It is very important that you read the food labels before you buy any particular food item. But it is even more important that you read the labels, especially if you are a vegan/vegetarian. Failing to read the food labels can result in your buying food that has animal ingredients.
A vegan is a person who eats a plant-based diet. The vegan diet excludes animal flesh, eggs, milk, dairy by-products, all animal-by products and honey.
Sometimes a vegan will find hidden animal ingredients lurking in food items and you want to avoid those hidden animal ingredients as much as possible.
You’re probably thinking, that all you need to do, as a vegan is avoid milk, eggs, and other dairy by-products and you’ll be fine.
There are vegan and vegetarian foods that have animal ingredients hidden in them that you may not know come from animals.
And it is important that you know about these hidden animal-based ingredients before you buy. Knowing what hidden animal ingredients to avoid will help you stay true to eating a vegan diet.
Hidden Animal Ingredients
Here is a list of hidden animal-based ingredients and the types of foods in which they are often found.
- Albumin binds or thickens baked goods, soups, cereals, puddings and other products. Albumin is a protein found in eggs, milk and blood.
- Carmine, cochineal, or carminic acid a red food dye made from ground beetles. Colors juices, baked goods, candies, and the processed foods.
- Casein is a protein derived from animal milk used in dairy products such as sour cream and cream cheese. It is also added to nondairy cheese to improve the texture.
- Gelatin is a thickener made by boiling the bones, skin and other parts of cows and other animals. It is found in gelatin desserts, marshmallows, candies, puddings and other products.
- Lactose is also called milk sugar derived from cow’s milk and is found in baked goods and processed foods.
- Lard is the fat taken from hogs. It is an ingredient that is in crackers, pie crusts and baked goods, as well as refried beans and other fried or processed foods.
- Suet is the hard white fat from cattle and sheep and is sometimes found in margarine and baked goods.
- Whey, derived from milk and processed into cheese. It is found in commercial food products such as crackers and breads.
The best way to avoid hidden animal ingredients is to read the labels. Remember the more processed food is the more likely it is to contain animal products.
The longer you eat a vegan diet you will find that yourself gravitating towards eating more whole fresh foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains and beans.
Your taste buds will enjoy whole foods much more, than the processed foods. Eating more whole foods will help you eat less processed foods that may have hidden animal ingredients in them resulting in you avoiding those hidden animal ingredients.