Veganism's multi-faceted, and sometimes the things you'd think are obviously vegan end up having animal-derived ingredients in them. So, here are some foods that you'd think are vegan, but probably aren't.
From celebrating our wins to getting over our losses, wines are our companions. However, they're often not vegan (or even vegetarian, for that matter). All young wines are “hazy” and contain tiny particles. While these particles don’t spoil the taste, they definitely hamper the texture. As wines age, these particles dissolve, and we get the smooth texture that wine connoisseurs appreciate. However, like all good things in life, getting this smooth and rich texture takes time. To speed up the process, many wineries “fine” these wines by adding ingredients that speed up the process. Depending on the type of wine, most fining agents are either casein (dairy), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein), or isinglass (fish bladder protein). This, unfortunately, makes most wines not suitable for vegans.
However, some fantastic wines are vegan. Here’s @vegananu’s collection of her favorite vegan wines.
Hot chocolate dunked in marshmallows is akin to a magic portal that transport us to our childhoods. Unfortunately, the traditional marshmallow recipe call for gelatin, which is an animal-derived ingredient. Thankfully many major brands now have vegan marshmallows like Marks & Spencer Food's Vegan Marshmallows and Dandies All Natural Vanilla Marshmallows. So, now we can enjoy a steaming hot cuppa that warms both our souls and our conscience.
3. Dairy substitutes
Since dairy substitutes are literally substitutes of dairy, you'd think they'll be vegan. But, that's not the case. When shopping for dairy substitutes, you’ll come across 3 types of labels. We covered this briefly in our healthy guide to dairy alternatives.
If you see non-dairy or lactose-free labels, you need to read the ingredients to ensure they don't contain non-vegan ingredients like casein and whey. The dairy-free label is most likely to be vegan. Here's a handy infographic from The Spruce to help you understand the difference between the labels.
4. Orange juice
When you make yourself a freshly squeezed OJ at home, that’s vegan. But, if you're going to pick a packaged version from the store, it may contain more than just oranges. When shopping for orange juice, look out for 2 things: “omega 3” and “vitamin D.” Omega-3s are usually derived from fish and vitamin D comes from lanolin that's derived from sheep’s wool. You can read more about such non-vegan ingredients to avoid here.
5. Meat alternatives
While craving a burger when avoiding meat would mean reaching for meat substitutes, be aware that they may not be vegan. When buying meat alternatives, remember that not all vegetarian meats are vegan. Some of them may contain eggs or dairy (or whey), making them vegetarian friendly, but not vegan. So, next time you're out to buy vegan patties for your burger nights, be sure to check if the brand you're considering has been reviewed on abillion 'coz if it's on abillion, it's bound to be vegan!
6. White sugar
Processed white sugar gets its color when raw sugar's polished. This polishing is often done on bone char. As the name suggests, bone char is a black, porous material that's obtained by charring animal bones. If this wasn’t enough, even brown sugar, powdered sugar, or raw sugar contain some amount of white sugar in it. So, what to do? Look for vegan certified sugar…or opt for these natural sugar substitutes.
7. Breakfast Cereals
Cereals are usually our go-to breakfast option. Most breakfast cereals contain one of these things: honey, vitamin D, or lanolin. Even cereals not marketed as “sweet” like Kellogg's cornflakes aren’t vegan, but if we keep a careful eye on the ingredients, we can enjoy a range of vegan-friendly cereals!
8. French fries
Making french fries at home is easy, and is vegan. But, if you're thinking of ordering some fries when you accompany your non-vegan buddies when they visit their favorite fast food chain, be aware that major fast-food restaurants often fry their fries in animal fat, making them non-vegan. Best to check before ordering!