A vegetarian diet has many advantages, such as a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. You are also doing something against animal suffering and helping the environment by reducing CO2 emissions and preserving biodiversity by not eating meat and fish. A vegan diet goes one step further and not only does not eat animals, but all animal products, including eggs and dairy products.
Clever tricks and ideas to save time and get creative while cooking. (Scroll down for article.)
From vegetables to nuts to legumes, you can basically eat everything in a vegetarian or vegan diet. However, it is not always obvious at first glance whether all products are suitable for vegetarians or vegans.
Some foods contain animal ingredients that you would not expect to find in them. In addition, some ingredients are difficult to identify due to incomprehensible abbreviations on the packages. The following article explains which foods require a second look if you prefer a purely plant-based diet.
1.) Colored pasta
As is well known, the eye eats with you. It’s great that there are noodles in different colors. But it is surprising that these colorful noodles are not always vegetarian. If you look at the list of ingredients, you will find out why: these noodles often contain the red dye “carmine”. This is obtained by grinding lice and is therefore not required for a vegetarian diet.
Tip: Carmine is also identified as “E120” on the ingredients list. If, on the other hand, you discover the abbreviation “E124”, it is synthetically produced carmine. You can eat this as a vegetarian or vegan without hesitation.
On the one hand, chips often contain powdered milk or lactose, which are out of the question for vegans. In addition to the milk sugar marked on the package, chips can also contain other animal products. The problem: If these are only used as flavor carriers for the snack, they do not have to be stated on the packaging (in Germany).
Tip: To make sure your favorite chips aren’t affected, you can check this list from animal rights organization PETA, or contact the manufacturer directly.
It is well known that gummy bears often contain gelatine of animal origin. However, beverage manufacturers also use gelatine to clear turbidity from juices, beer or wine.
Tip: Most vegan wines are now labeled. However, if there is neither a seal nor a label (E 441) in the list of ingredients, you can ask the manufacturer directly in case of doubt.
Even pesto is not vegetarian if it was made according to the original recipe. Because this contains parmesan and this is made with the help of rennet. Rennet is taken from the stomachs of slaughtered calves and is found in about a third of all cheeses.
Tip: A look at the list of ingredients brings security. Synthetic rennet (labeled as microbial rennet) is now also often used, making it easier for vegetarians. Vegans should also make sure that the pesto does not contain either egg or cheese.
Breakfast cereals often contain animal gelatin. This is used for the sugary coating of the breakfast cereal.
Tip: Before buying, you should also take a look at the list of ingredients and possibly look for an alternative.
6.) Baked Goods
Look a little more carefully next time when you buy bread. Because if you read the abbreviation “E920”, you should leave it as a vegan. This abbreviation stands for the amino acid L-cysteine, which is obtained from bird feathers and pig bristles. It is often used to prepare flour.
For vegans, milk powder could also be a stumbling block when buying bread. This is often added to baked goods to make them more durable.
Tip: Ask the baker for the ingredient list to find out what’s in your favorite baked goods. Or you can bake your own bread without further ado.
You should also exercise caution with the fruit yoghurt in the morning. Some brands add gelatin to the milk product to make it firmer.
Tip: As an ingredient, gelatine must be listed on the packaging so that you can quickly find out whether the product is suitable for vegetarian diets or not. There are now many vegan fruit yoghurts made from soy or other legumes that can compete with dairy products in terms of taste.
8.) Cocktail sauce
The reddish cocktail sauce is often used as a barbecue sauce or salad dressing. Few people know that this one contains anchovies, i.e. small anchovies.
Tip: There are now also vegan cocktail sauces that do not contain any animal products. A look at the ingredient list will tell you if a product is vegetarian-friendly.
It sounds impossible that bananas, being natural products, should contain animal products. The problem does not lie in the fruit itself, but in the treatment of it. Many producers spray the bananas with the pesticide chitosan. This is obtained from the shells of shrimp and insects and is intended to prevent the bananas from ripening too quickly.
Tip: With organic bananas you can be sure that they do not contain any pesticides and are therefore suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
It is sometimes frightening how many products from the supermarket contain animal ingredients. However, once you’ve done some “detective work” with this list, you’ll soon know which foods are safe to eat as a vegetarian or vegan.
Sources: desired, peta two, technician health insurance, nutri plus
Thumbnails: ©Flickr/mroach ©Flickr/Angel Ganev