So whilst i’m writing this we’re currently twelve days in to Vegananuary, i’m hoping that you’re enjoying it and are seeing positive changes within yourself, have you found anything so far that has surprised you either positively or negatively?
After speaking to several non-vegans recently, something that struck a chord with me is how many people don’t know that a-lot of the everyday foods that they’re eating can be Incorporated into a vegan diet. Being vegan is definitely easy when you know how and you don’t have to miss out.
When you start looking at the ingredients on products you may find yourself surprised at what ingredients are in your food or even more what ingredients you’d expect to find that aren’t in there. I used the vegan hive mind to help me come up with a list of foods that are “accidentally vegan” and foods that are “surprisingly not vegan”. Please note when I say that these foods are vegan i’m purely speaking in the sense that there are not any ingredients that you cannot eat in a vegan diet listed. I am not saying that the brands are good vegan brands however for the purpose of Vegananuary I am stating foods that contain no animal by-products.
Sweets and treats: There’s a surprising amount of accidentally vegan treats out there, a lot of chocolate flavoured biscuits such as chocolate bourbons and Oreo’s, (although in the uk the peanut butter flavour are not vegan, however US peanut butter Oreo’s are vegan) as well as Dark chocolate chip “cookie” style biscuits, beware though some of these do still contain milk but look out for Fox’s cookie mini’s, these are vegan and I know they’re currently sold in Tesco’s in the UK. There are lots of other non-chocolate vegan biscuits such as; the most delicious sugar biscuits Party Rings , Fruit Shortcake and classics such as Hobnobs.
Of course it’s not just biscuits that are vegan the CO-OP’s freshly baked pies, jam and custard doughnuts are all also vegan, they do a range of flavours including cherry and apple, and of course strawberry Jam doughnuts. As it stands at the moment I am not aware of any other supermarket having their own branded vegan doughnuts and pies, please note that they always have to by law state allergens if you are still wary you can always ask. Mr Kipling’s jam and treacle tarts are also vegan and these can be found in most supermarkets.
Good news for pop tart fans! Unfrosted pop tarts are vegan, however the iced pop tarts contain gelatin and so aren’t vegan! you can always add your own frosting after though for sugary fix. Also make sure to look at the backs of biscuits and cookies that have icing, as often they use gelatin to set the icing.
The biggest issue that you’ll find with sweets is Gelatin or red food dye, which is commonly seen as Carmine, Crimson Lake, Cochineal, Carminic acid or Natural red #4. These food colourings are derived from crushed bugs and there for are not vegan. There are plenty of sweets that don’t contain these though including gummy/jelly sweets. Jelly tots and most fruit laces are vegan, and there are plenty of others too such as sherbert, flying saucer sweets, parma violets and fizzers just to mention a few.
Along side of sweets lets not forget my personal favourite treat chocolate! I’ve always favoured chocolate over everything else. Normally in the free from section you can buy dairy free chocolate, but you can also buy some dark chocolate found in the usual sweets and chocolate section that is also vegan. I always get frustrated with the dark chocolate section, brands that used to exclude milk such as Green and Blacks now use milk, luckily there are now other brands that don’t use milk products, a brand called Doisy and Dam do several vegan bars and some store branded bars do not contain milk.
Crisps and savory snacks: Good news for vegans in the UK, with veganism becoming more and more popular brands are following suit. I’ve recently noticed in Sainsbury’s a huge influx in crisps that are now being labelled vegan and gluten free. On my vegan journey, crisps have been quite surprising, some of the flavours you’d expect to be vegan aren’t and vice versa. Salt and vinegar crisps such as Pringles contain milk powder and some prawn cocktail flavoured crisps are vegan. It hugely varies from brand to brand, so either look for the packets that have vegan clearly labelled on the front or check the back of each packets all allergens such as Milk and eggs will be in BOLD, so they will be easier to see however honey for instance won’t be so you’ll have to scour the ingredients to check. It’s not just regular potato crisps that are vegan you can also buy store branded onion rings, “bacon” rashers and just a sneaky heads up, Aldi do their own version of “Skips” which are absolutely delicious.
Not accidentally vegan, but there’s loads of other varieties of delicious salted snacks that are vegan, such as Yushoi (pea snacks), nuts and Plantain Chips to list some of my favourites.
So as well as snacks there’s plenty of fridge and cupboard foods to keep an eye out for. For instance a lot of packaged Falafels unfortunately are not vegan and contain egg or dairy, I believe it to be a lot of supermarket own branded Falafels that aren’t, but pictured above is Cauldron Falafels, luckily these are vegan and you can buy them in various supermarkets (I found these in Sainsbury’s).
Keeping in line with fresh produce, dips often contain milk. Guacamole for instance is definitely one of those foods that shouldn’t contain dairy, but more often than not contains cream, though in my personal opinion fresh guac is definitely nicer anyway and you get more for your money. 😉
it’s always worth checking tomato sauce (Ketchup) too, I’ve noticed that a lot of store branded ketchup contains milk however Heinz is okay. Just be wary when you’re getting a burger from somewhere that isn’t 100% vegan, and make sure they don’t use cheap branded dairy sauces!
Getting take away or eating on the go can always be tricky, I think this is where a lot of people struggle especially if you have a busy life style. Luckily loads of places such as starbucks and supermarkets are now doing vegan wraps and sandwiches. Only recently Starbucks released new sandwiches including a bbq jackfruit and slaw wrap (I cannot wait to get my hands on this!) As veganism is increasing in popularity and things like vegananuary are happening more and more supermarkets are increasing their ranges of both fresh and cupboard products and it’s come a long way from just chips, salad and falafel being the only vegan options. This leads me on to my last and final check list, be careful of store bought salads. They put a lot of unnecessary ingredients into salad dressings, finding things like eggs and dairy in your vinaigrette unfortunately isn’t too uncommon so just keep an eye out!
I know that this can seem very overwhelming, but being vegan is actually incredibly easy. There are lots of pages that can help you, out check out the Accidentally Vegan page on Instagram and Facebook, they post frequently with new vegan finds. Luckily we’re living in this wonderful age where veganism is no longer just sticking to a home cooked diet and a lot of new companies are coming forward with new amazing vegan products. Good luck on your vegananuary journey, and look out for more posts and recipes that are coming soon.