Friday, October 19, 2012

Vegan Snacks and Ingredients: Things to be Aware Of

I received two messages recently that I thought would be good for everyone to read.  Both are in reference to lists we use (and need to update) that talk about vegan snacks and cereals.  We use third party lists, so I need to get back in touch with the other groups to let them know of these concerns.  But in the mean time, please read these two postings below as they contain great information.   Here are the two emails:

> I noticed in your cereal list, that you were quite wrong about some cereals
> being vegan/vegetarian. Cheerios & Multigrain Cheerios both contain Vitamin
> D3, which is derived from sheep. I just thought I would have you be aware of
> that so you can remove it from the list. Along with anything Kraft, as it is
> made with Enzymes, which are made from calf stomachs.

Unfortunately the Peta list of "Vegan" stuff isn't actually vegan. It's an awful resource really because on the bottom of the list it has a disclaimer that basically says that the items that are listed are "mostly vegan...because it's hard for everyone to eat completely vegan". DO NOT USE PETA'S LIST IF YOU'RE A NEW VEGAN. At least not without double checking the ingredients after you've learned about the sneaky ingredients that make something not vegan. Some recipes do change over the years so you may get lucky and find one that used to not be vegan is now vegan! Some things to watch out for that were in MANY things from this list are: red 40, whey, casein and L-Cysteine (which you will find in some cookie/pastry type snacks. It's a dough conditioner used commercially that is made from hair.) If something contains margarine, DON'T assume it's vegan! Most margarine brands actually DO have dairy in them. A few off brand names are vegan. Speaking of off brands, you will have more luck with those brands being accidentally vegan. I'm not entirely sure but my guess is it's somehow cheaper to make them that way. In particular, a lot of dollar stores carry a lot of accidentally vegan snacks. With "Freshley's" brand oatmeal creme pies they use oils instead of creme, so it's vegan. BUT you still don't know if the sugar is vegan. This is tricky to find out so you'll either just have to trust it, call the company and talk to someone about where they get their sugar from (certain companies just don't use processes that involve animals) or forgo the cheap yummy snacks and pay for something labeled as vegan or an organic snack, as all organic sugar is vegan. Red 40 is something to really watch out for if you're committed to being vegan. I've seen a lot of vegans who simply ignore the fact that something has Red 40 in it because they like the snack. THAT MEANS YOU ARE EATING SOMETHING THAT IS NOT VEGAN. You need to know this and let this sink in before you nosh on that snack with Red 40 in it! Red 40 is a very commonly used dye that is made of smashed up carmine beetles. Recently there was huge scandal when people found out it's in about half of the Starbucks drinks. (Except you're totally fine with munching on those Skittles, "but God that's so gross, Starbucks!" I heard someone actually say that as they were eating a bag of skittles and gummy bears at the same time. Oh boy...) But anyways, there are a lot of sneaky ingredients and companies change their recipes a lot, which sometimes makes things accidentally vegan, but sometimes also makes something that was vegan NOT vegan. If anyone wants some cheap snack suggestions/brands for things that are commonly used/craved, e-mail me at and I'd be more than happy to help!

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