Not what comes out of it, but what you’re putting in.

When I adopted a vegan diet nearly twenty years ago, I became somewhat obsessed with food labeling. It’s quite fascinating what you can learn on the back of a package!

It features the fat, protein and carbohydrate breakdown, and sometimes a little story of the products’ humble beginnings on some farm or in Grandma’s kitchen.

But, what about the ingredients? Especially the ones with words you’ve never heard of, much less pronounce?

Alot of times, ingredients that pass as “cruelty-free” may sometimes feature an animal-derived ingredient. Believe me, you won’t want to have these disgusting hidden animal ingredients anywhere near your pie hole :-/.

Here are a few examples:

CARMINE- the red coloring used in some candies, is made from ground-up bugs. It’s also found in wines and lip balms. Creepy!

Alternatives: beet juice and alkanet root.

WHEY– Whey is about 75% lactose!  It’s a by-product of the cheese making process.  It’s really a waste product, but the clever dairy industry has figured out how to market this product to what seems like the entire prepared food industry. *insert Price is Right losing horn*

Alternative: soybean whey.

CASEIN—Whey’s cousin, casein is made from curdled milk. Found in “nondairy” creamers and soy cheese. VEGANS BEWARE!

Alternatives: soy protein, soy milk, and other vegetable milks.

GELATIN— a protein made by boiling cows’ and pigs’ skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones(skeleton). Hey; gelatin…skeleton! No wonder! So much for Jell-O, eh? Found in marshmallows, ice cream, yogurts and sometimes used to assist in “clearing” wines!

Alternatives: carrageen (carrageenan, Irish moss), seaweeds (algin, agar-agar, kelp—used in jellies), pectin from fruits, dextrins, locust bean gum, cotton gum, silica gel.

LARD—that word doesn’t even sound cute! Much less its origins, which is the fat from hog abdomens. Found in french fries and refried beans. Ewww!

Alternatives: pure vegetable fats or oils.

MONO and DIGLYCERIDES are made from cow or pig fat. Found in cake mixes and candies.

Alternative: vegetable glycerides.

PEPSIN— a clotting agent from pigs’ stomachs, used in some cheeses and vitamins.

Alternatives: bacteria culture, lemon juice, or vegetable rennet.

RENNET— an enzyme taken from baby calves’ stomachs, is used for coagulation in cheese production…*gagging*

Alternatives: same as pepsin (above).

STEARIC ACID— a fatty substance taken from slaughtered pigs’ stomachs—or from cows, sheep, or dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters. Usually featured in chocolates, chewing gums and food flavorings.

Alternative: vegetable fats and coconut.

UREA—comes from urine and other “bodily fluids.” It’s used to “brown” baked goods, like pretzels…a.k.a SHELLAC!

Sorry I had to be the bearer of bad (in a good way) news, folks. Look on the bright side: you will no longer be deceived! EARTHCANDY CARES!

Wanna pull the curtain back on some more ingredients? Here’s an extensive list to give you hours worth of investigation.

Getcho Nancy Drew/Sherlock Holmes/ Jessica Fletcher on!


5 responses »

  1. The Gza was right when he said “You Gotta read the labels”… though I’m not quite sure this is what he had in mind…

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