You might think you’re eating 100% vegan, but you also may be surprised to learn that you might be eating the broth or the fat of animals without even realizing it! If you don’t pay close attention to what you consume, you’ll likely find yourself consuming foods that have hidden animal sources in them in some way, shape, or form. We’ve done a lot of digging and research to set you up for success if you’re interested in going vegan, so that you can eat confidently knowing which foods might have animal sources hidden within them.
Four Pillars of a Healthy Diet
First, as a vegan, you should be aware of the four foods that are considered pillars of a healthy diet; these are four categories of food that simply shouldn’t ever have any hidden animal sources. These pillars are: fresh produce, whole grains, beans, and nut and seeds. Though vegans can eat other foods, these are unquestionably the healthiest, least controversial foods, and should make up the bulk of the vegan diet. That being said, if you branch out as a vegan to include other food items, please make sure to steer clear of these items, which oftentimes have animal sources hidden within them:
Gelatin and Glycerin
No, you wouldn’t pick up gelatin just to eat gelatin, but it’s found in things like gummy candies, marshmallows, soups, sauces, gel caps, and lipstick. Why is gelatin unsafe for vegan diets? It usually is derived from by-products of the meat and leather industry. Generally, vegan alternatives are available, so just look out for that label. Glycerin is often found in sauces, creamy products, and skincare. While you think you might not be consuming it, your body is still absorbing these animal by-products.
Sugar isn’t great for you no matter which way you spin it, but we understand that every now and again that sweet tooth comes for you. When that happens, ensure that you’re consuming unbleached sugar products or ones that are labeled “vegan”. Why? Sugar is often filtered through charred animal bones as a part of the bleaching process.
Soup is often overlooked, but it’s one of the most obvious animal product hazards for vegans. Many canned and restaurant soups use chicken or beef stock as a base. Even miso soup has dashi broth, which is made using a type of fish flake and seaweed. With soup, always assume the broth is animal based, but when in doubt, simply ask a chef or server, or order a soup with veggie broth. Additionally, many cream soups are chock full of cream and butter. If you’re craving something creamy, check the label or ask your server for a non-dairy option instead.
One would think that body enhancing supplements have nothing to do with animals or animal by-products, but one would be very wrong. Animal-derived ingredients run rampant in supplements, and are perhaps the biggest hidden hazard found in the grocery store. Vegans should look for capsules and soft-gel products that say “vegi-caps”, or highlight plant-derived sources right on the label. Warning signs to look out for? Supplements that contain gelatin, beta-carotene, L-Tyrosine, Glucosamine Sulfate, Chondroitin Sulfate, Vitamin D3, and DHA are all likely not vegan friendly in their standard form.
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