Going Vegan is exciting and somewhat daunting at the same time. You have eliminated the obvious; fish, dairy, meat and honey – but are you 100% sure everything is vegan?
We have compiled a list of products that have caught us all out at some point on our vegan journey. Here are some things to look out for:
Sweets and Jelly – One to check for those of you with a sweet tooth. Many sweets and jellies contain gelatine which is found in the skin, bones and tissues of cattle. Look out for vegan alternatives like Biona sweets and the Just Wholefoods Jelly crystals.
Red food colouring – Fortunately more and more manufactures are using beetroot and other alternatives to bring a red colour, but always double check that the red dye is not from cochineal or carmine. These chemicals have been extracted from the scale insect parasite!
Beer and Wine – Fortunately there are only a small number of wines, spirits and beers that are not vegan. Certain wines and beers are filtered using isinglass which has been derived from fish bladders. There are some fantastic Vegan blogs which are highly informative, guiding us away from such drinks.
E Numbers – Most people overlook these but E120, E322, E422, E471, E542, E631, E901 are all non-vegan E numbers. Check the back of products and look out for these nasty fellows!
Raspberry, vanilla and strawberry flavoured ice creams, sweets and chewing gum – This is something you may have never thought of, but these products often contain castoreum. This may shock many but castoreum is a natural food flavouring which originates from the anal scent gland of the Beaver. That information alone is enough to put anyone off raspberries flavours for good!
Breads – There are many breads on the market which contain L-cysteine a non-essential amino acid. These are found in baked goods as a dough conditioner for long lasting breads. However the origins of the amino acid are usually derived from poultry feathers and human hair. The best solution is to stick to bakery breads and always check the ingredients.
Whey – Whey derives from milk, it is a bi-product of the manufacturing of cheese. Whey is often discarded at the end of the process, but it is still used in protein shakes and protein bars. If you are looking to bulk out, improve size and then look to pea, soya or rice proteins as a plant based alternative.
Hard coated glossy sweets/chocolate – There are many sweets and chocolates which have a very attractive glaze or coating which is made from shellac. Shellac, which gives the shiny glaze, is a resin that is formed from the secretion of a fe
male lac bug. The shellac can also be used as a wood finish – yuck!
Fortified cereals – This is one to really watch out for. Often cereals are fortified with vitamin D3. This essential vitamin is mainly derived from Lanolin, the oil found in sheep’s wool. Fortunately there are many fantastic Vegan friendly D3 alternatives to keep your mood, immunity and energy boosted, especially during the cold winter period..
Omega fatty acids – As an essential part of any healthy diet, Omega fatty acids are found naturally occurring in oily fish. There are great alternatives to the fish sourced omega 3 which can be found in certain seeds and oils. One of the great alternatives comes from Viridian which combines a perfect blend of all the essential omegas to make sure you are getting enough Omega 3 in your diet.
Hair Products – Avoid shampoos conditions, gels and hair sprays with added biotin (often drived from milk), cetyl alcohol (a wax found in whales & dolphins) and keratin (found in animals hooves, feathers and horns). Each of these can be veggie sourced’, so always check for the vegan certification when buying a product.
Lip and Skin Products – Hyaluronic acid is often used to add moisture, but watch out, this is often derived from the synovial fluids that surround joints. If the product contains hyaluronic acid make sure the product is verified vegan as it can also be derived from soya.
Clothes, Shoes – Happily gone are the days of whale bone corsets, but sadly there are some more things to bare in mind then just wool, silk and leather. For example, buttons are often made from shells, and toggles found on very good quality coats are sometimes still made from horns.
So here you go, just a few things that caught us out, but we feel the really important thing is to remain inspired and healthy!