Vegetarians avoid eating food of animal origin.
There are a variety of reasons to follow a vegan diet, including ethical, health or environmental concerns.
37 Things to Avoid as Vegan
Some of the foods that vegans should avoid are obvious, but others may surprise you. Also, not all vegetarian foods are nutritious and it is better to avoid some of them.
This article lists a few foods and ingredients that you should avoid in a vegan diet.
1-6: Animal feed
Veganism is a way of life that tries to exclude all forms of exploitation and animal cruelty, whether for food or other purposes.
For this reason, vegans avoid eating foods of animal origin, such as:
- Meat : Veal, lamb, pork, veal, horse, organ meat, wild meat, etc.
- Poultry: Chicken, turkey, goose, duck, quail, etc.
- Fish and seafood: All types of fish, anchovies, shrimp, squid, scallops, squid, mussels, crabs, lobsters and fish sauce.
- Dairy products : Milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, cream, ice cream, etc.
- Eggs : Of chickens, quail, ostriches and fish.
- Bee products : Honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, etc.
Vegetarians avoid eating animal meat and animal by-products. These include meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs and food made by bees.
7-15: Ingredients or additives derived from animals
Many foods contain ingredients or additives of animal origin that most people do not know. For this reason, vegans also avoid eating foods that contain:
- Certain additives: Various food additives may be derived from animal products. Some examples are E120, E322, E422, E 471, E542, E631, E901 and E904.
- Cochineal or carmine: Ground cochineal insects are used to make carmine, a natural dye that is used to give many food products a red color.
- Gelatin: This thickening agent comes from the skin, bones and connective tissues of cows and pigs.
- Fish glass cup: This jelly-like substance is derived from fish bladders. It is often used in brewing or wine.
- Natural flavors: Some of these ingredients are of animal origin. An example is castoreum, a food flavoring that comes from the secretions of the anal-smelling glands of beavers.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Many products that are enriched with omega-3 are not vegan, since most omega-3s come from fish. Algae derived omega-3s are vegan alternatives.
- Shellac: This is a substance secreted by the female lackey insect. Sometimes it is used to make a candy food glaze or a wax coating for fresh produce.
- Vitamin D3: Most of vitamin D3 is derived from fish oil or lanolin found in sheep’s wool. Vitamins D2 and D3 of lichen are vegan alternatives.
- Dairy ingredients: Whey, casein and lactose are derived from dairy products.
These ingredients and additives can be found in a wide variety of processed foods. It is very important that you carefully review the ingredient lists .
Vegetarians should check food labels to make sure the products do not contain the ingredients mentioned above.
16-32: Foods that sometimes (but not always) contain animal ingredients
Some foods that you can expect to be 100% vegetarian sometimes contain one or more animal derived ingredients.
For this reason, vegans seeking to avoid all animal products should use a critical eye when deciding whether to consume or avoid the following foods:
- Bakery products : Some bakery products, such as bagels and breads, contain L-cysteine. This amino acid is used as a softening agent and often comes from poultry feathers.
- Beer and wine: Some manufacturers use egg albumin, gelatin or casein in the process of brewing or wine. Others sometimes use fishtail, a substance collected from fish bladders, to clarify their final product.
- César Dressing: Certain varieties of César dressing use anchovy paste as one of their ingredients.
- Sweets: Some varieties of jelly, marshmallows, gummy bears and chewing gum contain gelatin. Others are coated with shellac or contain a red dye called carmine, which is made from cochineal insects.
- French fries: Some varieties are fried in animal fat.
- Tapenade of olives: Many varieties of tapenade of olives contain anchovies.
- Fried foods : The dough used to prepare fried foods such as onion rings or vegetable tempura sometimes contains eggs.
- Pesto: Many store-bought pesto varieties contain Parmesan cheese.
- Some bean products: Most baked bean recipes contain lard or ham.
- Non-dairy cream: Many of these “non-dairy” creams contain casein, a protein derived from milk.
- Pasta: Some types of pasta, especially fresh pasta, contain eggs.
- French fries: Some french fries taste like cheese powder or contain other dairy ingredients such as casein, whey or animal derived enzymes.
- Refined sugar: Manufacturers sometimes lighten sugar with charcoal (often called natural coal), which is obtained from the bones of cattle. Organic sugar or evaporated cane juice are vegan alternatives.
- Roasted Peanuts: Gelatin is sometimes used when roasted peanuts are made to help salt and spices adhere better to peanuts.
- A little bit of dark chocolate: Dark chocolate is usually vegetarian. However, some varieties contain animal products such as whey, milk fat, milk solids, clarified butter or nonfat dry milk.
- Some products: Some fresh fruits and vegetables are covered with wax. The wax can be petroleum or palm based, but it can also be made using beeswax or shellac. If in doubt, ask your storekeeper what type of wax is used.
- Worcestershire sauce: Many varieties contain anchovies.
Ingredients of animal origin can be found in foods in which you would not expect to see them. Be sure to check your labels to avoid surprises.
33-37: Vegetarian foods you may want to limit
Just because a food is vegan does not mean it is healthy or nutritious.
Therefore, vegans who wish to improve their health should continue with minimally processed plant foods and limit the use of the following products:
- Vegetarian junk food: Ice cream, candy, cookies, chips and vegetarian sauces generally contain the same amount of sugar and fat as their non-vegetable counterparts. In addition, they almost contain no vitamins, minerals or beneficial plant compounds.
- Vegan sweeteners: Vegan or not, molasses, agave syrup, date syrup and maple syrup are still added sugars. Eating too much of them can increase your risk of developing medical problems such as heart disease and obesity.
- Mock meats and cheeses: These processed foods generally contain many additives. They also provide you with fewer vitamins and minerals than whole, protein-rich plant foods, such as beans, lentils, peas, nuts, and seeds.
- Dairy-free milks: Sweetened milk-free milks usually contain a good amount of added sugar. Opt for unsweetened versions.
- Vegetarian protein bars : Most vegetarian protein bars contain large amounts of refined sugar. In addition, they usually contain an isolated form of protein, which lacks the nutrients found in the plant from which it was extracted.
Vegetarians who want to optimize their health should limit processed foods. Instead, choose foods that can be consumed in their original form whenever possible.
Message to take home
Vegetarians try to avoid all foods of animal origin.
This includes animal and meat products, as well as foods that contain any ingredient derived from an animal.
That said, not all foods made from plant ingredients are healthy and nutritious. Vegan junk food is still junk food.