going vegan again...pointers please
Hi everyone! A few years ago I was vegan and became very weak and unhealthy so for the last few years I have been a lacto-ovo vegetarian leaning towards, but not entirely, a vegan diet. Over the years, particularly from this site, I have learned so much more about nutrition and vegan foods that I have decided to return to a vegan diet. This is particularly easy because I currently live alone, shop and prepare meals for only myself, etc. When I was vegan a few years ago I didn't do the best job of it because I didn't know about things like whey, bone char, etc. I would really appreciate if any of you could point out some of those less obvious things that I should know to look for this time around. Iam good about reading ingredients, but not everything is as obvious as "milk powder" or "casein." Thanks so much!
Applelover, I am also an ovo-lacto veg that just recently started to lean towards a more vegan diet... I think I am going through a transition phase right now as well!
I am in the same boat as you, as far as trying to find out exactly which ingredients to avoid... In this months issue of Vegetarian Times they have a great article of things to avoid if you are vegetarian or vegan... Here are some that I found especially helpful:
1.) "Gelatin" (I have found this is in a LOT of foods, including some you would not normally think of such as cereals and dry-roasted peanuts.) Veg-friendly alternatives include thickeners from seaweed (such as carrageenan and agar-agar) or locust bean gum (carob tree sap)
2.) "Carmine" (also listed as cochineal extract or carminic acid) Made from ground cochineal beetles. Found in applesauce, fruit drinks, fruit cocktail cherries, and puddings. Veg-friendly alternatives include synthetic colorings such as FD&C Red No. 40 (although I would personally avoid that as well)
3.) "Isinglass" is a protein from fish bladders that is found in most Britich or Irish beers, and premium white wines. Most keg, canned, or bottled beers are veg-friendly though...
4.) "Lard" A purified white fat from hog organs. Found in seasoned beans, store-bought baked goods, and some chewing gum. Look for brands with vegetable fats.
5.) "Anchovies" We all know these are little nasty fish... Enough said... (However make sure to check ingredients on salad dressings and Worcestershire sauces as they can sneak these little guys in there...)
6.) "Whey" Another ingredient usually easy to spot, but surprisingly added to many breads, cakes, soups, and crackers...
7.) "Vitamin D3" (This was surprising to me!!!) Also known as cholecalciferol, it is an additive made from fish oils or lanolin (oil from sheep wool), but a few minutes in the sun will usually give you enough vitamin D3. Found in some margarine and orange juice. Look for products that contain "Vitamin D2" which is derived from plant sources.
8.) "Rennet" was also on the list, but that is added to cheese which you would avoid as a vegan anyway...
* Another interesting fact is that raw sugar is often bleached and purified by running it through a filter of bone char, the carbon residue of superheated cattle bones. This is not listed on labels however, but look for all-natural organic sugars that are filtered with granular carbon. Beet sugar, Sucanat, and turbinado sugar are other options. (Yes I know I am the girl who posted the "sugar" thread a few days ago - I am just educating with what I found in this magazine! ;))
For more details look for the March issue of VT. I also know vegans avoid honey, although I am still kind of confused as to why that is... I have some research to do on that one! I hope that this helps you (and others) - I have been meaning to type this up and post it for a while now! Good luck with your transition to veganism ;D
* Another interesting fact is that raw sugar is often bleached and purified by running it through a filter of bone char, the carbon residue of superheated cattle bones. This is not listed on labels however, but look for all-natural organic sugars that are filtered with granular carbon.
I just wanted to let you know that it is not 'raw' sugar that you are thinking about. Raw sugar is just that dehydrated sugar cane juice. No refinement. White table sugar is what you want to watch out for.
Also besides the obvious health benefits, the less refined foods you buy the easier it is to keep track of the ingredients. The best way to make sure you are getting enough of what you need is to eat a wide variety of foods. Eat from all of the colors of the rainbow and include whole grains and beans.Good luck!!!!
P.S. sprayed on 'cheese' doesn't count as yellow ;D
i've found the easiest thing for me is to find out about vegan brands BEFORE i go to the store... for things like breads, margarine, canned soups, cereal etc, it's easier to know what brand to look for rather than sitting in the aisle trying to read fine print. that way you can also make a point of supporting vegan/organic/natural brands, rather than just regular brands that left out animal crap unintentionally.