watch out!

When you go vegan, you have to be prepared to do a lot of label reading. It will get easier as time goes on and you become more familiar with the foods you like. But at the start you'll want to check everything thrice to make sure there are no nasties in it - especially when you buy meat substitues as these look and taste so realistic you might panic you picked up the wrong packet every now and then! What most people don't know is what to look out for on these labels.

Before you go vegan, you think that anything that doesn't have dairy products or eggs in it is vegan. This isn't the case. For some bizarre reason, manufacturers put a load of weird and horrible animal products in lots of food to help with the creation process, taste and colour. Lots of cosmetics also use non-vegan ingredients so always check your makeup too. If something says vegan on the box, you're good to go! But if it doesn't, just have a double check it doesn't contain any of these...

casein

A protein found in milk

lactose

A sugar found in milk

whey

A powder that comes from milk that is found in lots of products, such as bread, crisps & baked good

collagen

Found in the skin, bones and tissue of animals which is usually added to cosmetic products

elastin

Found in the neck ligaments and aorta of cows which is usually added to cosmetic products

keratin

Also found in the skin, bones and tissue of animals

gelatine

Created through boiling the skin, tendons, ligaments and bones of cows and pigs which is usually used in jelly sweets, cakes and vitamins

aspic

This is an alternative to gelatine made from clarified meat or vegetable stock and gelatine

lard

A animal fat

shellac

Comes from the bodies of small female insects

Honey

Food made by bees, for bees

propolis

Bees use this to construct their hives

royal jelly

The discharge of a honeybee's throat gland

vitamin d3

Fish liver oil which is usually found in body care products and vitamins

albumin

A protein in eggs

insinglass

Found in dried swim bladders of fish usually used to make wine and beer clear

cod liver oil

Derived from cod fish liver usually used in body care products and vitamins

pepsin

Found in pigs' stomachs usually used for vitamins

e120

Cochineal & Carmine which are created by crushed insects to create a red food colouring

e542

Edible animal bone phosphate

e613

An inosinate produced from meat

e901

Beeswax which is produced by honeybees

e904

Shellac which is derived from beetles

e913

Ianolin which is excreted by sheep skin and extracted from sheep wool

e966

Lactitol which is made by milk sugar

e1105

Lysozyme which is derived from eggs

Please remember that trying to constantly check for all of these ingredients in all of the products you buy is incredibly difficult. It's absolutely fine for you to make mistakes! Please don't feel too guilty if you accidentally eat something containing one of these ingredients - I guarantee we've all done it, no matter how long we've been vegan!

It's such a shame that so many products contain these ingredients which is unnecessary, but hopefully in the future there will be a reduction in the use of these animal byproducts. 

If you know of any more ingredients to watch out for, please let me know so I can add them to the list.