As followers of this blog probably already know, I am a Vegan. I don’t eat any animal products, nor do I have any oil in my diet. I don’t do this because I am overly sensitive to small, furry creatures, but rather for my health. Note: This does not mean you should send me a list of emails stating that this is a terrible diet and that I need to add fat so my brain functions. It works great! I was recently shocked to find out that some of our favorite foods do not comply with my eating choices. You might find this list a little disturbing once you read it, as well, but these are vegetarian foods that are not vegetarian.
When you grab a bag of sugar, most of the time the ingredient list will just list “sugar” as its sole ingredient. Amazingly, that’s not true. Sugar isn’t naturally white. It’s processed and turned white. Brown sugar and powdered sugar are processed, as well. So what are these companies using to create the white, sweet granules that we know and love? Natural Carbon. At least that’s the name they call it so that you don’t get sick while you’re eating your sweetened corn flakes. Natural carbon is ground up bone char from animals! Yum! Never fear, though. You can always use unrefined sugar or sugar-in-the-raw as a replacement from cow skeleton…
Do you like to eat candy? Everyone loves a piece of candy once in awhile. When I was a kid, they always told us to brush our teeth so they didn’t decay. Little did your parents know, the candy wasn’t the bad part of what was going into your mouth. It was the coloring. Next time you have a hankering for some candy, check to see if these words are used in the ingredients: Cochineal, Carminic acid or Carmine. If they are, congratulations! You’re eating beetles! Those ingredients are made from the female Dactylopius coccus costa, or cochineal insect. Many candies are also coated with shellac, a resin excreted by the lac bug, which is usually listed as ‘confectioner’s glaze’.
In the middle of summer, a nice and refreshing beer often hits the spot. That is until you realize that they like to strain the yeast with fish bladders! Isinglass is a membrane taken from the bladders of tropical fish and is used to filter cloudy yeast extracts out of many brands of beer and wine. Not all beers and wines use this, but you should be aware of the ones that do. They can fool you because they do not smell fishy.
Mmmm…Twinkies. You might think again when you consider that many store bought cake mixes and all Hostess Snacks – from HoHos to Fruit Pies to Ding Dongs – all contain Beef Fat. You know. It’s the stuff that you cut off your steak and throw away? Some of it makes it into your dessert. It can be deceptive because sometimes they disguise ‘beef fat’ with words like ‘lard’. However, no matter how you cut it, it’s that white, gelatinous suet that you would never eat if saw it on your New York strip steak.
How can orange juice contain animal products? It’s grown on a tree and squeezed into a glass! If you get your orange juice freshly squeezed, then there is nothing to worry about. It’s when we try to go that extra step for vitamins that we start seeing animal products in our morning juice. Look out for juices that are fortified with Vitamin D3. That’s a signal that they strained your juice with lanolin. Lanolin is the oil that comes off of sheep’s wool. Your taste buds are probably already getting excited! Also look out for Omega-3 additions. This nutrient is derived from fish oil and gelatin. Gelatin is the yummy by-product of pig skin and cow bones. You can also find it in Jello, marshmallows, ice cream and yogurt!