When I decided to stop eating meat for animal welfare reasons, I didn’t have any trouble giving it up.
Piece of cake.
What I didn’t realize was all of the other things to consider. Here’s a list of items that you need to check on before eating/using them:
1. Alcohol. Some wines, beers, and liquors use animal-based ingredients. According to Barnivore, aside from the actual ingredients, “when filtering the drinks prior to bottling, companies can use things like isinglass (from fish bladder), gelatin, egg whites, and sea shells, among other things.” Barnivore is a great resource to see if your alcohol is vegan or vegetarian-friendly. As someone who regularly bakes with alcohol, Barnivore has been a life-saver.
2. Gelatin. Ugh – this one is hard, but luckily there are enough vegan substitutes to the rescue! This includes JELL-O and MARSHMALLOWS, people. Gelatin is in many foods and supplements; it is made through the boiling and processing of animal cartilage and bones. Specialty stores and larger food stores often carry vegan “jel” and vegan marshmallows. Be sure to check the ingredients list.
3. Processed Foods. Although this is a general statement, you do need to be careful when purchasing fried food and boxed mixes. For instance, I’ve seen various potato chip brands that are fried in animal lard. Jiffy Cornbread Mix – you know, the little blue box – has animal products in it as well. Who would have thought that these products aren’t appropriate for the vegetarian diet? Again, be sure to check the ingredients list.
4. Sugar. Traditional white sugar is sometimes filtered through bone char from animals. Some alternatives to regular sugar would be raw sugar, turbinado, beet sugar, date sugar, and coconut sugar, to name a few.
5. Healthcare Products. Although not technically food, ingestible items like toothpaste and mouthwash can contain animal-based ingredients. Look for labels that clearly mark the items as vegan, or that say that no animal products were used in the manufacturing of said items.
Consider these items when making your next purchase and make sure to read the ingredients. Enjoy living more humanely!