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What Does Being Vegan Really Mean?

There are a number of ways in which folks approach being vegan or vegetarian. Some are strict, while others are more lenient with what they include or exclude in their diets. What does being vegan really mean? Here at Zipongo, a vegan diet is about excluding all meat and dairy products including anything made with eggs. This means mayonnaise, some fresh pastas, most brownies and cakes are out, since eggs are used to make them.

Following a Strict Vegan Diet

If you’re interested in maintaining a strict vegan diet, then you’ll want to avoid the following:

  • White sugar: Some white sugar is processed with bone char.
  • Some alcoholic beveragesIsinglass (gelatin which comes from a fish’s bladder), egg albumen or bone char are used to filter wines, beers and liquors. To find out if your alcohol is vegan, look the company up on Barnivore.com. You can opt for many German beers and unfiltered wines instead.
  • Bread: While many simple breads are OK by vegan standards, some breads and baked goods are made with whey (dairy), butter, eggs or sugar.
  • Marshmallows: These and other foods, like gummy candies and Frosted Mini Wheats cereal, are made with gelatin  a protein made from boiling skin, bones and other animal parts.
  • Salad dressing: Look for lecithin, which helps keep oil and vinegar from separating, and can be derived from animal tissues, egg yolks or soy.
  • Egg noodles: These are typically found in Asian dishes like chow mein and pad Thai.

Other Common Non-Vegan Ingredients

Read labels and keep an eye out for the following cast of ingredients:

Orange jelly cubes on white background

  • Casein: a protein from milk. Surprisingly, this is often found in soy cheeses.
  • Carmine/Carminic acid: also known as Crimson Lake, Cochineal or Natural Red 4. Made from crushed cochineal insects with bright red shells. Used as a red food coloring.
  • Gelatin: produced from the collagen found in animal bones and hoofs. Used for marshmallows, Jello® and as a preservative.
  • Lactose: a protein from milk. That said, lactic acid is almost always vegan.
  • Vitamin D3: Found in fortified orange juice, vitamin D3 comes from Lanolin, a sheep product. D2, however, is vegan.
  • Whey: a milk protein often used as a protein boost in some commercial foods.

Linseed oil

Egg Replacements for Baking

  • Applesauce: gives off a gas while being cooked, making your baked goods fluffy. You also don’t have to add as much applesauce as you would powdered replacers. 1/4 cup applesauce = 1 egg
  • Ground flaxseed: When ground to a powder and liquified with water, ground flaxseed creates a gooey texture great for binding. It’s also full of protein and omega-3s. 1 teaspoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water = 1 egg
  • Banana: naturally sweet with strong binding properties. 1/2 banana = 1 egg
  • Baking soda/powder: When you really need your dish fluffy without the added flavor of apple sauce or any of the aforementioned ingredients. 1 teaspoon baking powder + 1 1/2 tablespoons water + 1 1/2 tablespoons oil or 1 tablespoon vinegar + 1 teaspoon baking soda = 1 egg
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