If you want to eat more vegan food or learn about animal products, the first thing you need to do is understand what it means for something to be vegan-friendly. But it is also important to understand that there are many ways in which certain things are not suitable for vegans.
I want to give you a heads up: there is a great deal of information to understand, and you might be astonished to discover how many things are not suitable for vegans. Here’s a simple guide to help you understand and find vegan-friendly options.
What does it mean when something is vegan-friendly?
If something is vegan-friendly, it doesn’t have any ingredients that come from animals. But ideally, it also means that no animals or animal products were used when making it.
When products are labeled, the only difference between something being labeled “vegan” with a logo/trademark, and something being labeled “vegan-friendly” or “suitable for vegans” may be that the “vegan” label has a certification from a vegan organization. These certifications, which we will talk about in a moment, also guarantee that the product did not undergo testing on animals. Being vegan doesn’t always mean that something is cruelty-free.
Some products that test on animals are still considered vegan-friendly because the ingredients used in those products are vegan. For some people, being vegan-friendly means not supporting animal testing and not using ingredients that come from animals.
Which food ingredients are not suitable for vegans?
There are many ingredients that are not vegan. Some foods that you might assume to be completely vegan actually have one or more ingredients that come from animals. In addition to common items like milk and eggs, there are many foods and products that might appear to be vegan but actually are not.
For instance, animal products can be used to filter, remove foam, or make clear drinks like beer, wine, or fruit juice. So even though wine is made from grapes, it can be passed through substances made from animals like milk protein, blood, egg whites, fiber from crustacean shells, fish oil, protein from boiling animal parts, or fish bladder membranes. Wine may not actually be vegan-friendly, even though it seems like it should be since it comes from nature.
If you are a vegan who enjoys drinking wine, you do not have to worry. The use of animal-based substances to clarify the wine can be substituted with vegan alternatives such as carbon, clay, limestone, plant-based protein, gel, and vegetable extracts. Many wines do not mention the substances used to clarify them because they do not sound appealing. Instead, you should search for wines that are labeled as vegan, vegan-friendly, or that are marked as “unfiltered”.
If you want to learn more, Peta has made a big list of ingredients that come from animals and what you can use instead.
So What Are Generally Considered Vegan-Friendly Foods?
The best choices for vegan-friendly food are usually foods made from plants and whole grains. If you choose foods with less ingredients and those ingredients can stand alone as the food, you will have a good beginning. But here is a brief list:
.Fruits and vegetables
.Some breads, rice, and certain pasta
.Nuts and seeds
.Legumes such as peas, beans, and lentils
.Tofu, seitan, tempeh
How Do You Check To See If Packaged Foods Are Vegan?
Labels have improved a lot. As more and more people are becoming vegans, many brands are now indicating on their labels that their products are vegan-friendly. However, a brand can obtain an official vegan certification in a few different ways.
A product might have a “Vegan Trademark” if it has been given the green light by the Vegan Society to be certified as a vegan product. If a company or manufacturer says a product is vegan, but it hasn’t been approved by the Vegan Trademark, the Vegan Society might call it “vegan-friendly” instead of vegan.
Moreover, the Vegan Awareness Foundation, the organization responsible for Vegan. org, also provides a certification. If a product has the “Certified Vegan” logo, it means that it went through a process to make sure there are no animal products in it. To get certified as a vegan product by these organizations, it is necessary for the products to not cause harm to animals.
However, not all products that are suitable for vegans have obtained the necessary permission to use a specific trademark or certification. These products may still indicate that they are “vegan-friendly” or “suitable for vegans” without any official recognition. That doesn’t mean it’s not vegan, it just means it hasn’t been checked by an outside group to make sure it meets their requirements.
Not all vegan products are clearly marked as vegan or vegan-friendly. Don’t feel discouraged if something you want doesn’t advertise that it’s vegan on the label. But make sure to look at the list of ingredients to find out more information. One simple way to tell if something is not vegan is to check the allergen information. If it says “contains milk, eggs, shellfish,” then it’s definitely not vegan.
How can I find restaurants that serve food suitable for vegans?
Try Happy Cow provides information about vegan restaurants, healthy vegetarian food guides, natural food stores, and lists nearby options for those who follow a vegan diet. It also offers recipes and travel tips.
Are there any apps that are good for vegans?
YesThere are many useful apps that can act as guides. Here are a few that are worth downloading:
Is It Vegan, Cruelty Cutter, Vegaholic, AirVegan, Gonutss, and Food Monster are all names of apps or websites.
If you are interested in vegan products because of your health, to avoid animal cruelty, or to help the planet, it is worth considering being more vegan-friendly. There is a lot of information to learn, but once you begin to understand vegan labels, words, and ingredients, it will become easy for you. Like anything else, it might be a bit difficult at first, but as you go along, you’ll find that shopping for vegan products becomes easy.
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