My first thoughts after I declared my plant-based/vegan diet were, No more meat! Yay! I’m saving the world!
In my arrogance (I’ll admit it), I was so focused on just avoiding meat and other obvious animal products that I never thought about the items I had assumed were vegan, but really weren’t. Some products have sneaky, scientific names that don’t sound like they could have been derived from a living thing, others don’t have animal products listed in the ingredients but use animal products in the creation process of the item, and sometimes, I just lack the forethought of considering what goes into the sauces and dishes that I’ve loved forever.
So, I’ve made a few mistakes since trying to become vegan:
- I tried to bake a “vegan” cake with honey.
- That one was just me not putting 2+2 together. I thought that since bees make honey naturally, it wasn’t a big deal, but honey is for the bees to eat, not us.
- As I had a marshmallow in my mouth, I read that the gelatin in marshmallows is often made from animal bone marrow.
- I honestly thought that was an urban myth. But, not all marshmallows are automatically vegan-nonfriendly, so there’s hope!
- As noted above, gelatin isn’t vegan-friendly.
- Which is a bitch, because it was so easy just to sprinkle a little gelatin into a chilled mix that wasn’t firming up to save it. I’ve been reading up on agar agar as a gelatin replacement, but we’ll see if it works out….
- It literally just occurred to me this week that there’s fish sauce in that salty, garlicky, brown Pad Si Ewe sauce that I love so much. Have I mentioned that I sometimes don’t put 2+2 together? Call it a character flaw.
- Yes, fish sauce is made from real, fermented fish.
- And to piggyback off fish sauce – Oyster sauce in saucy Asian dishes. There are some varieties of oyster sauce that are mushroom-based and vegan/vegetarian-friendly, but traditional oyster sauce is made from simmered oysters.
- Adding a dash of Worcestershire sauce to dishes for that tangy, salty kick.
- Spoiler: It’s anchovies!
- Drinking wine! *GASP* What?! NO!
- Yes. Many imported wines are made by using fish and other animal caseins and whatnot in the filtering process. So, although the wine technically does not contain animal products, it’s not vegan because of its process. In my search of vegan wines, I stumbled upon Barnivore.com, which lists vegan-friendly wines, beers and liquors! Sadly, I haven’t seen any “vegan-friendly” labels on wine bottles in the grocery store yet.
At first, I felt pretty embarrassed about my food mistakes as I’m honing in on a vegan diet. Like many things in life, I should have read the directions first. But, as I read through an article from PETA, I found their stance on the subject:
I felt better reading from the most well-known and radical animal rights group that it’s more about reducing animal suffering – and, as part of my focus for going vegan/plant-based, reducing my environmental impact – than it is about personal purity. If they’re willing to ease up on some the tough stuff, then so can I.
Because I’m not giving up wine. But, I’ll do my best to find vegan ones.