The list of false vegetarian foods may well shock you. It is surprising what food is sometimes made of. Many new vegetarians are surprised by the numbers of things that have animal products inside. The discovery of what they can and cannot eat is sometimes quite shocking and leads some people to feel that their diet is severely restricted. Shocking foodstuffs not being vegetarian is becoming less prevalent as manufacturers begin to label things as vegetarian with a little symbol. Many countries have introduced labeling laws and many companies started labeling foodstuffs because of the hailstorm of horror that McDonald's caused through no fault of their own in the early 90’s*. Let’s take a look at some of the common false vegetarian foods.
This is the biggest surprise for most new vegetarians in their twenties and thirties, when they find out that marshmallows are one of many false vegetarian foods. By the age or twenty or thirty, a person has their own place and starts to care about what they eat. All of a sudden the white and grey limp chicken slithers they ate in their teens do not look so delicious. They shop for groceries and pick things that look like they should be vegetarian. We are not all food scientists, so if there are chunks of meat in something, then how are we to know? Marshmallows have gelatin in them, which means that most are not vegetarian. Whether you are dipping them in your coffee, roasting them on a campfire or giving them to your kids, you are feeding them a farmed animal. The same goes for gummy bears in many cases, and many a wobbly jello.
This is a big hit in Britain and Europe, with many Americans also enjoying cheesecake for dessert instead of traditional sweet pies. Some companies help the cheese to set with gelatin, but worse still, very few manufacturers use free-range eggs. Therefore, even if you find cheesecakes without gelatin inside, you are still subjecting a chicken to a life inside a cage no bigger than a shoebox. The best vegetarian cheesecake? – One you make yourself!
3. Parmigiano Reggiano
It’s a common mistake to think all cheese is vegetarian – there are examples of false vegetarian foods in the cheese group and one is the much used parmesan. They make this cheese with the enzymes from the gut of animals. Sadly it can be manufactured, but slaughterhouses have such an overstock of the enzyme that it is far, far cheaper.
The dried noodles that you can purchase in packets or cups will sometimes have meat in them. Chicken flavored noodles are the biggest culprits because chicken stock is so easy and cheap to make that it is cheaper to put a chicken broth powder in with the noodles than it is to use artificial flavorings, such as those commonly seen in potato chips.
This is another group of products that might be misleading vegetarian foods. You will have to check the label to see which is vegetarian and which is not, because a lot of them have slaughterhouse by-products in them, ranging from preservatives to things stopping the ingredients from separating.
6. Worcestershire Sauce
This is made with tiny fish that have a very powerful flavor. The fish are called anchovies, such as the ones you get on a pizza, and they make Worcester Sauce one of many sauces that are false vegetarian foods. There are lots of vegetarian alternatives to the original Worcestershire Sauce recipe, so you will not be stuck for ideas if you need it.
7. Cake Mix
This may contain beef fat that is otherwise known as lard. If a person were making a cake the traditional way, then the wet items such as the butter would be added to make a perfect cake. Cake mixes cannot afford to add butter to their cake mix as it would rot away too quickly, so many of them use beef fat.
8. Orange Juice
The orange juices such as Tropicana’s Heart Healthy Orange Juice have added Omega 3 that is derived from fish. Keep a careful eye on packaging and ingredients or, alternatively, make your own juice at home.
There really is only one way to avoid false vegetarian foods and that is to be vigilant. Read labels and get to know the names of those seemingly insignificant ingredients that appear far down the list that are derived from animal products. Have you ever been caught out by misleading vegetarian foods?
The McDonald’s story: Ray Kroc, the co-founder, agreed to start using vegetable oil to make McDonald's fries when thousands of vegetarians worldwide caused a media frenzy when they discovered that McDonald's French fries were fried in beef fat. Millions of people were horrified when in fact McDonald's did nothing wrong. Their slaughterhouses have millions of gallons of spare fat, which they simply recycled to make their fries. As recently as 2009, an Asian McDonald's franchise admitted selling French fries made in beef fat, and McDonald's agreed to pay $10 million to Hindu groups.