boxed goods like cake mixes and candy.
Vitamin D3 – Derived from lambswool, it can be found in food and drinks like orange juice.
Whey – After dairy milk has been curdled and strained, the liquid that remains is Why. Also labeled as: Acid Whey, Curd Whey, Delactosed Whey, Demineralized Whey, Hydrolyzed Whey, Powdered Whey, Reduced Mineral Whey, Sweet Dairy Whey, Whey Hydrolysates, Whey Powder, Whey Protein, Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Hydrolysates, Whey Solids
How do I know if one of the products above are animal derived or plant based?
Sometimes it’s not always easy to tell. In fact, often time for some ingredients, like l. cysteine or monoglycerides, if it does not say (plant derived) next to the ingredient or is not labeled vegan then the only way to know is to contact the manufacturing company themselves.