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Foods to Avoid as a Vegan

Obviously vegans avoid eating foods that come from animals but if you are new to the vegan lifestyle, you might be surprised just how many products contain animal products, so it is important to read labels when you are buying new products.

When I first cut out meat, I didn’t “click” that honey is an animal based product, if you are following a strict vegan diet then you need to avoid honey and all honey related products. 

Obvious Animal Foods

These are all the obvious foods that you should avoid as a vegan

Meat: Beef, lamb, pork .

Poultry: Chicken, turkey, goose, duck, quail, 

Fish and seafood: All types of fish, anchovies, shrimp, squid, scallops, calamari, mussels, crab, lobster and fish sauce.

Dairy: Milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, cream, ice cream

All eggs

Bee products

Ingredients/Additives That Come From Animals

These ingredients and additives come from animals. It is easy to miss them in the ingredient list if you do not know they are from animals.  This is why reading labels is always important. 

Food additives derived from animal products: E120, E322, E422, E 471, E542, E631, E901 and E904.

Cochineal or carmine: This is a natural dye used to give foods a red colour and is made from ground cochineal scale insects.

Gelatin: This thickening agent comes from the skin, bones and connective tissues of cows and pigs. It is often used in sweets. 

Isinglass: Check your wine or beer for this  gelatin-like substance that is derived from fish bladders.

Natural flavorings: Check what flavourants are used in your products (especially things like chips or flavoured nuts etc)

Omega-3 fatty acids: Most omega-3s come from fish, making them animal based. Look for omega-3 that comes from algae as these are vegan friendly.

Vitamin D3: Again a lot of vitamin D3 comes from fish oil or alternatively it is derived from the lanolin found in sheep’s wool.

Dairy ingredients: Be on the look out for whey or casein as both of these come from cows.

Reading labels can be overwhelming. My general rule of thumb is that if there is a long ingredient list, I put it back. I try to add as little processed food to our diet and the products I do add contain very few ingredients – this makes it easier to keep track of exactly what we are eating. 


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