Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Foods That Are Neither Vegetarian or Vegan

In the ever rising and increasingly popular turn to vegetarianism and veganism in our culture, it may surprise you to know that there are some foods out there that, though they may seem safe for consumption by those who have this lifestyles, yet are filled with hidden animal by-product ingredients.

For those that are unaware of the difference between a vegetarian and vegan, here's a quick overview (though not completely thorough in the least). A vegetarian does not eat meat, though there are some who may still periodically dine on fish, but as a general rule, anything that was a living, breathing being is not on the menu for supper. A vegan takes this a step further. Not only does a vegan not eat meat, they also do not eat or drink anything that is derived or comes from animals of any kind. This means no dairy, no eggs, etc.

Thus, it may come as a surprise that some food and beverages out there are not as "animal" free as you would expect. These items below are a favourite of many out there (myself included), thus I thought I would shed some light on these food items, drinks and treats that do not fit into the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, even though it would seem at first glance that they would or should and I'm sure there are many a vegetarian and vegan out there who may have indeed enjoyed one or more of these items.

I found the following information on Huffington Post (thanks to my hubby who's always on the look-out for interesting reads) You can read the original article here if you like. Or, you can just read on!

Kraft Singles Cheese:

WHAT'S IN IT? Animal Enzymes

"According to Kraft's website, enzymes used to make Kraft Singles slices and the powdered cheese for Macaroni and Cheese, are both "sourced from both microbial fermentations and animal sources" such as cow, sheep, and goat."

Guiness (and other beers)

WHAT'S IN IT? Dried fish bladder

"As in-depth report says Guinness beer may have used isinglass (an ingredient made from dried fish bladder) during their brewing process."

Nerds (and other red candies)

WHAT'S IN IT? Insects

"Carmine, made from beetles and other insects, is a common type of food colouring. This ingredient is usually found in red coloured candies and strawberry-and-grape flavoured Nerds. And just last year, coffee-giant Starbucks told consumers their Strawberries & Creme Frappuccinos and strawberry-flavoured smoothies all contained cochineal extract - red food colouring made from crushed cochineal beetles."

McDonald's Smoothie

WHAT'S IN IT? Gelatin is made from the protein of animal by-product such as skin, tendons, ligaments and bones.

"If you're a vegetarian or vegan, you probably already know to avoid marshmallows, some jams, jellies and gelatin desserts like JELL-O. But some candies like Peeps, gummy bears and even McDonald's Real Fruit Smoothies also contain gelatin."

Refined White Sugar

WHAT'S IN IT? Bone char

"Some companies use bone char during the processing of refined white sugar. However, not all types of refined sugar contains bone char. PETA notes that bone char can also be found in some brown sugars, and they've even included a list of manufactures who are completely vegan."


WHAT'S IN IT? Rennet - enzymes made from the stomachs of unweaned animals such as calves.

"If you love freshly grated Parmesan cheese with your pasta or risotto, (I'm) sorry to deliver the bad news: This type of cheese is almost always made with rennet. Some writers even argue why vegetarian recipes continue to include this cheese as a vegetarian ingredient. Other hard cheese and gorgonzola may also be culprits."

Omega-3 Enriched Food and Drinks

WHAT'S IN IT? Fish oil

"Most Omega-3 enriched drinks or food such as margarine, olive oil and bread, may contain fish rather than plant sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. This Tropicana juice contains tilapia, sardines and anchovy."


WHAT'S IN IT? Gelatin made from pig and cow hooves

"Vegans, you may want to skip out on this one. Many wines and even beers use gelatin as a finishing agent."

Taco Bell Cheese Quesadilla


"This is obviously a no-no for vegans, but any vegetarian who eats dairy, but not eggs, should be wary of some breads and tortillas, such as the ones made for this cheesy fast-food dish."

And there you have it. Some foods to watch out for if you haven't been already. If you are neither vegan nor vegetarian, then eat away and enjoy with relish :)

Now go and enjoy the beautiful weather that is upon us, as Spring has sprung right over us and turned into Summer in one fell swoop, at least that's the case here in Southern Alberta.

Till next time...

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