What can/can’t vegans eat? [THIS MAY SURPRISE YOU]

What CAN Vegans Eat?

To put it simply, vegans can eat anything that doesn’t contain animal products.

In other words, vegans can eat anything that comes from a plant.

Luckily for vegans, there are loads of ‘accidentally vegan’ foods that you will find in most kitchens.

These include dry pastas, rice and bread – just double check the label to see if it contains any animal products as sometimes they do (scroll down for a list of sneaky ingredients you may not be aware of).

Furthermore, there are also loads of vegan foods that you probably wouldn’t think are vegan.

These include Oreos, Party Rings, and my favourite…chilli heatwave Doritos!

Pretty much anything an omnivore eats, can be veganised.

So if you’re thinking about turning vegan, don’t worry about having to cut pizza, burgers, hotdogs etc. out of your life.

It’s just about adapting.

You can find loads of recipes for vegan versions of everything!

What CAN’T Vegans Eat + Sneaky Ingredients That Are Not Vegan

So, vegans can’t eat anything that does contain animal products.

This obviously includes meat from any animal, fish and bugs (yes bugs), same as a vegetarian.

However, what sets vegans apart from vegetarians is that vegans avoid all the produce that come from an animal.

Therefore this includes milk, cheese, eggs and honey.

As an animal has been exploited in order to produce these, they are not vegan.

Unfortunately, avoiding animal products isn’t always as straight forward as you’d hope.

This is because there are loads of products that people generally wouldn’t realise contains animal derivatives.

Let’s look at some of the ingredients that are not vegan, but are often overlooked.

Be careful to look out for:

#1 Gelatine

Gelatine is an odourless and tasteless substance that is produced by prolonged boiling of animal skin, cartilage and bones.

In other words, it’s made from the stuff that meat industries have left over. Therefore, we’re talking about leftover skins, horns, and cattle bones.

So yes, definitely NOT vegan.

However, gelatine is an ingredient that is commonly overlooked.

You can usually find it in sweets and desserts.

A lot of vegetarians assume that sweets would be okay to eat, as they’re just sweets right?

But unfortunately this isn’t the case.

None the less, luckily nowadays, there are heaps of sweets that don’t contain gelatine.

#2 Casein / Whey

Casein is the protein found in all mammals’ milk.

Whey is the liquid remains from milk that has been curdled and strained.

Casein and whey are sometimes overlooked as people are looking for ‘milk’ on the ingredients list.

You should find that they are marked in bold, as an allergen, however sometimes they might not be. 

You’d be surprised at how many products contain casein and whey.

These include many types of crisps (why, I do not know), and bread. 

So be extra careful with this one, especially if you are lactose intolerant. 

#3 Cochineal

Conchineal is a red food colouring made from powdered dried bodies of a female scale insect.
You will sometimes find this in soft drinks, fruit drinks and energy drinks to give them a vibrant red colour. 
Additionally, you can often find it in red velvet cakes – it’s what gives them the vibrant pink/red colour. 
So, if your food or drink is bright red – be sure to look out for cochineal, otherwise you might be consuming crushed bugs – yummy!

#4 Beeswax

Beeswax is the wax secreted by bees to make honeycombs. It’s obtained by melting a honeycomb with boiling water and then straining and cooling it.
Beeswax, like honey, is not vegan because, firstly, farmers often clip the wings of their queen bees, to ensure they do not leave the hive. 
Additionally, bees are often injured, squashed and killed in the process of obtaining honey from the hive. This also happens when bees are transported between farms. 
Similar to gelatine, this is something that you can often find in sweets.

Furthermore, you can often find beeswax in some lipsticks and other cosmetics.

#5 Isinglass

Isinglass is obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish

You may not even consider alcohol when thinking about what’s vegan or not vegan, however, a lot of alcohol is not suitable for vegans. 

Isinglass is most commonly used in the process of making beers and wines.

Luckily, there are loads of beer and wine options that no longer use Isinglass in their production.

Popular beers include Corona, Budweiser and Guinness. 

However, this sometimes varies in different countries – so be sure to do a quick Google search to double check 🙂 

#6 L. Cysteine

L. Cysteine is produced from human hair (gross, I know), duck feathers, cow horns and pig bristles.

This is a sneaky ingredients that most people are not aware of.

It is often included in the production of foods, in order to extend their shelf life.

L. Cysteine could be the reason that your bread is not vegan, even though it doesn’t contain milk or eggs.

This is because it is commonly used as a dough conditioner.

Hopefully you have found this helpful and you’re now an expert in what is and isn’t vegan 🙂


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