Attention Vegetarians & Vegans! These 9 Foods You’re Eating Aren’t Actually Vegetarian! Sorry
Life as a vegetarian can be fraught with unwanted surprises. Even the most fastidious leaf eaters might be shocked to find that some of their favorite foods aren’t actually free of meat. Keep reading to learn about foods that seem like they should be vegetarian – but aren’t.
Yogurt seems like it should be a staple of a vegetarian’s diet. A healthy, tasty dessert substitute chock full of vitamins and minerals. But sometimes the smooth texture that makes yogurt so appealing is the result of gelatin. This unwanted additive is made out of animal tissue, and it’s often found in products like marshmallows and JELLO. When buying chewy candies, yogurts or similar products, always check the label to make sure it is gelatin free.
Meat products can also sneak into your favorite beverages. Have you ever looked at a glass of beer or wine and noticed that it looks cloudy? Some makers of alcohol use a filtration method that includes isinglass, a product made out of fish bladders. This most frequently occurs in Britain, so most American made beers and wines are safe to drink.
3. Orange Juice
If you’ve ever purchased orange juice that is labeled “heart healthy,” you may have accidentally ingested fish oil. To make this juice heart friendly, manufacturers add omega-3s, which are made out of fish gelatin and oil. To ensure you aren’t getting any meat products with your morning beverage, stay away from anything labeled “heart healthy” or check the label for any sign of fishiness.
4. Ice Cream
Everyone’s favorite dessert isn’t always vegetarian. If your favorite brand is made with capric acid, stay away from it in the future, as this acid is made out of animal fats. Luckily, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options available for anyone craving ice cream.
Not all cheese is vegetarian-friendly. Some contain animal rennet, an enzyme that is found in the stomach of calves. This enzyme is then used to turn milk into curds and whey. Most American cheese producers have stopped using this enzyme and have replaced it with Fermentation-Produced Chymosin. Some cheeses, however, like Parmigiano-Reggiano, still use animal rennet. Always check the labels of your cheeses, and make sure “chymosin” and “rennet” aren’t on the ingredients list.
6. Chewing Gum
If you are a fan of chewing gum, be warned. The delightful, chewy texture of gum is often created using animal fat. Take a look at the ingredients list and stop chewing if glycerin, stearic acid or lanolin is present.
7. Red Candy
Beware of red dye #4. This specific dye is made with carmine, which is extracted from crushed beetles. This dye is used in a number of red hued products, from fruit punch to ice creams, but it is most frequently found in candy. If you are a fan of a bright red candy, like Good n’ Plenty, make sure it’s beetle-free before shoving a handful in your mouth.
8. Processed Sugar
To create the bright white hue of sugar, raw sugar is refined with a bone char, which is made of incinerated cow bones. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there are any bone particles in the refined sugar product, but many vegans and vegetarians avoid processed sugar all the same. It can be difficult to uncover whether your preferred brand of sugar has been refined using a bone char. To be safe, try using raw cane sugar as a vegetarian-friendly alternative.
9. Potato Chips
Not all chips are created equal. Some are created using tallow, which derived from cattle fat. Check the ingredients list for mentions of tallow before snacking on your favorite chips.
Being a vegetarian can be hard, but the effort is worth it. Armed with a keen eye and a little knowledge, anyone can scan an ingredients list for the offending animal products.