We did it. We’ve made it past the middle-point of September, and do you know what that means? It’s basically Halloween.
And do you know what Halloween means? Candy.
All sorts of candy; especially the ones you can’t eat (practically speaking, if you’re vegan) because it’s made using bugs, fish bladder, or various parts of cows and pigs.
“But I was looking forward to my favorite, Starbursts!”
Well, hate to break it to ya but they’re not vegan. Boooo! Blame the unnecessary use of gelatin. We’ll touch more on that shortly.
Today, it’s all about foods that you come across on a daily basis that you probably have eaten at one point or another and didn’t know it wasn’t vegan-friendly. At least there’s a bunch of vegan alternatives these days to make matters easier, but juuuuusttttt in caaaasssseee, here’s this. Let’s get started!
NOT VEGAN: Marshmallows
WHY: That thing I mentioned earlier about “various parts of cows and pigs”… Yeah, that’s what gelatin is made up of, which is popularly used as a stabilizing agent in lots of other foods such as gummy bears, jell-o’s, and soups.
VEGAN SUBSTITUTE: Dandies All Natural Vanilla Marshmallows
NOT VEGAN: Your favorite childhood cereal
WHY: This is a sneaky one. Many cereal brands fortify their cereal with Vitamin D3, which is commercially created from lanolin, or wool grease, which is derived from washed lambs’ wool. A lot of cereals only list “Vitamin D” in their ingredients, which means you should probably stay away from it, because it could either be Vitamin D3, or Vitamin D2 – which is free of animals – or maybe even both! Thanks cereal brands for not revealing what crappy things you’re hiding behind your food.
VEGAN SUBSTITUTE: Grown-up cereal aka check the ingredients list first or see if there’s a vegan approval on the packaging!
NOT VEGAN: Worcestershire sauce
WHY: Sorry to crush your hopes and dreams but in order to create that umami flavor, there’s typically anchovies added to it.
VEGAN SUBSTITUTE: Many modern brands carry vegan Worcestershire Sauce, such as 365, Amy’s, and Wizard’s.
NOT VEGAN: White sugar
WHY: So the process of how white sugar is created is by filtering sugar through bone char, or charred bones of cattle, to bleach and strip impurities out of the granules. Oh, and don’t be fooled by brown sugar either – that’s just white sugar mixed with molasses to give it color. Here’s a list of vegan-friendly sugars companies!
VEGAN SUBSTITUTE: Be sure to buy organic since industry bone char is never organic.
NOT VEGAN: Beer
WHY: Put that pouty face away, it’s only some beers, not all of them. I’d be hella sad if it were all of the beers too. A popular favorite among many beer lovers is Guinness, which, back in 2015, after 256 years, announced that their stout will finally be made vegan. The reason why some beers are not vegan is because they can be filtered through isinglass, which is a gelatin obtained from the swim bladders of fish. Here’s a full list of (almost) every beer in existence, and whether or not they’re vegan. Oh! And be sure to check your apple juice label too – some brands actually use isinglass. *rolls eyes* I know, I know, it’s dumb.
VEGAN SUBSTITUTE: There’s not much of a “vegan substitute” – just check that list I mentioned earlier.
NOT VEGAN: Non-dairy creamers
WHY: Just because it says “non-dairy,” doesn’t mean they’re vegan; it just means they don’t contain lactose, which is fairly convenient for those who are lactose intolerant. But for those who are vegan, it’s a no-no that can easily be looked over. Non-dairy creamers often contain casein, aka sodium caseinate, which is a protein produced from casein found in skim and sometimes 1% milk.
VEGAN SUBSTITUTE: When picking out a creamer, be sure to check the labeling for common animal ingredients such as lactose, whey, or casein. Unless it clearly states that it’s vegan! My personal favorite is Silk Vanilla Creamer, which is soy-based, and Ryan’s favorite is coconut cream mixed with a spoonful of erythritol.
NOT VEGAN: Bananas
WHY: Wait – before you go off on me about bananas not being vegan, hear me out. It’s not the bananas themselves. It’s what’s on the outside of bananas. Before these pretty yellow fruits hit the grocery stores, they’re often sprayed with chitosan, which is a pesticide made from the shells of shrimp and crabs. Chitosan helps keep the fruit from ripening too quickly and turning mushy. Totally unnecessary, I know – who wants to wait two weeks for their bananas to ripen anyways?!
VEGAN SUBSTITUTE: Buy ORGANIC!
NOT VEGAN: Orange juice
WHY: I’m not talking about EVERY orange juice here – just the ones fortified with Omega-3’s. “But Omega-3 sounds like a helpful supplement.” It does, doesn’t it? Well, it’s usually made with oils and gelatin derived from the tissues of fish. Sneakyyyyy! Get outta here, Tropicana!
VEGAN SUBSTITUTE: Evolution Fresh is my favorite, but if you’re unsure, just check the labeling of your favorite orange juice to make sure there’s not any Omega-3’s or Vitamin D added.
Hope this helps you sort through the grocery aisles next time you’re at Whole Foods!
Happy Sunday to ya,