Adopting a vegan lifestyle is definitely rewarding, but it’s not without challenges — especially in the beginning. While you’re still getting used to this new diet and lifestyle, you can definitely benefit from some help. When you go out, be sure to take a guide that you can use to direct restaurant servers and chefs, and when you eat at home, utilize menu ideas to ensure variety, proper nutrition, and success.
Are bananas not vegan? I know you are shocked and probably worried but don’t worry too much, bananas are usually vegan. Sadly some of your bananas have crabs. According to Science Daily, Chitosan, a bacteria-fighting compound derived from shrimp and crab shells, has made its way into spray-on preservatives that extend the shelf life of bananas and can infiltrate the fruit. That’s bad news for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone with a shellfish allergy. So just make sure to buy organic bananas next time you go shopping for groceries!
Beer and Wine
OK, not all beer and wine, but a lot of them are clarified using a variety of animal-based fining agents. Gelatin (from animal bones), isinglass (from fish bladders), bone marrow, and casein are all common. Sadly it’s possible that your wine might be filtered through fish bladders. Good news is that there are more than enough vegan options for you to enjoy. Thankfully Barnivore has a comprehensive list of exactly which beers and wines are vegan-friendly.
Some Dry-Roasted Nuts
Nuts are vegan power-food, packed with protein and fat, they make a great snack. But look out: some brands of dry-roasted nuts use a gelatin-based coating to get the salt and flavorings to stick. (For instance, Planters peanuts and sunflower seeds).
Most non-dairy creamers contain—get this—dairy! That’s right. A lot of non-dairy creamers are flavored with casein or sodium caseinate, both of which are derived from milk. (Check out the ingredients in coffeemate, for instance).
It comes from a plant. How could it not be vegan? It’s got to do with the refining process. In order to get rid of all the impurities in natural sugar, it gets processed with animal bone char. Of course, depending on where you live, there’s a good chance that even your water is filtered through animal bone char.
“Vegan” Vanilla Ice Cream
Your ice cream may have the words “vegan” on it, but is it really vegan? Part of the flavor and smell that you identify as vanilla in ice cream comes from the sacs of beavers. Beavers secrete a substance called castoreum that smells like vanilla. Because of this smell, it is used as part of a vanilla substitute.
Most cake mix brands are vegan-friendly but some of them contain beef fat which is often listed as lard in the ingredients. As a vegan you probably don’t want beef fat in your delicious vegan cake, right? You can always make your cakes from scratch to make sure nothing animal derived goes into it or just look more carefully into the ingredients.
May contain casein. Just because a product’s only purpose would seem to require its veganism does not mean its animal product free! Make sure to read the ingredients carefully, even on “vegetarian” and “vegan” products.
Other Non-Vegan Foods Include:
- Jello: contains gelatin which is derived from animal bones, connective tissues, and organs.
- Vitamin D Fortified Foods: the source of vitamin D may be lanolin, derived from sheep’s wool.
- Chewing Gum: often contains animal-derived glycerin.
- Vitamins and Supplements: often contain animal products. Read the ingredients carefully!
- Orange Juice: can be fortified with omega 3s derived from fish.
- Refried Beans: traditionally made with lard.
- Bagels: the enzyme L. Cysteine is used as a dough conditioner and is derived from poultry feathers.
- Pad Thai: often contains fish sauce. Be sure to ask!
- French Fries: may be fried in animal fat
I know you are probably feeling a little overwhelmed right now, but don’t worry if you are starting a vegan diet the best way is to slowly cut of foods, here are 5 ways to start a cleaner lifestyle so that you can see that it’s actually pretty easy!