(AscendHealthy.com) – If you’re vegetarian for ethics, health or other reasons, you’re probably pretty careful about not eating animal products. But a lot of seemingly vegetarian foods have added ingredients that aren’t so animal-friendly. The number of foods containing animal products that aren’t specifically listed on the label might surprise you.
These Foods Aren’t Actually Vegetarian.
It Helps to Read the Fine Print
If you’re unsure about what’s really in your food, you’re not alone. A lot of people choose foods based on the ingredients listed but don’t realize there might be much more to the story.
With vegetarian foods, something that looks like it doesn’t contain animal products could actually be made with them. Here are 8 foods that seem vegetarian at first glance, but really aren’t.
1. Lucky Charms
The marshmallows in Lucky Charms cereal are made with gelatin, which is made from collagen found in animals. That collagen is things like tendons, bones, cartilage, and skin. While the cereal itself might be vegetarian, the marshmallows most certainly are not.
Twinkies, like the majority of shelf-stable foods, are made with beef fat. They don’t list it on the ingredient label, but it’s in there. It’s part of the preservative process, and that’s usually a process that’s full of animal products.
3. Vegetable Soup
Unless it says “vegetarian vegetable” on the label, it’s probably made with beef or chicken stock as a base. Take a careful look at the label, and you’ll find one or both of those in the ingredient list.
4. Pesto Sauce
Pesto sauce seems innocent enough, but the parmesan cheese that’s commonly in it is made with rennet. That’s an enzyme that comes from the stomachs of calves, and it doesn’t have to be listed in the ingredients. Some companies do list it, but it’s important to know that it’s not a requirement.
5. Worcestershire Sauce
If you like this as a condiment — whether or not you can pronounce it easily — be aware. Many brands of Worcestershire sauce contain anchovies. Some list it on their label and some don’t, but it’s often a part of the ingredients.
6. Cake Mix
Check boxed cake mixes for lard. If that’s listed in the ingredients, it’s code for “pork fat” — and not vegetarian. A lot of boxed mixes have lard as part of their dry ingredients, to add to the richness of the cake.
7. BBQ Potato Chips
Chips frequently contain beef or chicken fat, and BBQ chips are common culprits for this. Look for the fat to be listed on the label, or look for schmaltz, as it’s sometimes called. Some BBQ chips are safe from these ingredients, but others are not.
8. White Sugar
Probably the most surprising addition to this list is plain white sugar. While it’s vegetarian as a product, it’s often processed with “bone char.” That’s just charred cattle bones, and it’s a common process for brown and confectioner’s sugar, too.
There are a lot of options for vegetarian foods, or for substitutes for items you might commonly choose. Reading labels can help, as can looking up any ingredients you don’t recognize. That way, you’ll be much closer to sticking to a vegetarian diet and can reduce the accidental ingestion of animal products.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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