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Be Vegan For A Month    
  • Day 22: Beware of Hidden Ingredients
  • Daily nugget: How sexy is sneezing and coughing? So not sexy. According to a few studies, reducing dairy, meat, and eggs is tied to alleviation of allergy symptoms. Bring your sexy back!

    Get used to reading labels; animal ingredients can be lurking in unexpected places!

    In the past few weeks, have you had any moments where you started to bite into something, only to have someone say, just as it hits your lips, ‘hold it, cowboy, that’s not vegan!’ You’re not the only one–this happens all the time. And since we’ve gone over all the wonderful things we vegans can eat, and by now you’re pretty well aware of all the things we choose not to eat, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at the surprisingly non-vegan foods. You know, the ones where ingredients sneak up on us. Unfortunately, knowing is only half the battle. Animal products will sneak up on you when you’re least expecting it. Many foods might initially seem vegan but turn out to be hiding animal products within. It doesn’t mean they’re all off limits–just check the labels or ask the chef and proceed with care. Unexpected ingredients:

    • Whey – in so many things, especially packaged breads
    • Cochineal – red pigment, found in many red candies, comes from crushed insects
    • Carmine / carmineal acid – another name for cochineal
    • Ghee – clarified butter in many Indian dishes
    • Isinglass (Fish bladder) – found in some beers and wines
    • Confectioner’s glaze – from a resin extracted by a lac bug, often on candies
    • Gelatin – lots of candies and fruit snacks and, of course, Jell-o.

    Foods that often have unexpected non-vegan ingredients:

    • Packaged bread (whey, egg or honey)
    • Fresh pasta (egg)
    • Muffins (egg)
    • Non-dairy cheese (casein)
    • Lo Mein noodles (egg–choose chow fun or mei fun noodles instead)
    • Fish Sauce in Asian dishes
    • Naan bread (often has butter)
    • Beer and wine (some are clarified with isinglass, a membrane from fish bladder – check Barnivore.com for a full list)
    • Omega-3 fortified OJ (Tropicana Heart Healthy OJ uses amino acids from fish oil and gelatic)
    • Vitamin-D enhanced juices (the VitD often comes from lanolin, in sheep’s wool)
    • Refried beans (some restaurants add lard – make sure to ask the server!)
    • Omega-3 enhanced breads (fish oil)
    • Soups (the stock is often beef stock, just remember to ask)

    If you’ve eaten any of these lately thinking they’re vegan, don’t jump off a bridge just yet! Cut yourself some slack. Our motto around here is “progress, not perfection.” This journey is about making a difference for your body, the animals, and the planet; it’s not a personal purity contest! Focus instead on all the positive changes you have been making.