Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Animal Ingredients

If you're not sure whether something is vegan or not vegan you can consult the book, Animal Ingredients A to Z available here:

Online lists:

Or you can use these four principles that I use:

1. If you have to look it up, put it down.
Don't buy products that have ingredients that aren't identifiable. If you don't know what it is, whether it comes from animals or plants, don't buy it.

2. Look for the word "VEGAN."
More and more companies identify their vegan products as vegan. The label will say "vegan" "vegan certified" "vegan-friendly" or "suitable for vegans" etc. Look for the word "vegan."

3. Avoid processed products.
When at the grocery store, do most of your shopping in the produce section. Eat mostly things like potatoes, broccoli, spinach, apples, oranges, squash, etc.

4. Determine the product's essence - is it essentially vegan?
If something is essentially vegan and there's a low chance of the item containing animal ingredients, it's reasonable to assume it's vegan. Examples include things like fruit juice, fruit sorbet, hummus, breakfast cereal, soda, bread, etc.

Not mentioned in the video:

* If you accidentally consume/use something that has animal ingredients, it's OK. Just learn from the mistake and move on. If you have a lot of negative energy regarding the event, find something constructive to do that helps animals: write a letter to the manufacturer who didn't identify the nutrient source, call the restaurant that served you fish, contact your political representative and ask them for stricter laws regarding product labels... Please don't wallow in guilt and pity. That doesn't help anyone.

* You draw your own lines, not a book, not a bunch of vegans, not careless or clueless manufacturers, not anti-vegans who want to call you a hypocrite... YOU decide how to live as a vegan in an omnivorous world. Remember, the vegan utopia doesn't require lists and books. The vegan utopia requires no, true effort from consumers to avoid animal products because in the vegan utopia there are no animal products for sale. Said another way, the goal of current animal advocacy is to eliminate animal exploitation; our goal has little to do with our personal choices about trace ingredients, our goal is NOT personal perfection. If that's YOUR goal, fine, but it's not the goal of the animal rights movement.

* It's a good idea to choose organic and fair trade items over the conventional items for the human animals' benefit :)

* For nutritional info regarding veganism, check out:

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