Cupid's Pulse Article: Food Tips: Seven Foods That Aren’t Really VeganCupid's Pulse Article: Food Tips: Seven Foods That Aren’t Really Vegan

By Hope Ankney

Sure, being vegan seems like an easy enough regiment to follow: Avoid dairy, meat, eggs, fish, and any animal-based ingredient. But, distinguishing what foods do and don’t contain some of these ingredients can be much harder to recognize, even for a seasoned veteran. It’s important to know what foods are safe, and surprisingly, some foods that seem vegan actually aren’t at all!

Being a vegan is great for a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes it’s difficult to know what foods are safe! In these food tips, find out some surprising foods that aren’t vegan.

Going to the grocery store as a vegan can be a slippery slope sometimes. It’s one thing to know that fruits, vegetables, and dry grains are safe dietary options for a vegan, but it’s another thing when the options become murkier. Reading labels becomes second-nature when it comes to pre-packaged foods because anything from lard to gelatin can be found in products that seem vegan-friendly upon first glance. But, if you’re now wondering if some of your favorite foods aren’t safe, don’t worry! Cupid has some food tips for seven foods that are, surprisingly, not vegan:

1. Bagels: Even though bagels might seem safe, many are known to contain L-cysteine, which is an amino acid that is found in human, duck, or even hog hair! This ingredient is added by many commercial food manufacturers because of how much it speeds up production and how it makes a nicer texture in the bread. That said, it’s more common than you think for manufacturers to use synthetic L-cysteine in their bagel products now. But, before you snag one on the way to the office, make sure the company you’re buying the bagel from has options suitable for vegans!

2. Honey: As delightful and appropriate as honey may look, it doesn’t fit the bill for being vegan. The key reason for this is because bees are killed during the production of honey. Honey is the main source of food for bees, and beekeepers tend to kill the queen bee to keep the production levels of the honey up. If you’re looking for alternatives, maple and agave are great options for your honey fix!

3. Refried beans: Vegans know to stay away from any products that contain or are cooked in lard. But, it’s not as common to know that foods that list ‘natural flavors’ could also mean they contain meat products! Make sure to know the sourcing and production process of these beans before assuming they’re suitable foods for vegans. Search out vegetarian refried beans to make sure meat isn’t used, and even then, check the label for other non-vegan products that could be involved.

Related Link: Food Tips: Natural Sugar Replacements

4. Marshmallows and Haribo treats: Unfortunately, most marshmallow and Haribo products contain two of a Vegan’s no-go ingredients: gelatin and possibly carmine (if the sweet is red). But, fear not! With the rise of veganism in the mainstream food industry, there’s a massive selection of vegan sweets that you can enjoy just like everyone else.

5. Some dark chocolate: Usually, dark chocolate can be checked off as vegan. However, there are some brands that do contain animal-derived ingredients such as whey, a variety of milk related products, or clarified butter. Those should easily be distinguishable on the back of a label, though, if you’re unsure next time you’re craving some dark chocolate.

6. Beer: Something that vegans really should be aware of is what beer is filtered with. Alcohol, in general, can be a slippery slope for vegans depending on what products go into creating the drink. But, with beer, many brands are filtered with isinglass. Isinglass is a membrane that is derived from tropical fish bladder. It usually is used to give your beer that bright and clear look. If you’re unsure of whether your beer is vegan or not, German and Belgian beers are usually great vegan-friendly alternatives!

Related Link: Popular Restaurants: Choose a Beef Alternative Like bRestaurant

7. Figs: Most times natural fruits are safe for vegans to eat. But, with figs, it’s a little more complicated. Unlike other products on this list, this situation isn’t due to industrial processing. Instead, it’s because female wasps lay their eggs inside figs. Often, these wasps are unable to escape from the fruit, and they decompose inside of it. Figs produce enzymes that break down the wasps so they’re a protein, but it’s hard not to think of this when you’re munching on certain kinds of figs that contain wasps. Yikes!

Did any of these foods surprise you as not being vegan-friendly? Comment down below!