Probably the hardest thing about going vegan is dodging old habits. They really do die hard. Some foods are eaten by beginning vegans out of habit, even when they’re trying their hardest. Others may not be thought of as non-vegan. For instance, just last week, I ordered a chai latte, without thinking to ask for soy milk. Now, I knew chai lattes contain milk. I just ordered it the same way I always have out of habit. What non-vegan or unhealthy foods should beginning vegans be aware of?
Be cautious about condiments
If you’re accustomed to putting mayo on sandwiches and you still have some lurking in your fridge, you might pick up the jar out of habit. Of course, we all know mayo is mostly eggs, which are decidedly not vegan. You should also think twice about salad dressings. Are they milk or egg based? Do they contain anchovies?
Note: Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies. Caesar salad dressing contains anchovies and dairy products.
Read every label
I love granola. I know it’s overrated nutrition-wise. Plus, it’s a processed food. I very rarely eat them. But, at least it’s vegan. Or so I thought. As it turns out, my favorite granola contains powdered milk. Who knew? If you’re going vegan, be sure to read the labels of your favorite foods.
Is candy vegan?
Not if it’s dyed red or chewy. Of course there are exceptions. Still, the food industry commonly uses a red dye known as carmine. It’s made from an insect. Chewy candy often contains gelatin, a substance made from animal by-products, bones and skin. So if you’re trying to go vegan, stay away from that jiggly-wiggly colorful dessert too.
Note: Jelly often contains gelatin as well. Jam is a safer bet, but watch the sugar content.
How about those sugar substitutes?
Honey is definitely not vegan. Agave is vegan, but no better for you than sugar. Artificial sweeteners may be vegan, but they’re not good for your health. High fructose is no friend of vegans, being so closely connected with GMO corn.
Vegan foods are not always healthy.
Let me qualify that statement. Being vegan is healthy. Not paying attention to what you eat is unhealthy, even for vegans. Potato chips are vegan. Excess salt and grease make them unhealthy. Meat substitutes are vegan, yet some are also loaded with fat and/or salt. The same is true for most vegan cheese. Going vegan is not a guarantee of good health. You still have to watch what you eat.
More from Jaipi:
The Right Way to Go Vegan
Redefining Treats as a Vegan
Vegan Tips for Attending Omnivore Barbecues