There’s Fish in My Orange Juice

Really, I didn’t buy it.  But while shopping and deciding between the too many options for OJ I started reading labels.  Tropicana’s Heart Healthy Omega 3 enriched juice is enriched with sardines and anchovies.  I’m certain this would have disgusted me even when I was eating fish.  Do the people at Tropicana know that Omega 3’s can be found in flax seed?  Or simpler, what’s wrong with expecting nothing but oranges in my OJ?

This got me wondering what other products are out there that we consume as vegetarians that aren’t actually veg friendly?  Many of these ubiquious products I was aware of but then there were a few that even surprised me.  I decided to comprise a list of items vegetarians might not realize contain animal products.

Sara Lee and Wonder have both gotten caught up in the Omega 3 craze.  They both offer DHA enriched breads.  DHA is found is fatty fish.  Vegetarian sources are available in seaweed.

Parmesan Cheese:  This one really surprised me.  It contains Rennet which is s a natural complex of enzymes  produced in a mammal’s stomach meant to digest the mother’s milk.  This is making me think harder about becoming a vegan.  There is such a fine line between it all.

Many frosted cereals are not veg because the frosting contains gelatin.  Gelatin is really quite awful when you get down to it.  Ingredients include boiled bones, tendons, and animal skins.  Frosted Mini Wheat’s top the list and any cereal that contain marshmallows.  Frosted Flakes are actually considered vegan.  Also, avoid frosted items like Pop Tarts, they contain gelatin and  and in reality serve no nutritional purpose anyway.

A majority of cereals contain D3.  Sources of D3  are either lanolin or fish.  I’m not sure how you find out which source other than contacting a company directly.  Lanolin is one of those items that that might be considered alright depending upon your personal beliefs.

Many yogurts also contain gelatin.  I purchase Publix store brand which thickens with cornstarch instead.  Read labels carefully before purchasing.

Vegetarian Pad Thai when ordered out will almost always contain fish sauce which unsurprisingly is made from fish. You can purchase vegetarian fish sauce but I haven’t found it locally.  This one really bummed me out.  It was a favorite of mine when dining out.  I haven’t made a vegetarian version that’s worth posting yet.  Hopefully one day!

Refrigerated pie dough contain lard which is rendered fat from a pig.  I am able to find veg versions in the frozen aisle.  It’s also quite easy to make and roll out your own pie dough.

Many chocolates contain emulsifiers and whey.  Emulsifiers are also lecithin which is often derived from animal fat,  Veg sources would  likely be from genetically modified soybeans. Ghirardelli makes vegetarian chocolate.  One of my favorite snacks is munching on baking chocolate chips right out of the bag.  Yet another reason weight loss is an issue!

Some beer and wine contain isinglass.  This is a collagen derived from dried swim bladders of fish.

Any pill that is gel coated is coated  in gelatin.  My Dr suggested I take vitamin E and I found that CVS store brand has a liquid form that is vegetarian.

The natural flavoring that is added to almost all commericially produced french fries contain beef tallow.  Make your own.

Ok, this is enough depressing news for one day.  Sorry about that, but I do think it’s important that we know what we’re consuming.  In the near future I will post a list of foods that are surprisingly vegetarian.  To leave you on a good note I will mention that Oreo’s are vegan!

  1. There are some easy vegetarian ways to avoid fish sauce. Thai red curry is my favorite dish to incorporate fish sauce, but sugar or soy sauce can be used instead (no change in measurements necessary.)

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