10 Things that you only THOUGHT were vegetarian!

10 Foods that you only THOUGHT were vegetarian..

I guess I only THOUGHT I was a vegetarian

I have been a vegetarian for over 5 years and I thought a very diligent vegetarian at that. I try to ask the right questions in restaurants, to check labels at the grocery, and avoid anything that I am not certain about. As if being a vegetarian wasn't hard enough I am learning more about the foods I eat and am finding that what I thought was meatless may not be! Not only is meat hidden in common items BUT there are also processes that take place in the manufacturing of our foods that introduce even the most common items to animal by-products. I only began to find these things out after finding that a yogurt that I really liked contained TILAPIA! Really, my yogurt had fish in it! What's worse is that I am trying to eat as many organic and all natural foods as possible and that habit may INCREASE my odds of finding a meat by product in my food!
I do want to note that I am not vegan nor am I against things like honey and milk. I didn't choose to be a vegetarian for any social, ethical, or religious reasons...I simply don't want to eat meat. Even as loose as I am on WHY I am a vegetarian, this list shocked me as well as my carnivorous husband. I hope I don't ruin any foods for you but nonetheless, here is a short list of 10 foods you only THOUGHT were vegetarian.
1. Yogurt - yes, you heard it right. Many yogurts will contain gelatin. Gelatin is made from animal bones, connective tissue, and organs and is used to bind, thicken, and stabilize foods. If you aren't careful, you can also get its All-natural twin Tilapia gelatin. It is made from tilapia and allows foods to be certified as Kosher. Equally gross if you ask me.
( if you are avoiding gelatin say goodbye to many jellies, sour cream, jello, candies, gummy bears, marshmallows, SALAD DRESSINGS, etc)
2. Tortillas - Good for you, you remembered to ask if the beans contained lard..did you remember to ask about the tortilla? In many traditional recipes, lard is used in both flour and corn tortillas so its best to ask to be safe. Many restaurants may not know this answer so check it out online first!
3. Orange Juice - This one sounds so easy...take some oranges and squeeze them, right? Wrong. As we all look to be healthier and live longer, Omega 3s have been added to many common foods and the most popular would be O.J. Omega 3s are derived from fish. So its a toss up on the vitamin vs. fish benefit.

4. Dry Roasted Peanuts/Potato Chips - Even snack foods are not safe. Gelatin is added to many store bought brands of peanuts and many potato chip flavors (like barbeque) include beef or chicken flavoring.
5. Cheese - While vegans won't touch the stuff, as a vegetarian it is a-ok....isn't it? Check out your nextlabel of hard cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano as it will contain rennet. Rennet for lack of better words is “enzymes from animals’ stomachs.” Your label may also simply say enzymes so watch out. Or maybe you prefer something a bit smoother---look at the label of the fun and exciting "cheese-whiz. It contains "anchovies" listed as an ingredient. That is because it uses Worcestershire sauce....making Worcestershire sauce number 6.
6. Worcestershire Sauce - Standard Worcestershire sauce is made with anchovies and some brands also state beef hearts as an ingredient. This makes most BLOODY MARY's a no-no as it is included in many pre-mixes and in most bar recipes. Worcestershire is hidden in so many things so beware!
7. Sugar!!! WHAT?!?!? Yep, while sugar itself is vegetarian, it is sometimes filtered through charred animal bones. The filtering process helps to give the sugar its pretty white color! This also goes for many store bought cake mixes as they may have been processed in the same way. Boo:(
8. Soups - Just more proof that things aren't always what they seem. Popular soups like Vegetable , Split Pea, Potato, and Broccoli Cheese (even from Panera) contain beef or ham (split pea) as a flavoring. The labels MUST say vegetarian if you are buying it at the store or a restaurant.
9. Purchased Fruit Muffins/Smoothies - Many companies like Starbucks (Starbucks recently had to discontinue this from their smoothies after people found out....) have gotten sneaky. Using Cochineal, carminic acid, or carmine as a colorant allow the company to state that the item is all-natural as this all natural solution is used in place of red-dye...Want to know what the magic ingredient is..... red dye extracted from the female cochineal insect! So your smoothie or muffin (or ANYTHING red that isn't naturally for that matter) may contain bugs....Gross. I think I may take the dreaded red dye instead!
10. Bagels and other Pastry Products - I recently saw "dough conditioner" on the back of a package of tortillas and wondered...what is dough conditioner anyway? Well it can be many things and one of them is POULTRY FEATHERS! In 2007 Dunkin Donuts confirmed that they used poultry feathers in all of their baked products.
This is just a small list and trust me-it goes on an on. I had to stop my research because I was getting sick to my stomach and down to eating nothing. So, the question begs to be answered. Will I eliminate the things on this list? Many yes, but many like sugar no way. I need to be realistic about my lifestyle and avoiding everything is simply not possible. Being a vegetarian is a tough enough choice and can be a little tricky at times but for me, it is worth it. I feel better than ever and am happy with my decision to let some of these processes, no matter how disgusting, slip through the cracks. c'mon--No sugar?!?
I guess the bigger question is -After Reading this list...Will you eliminate anything from your diet?


Kat's Theory said...

I'm not vegetarian but this was fascinating and pretty much gross. Apparently living meat-free is not as easy as you would think. Stopping by on the blog hop.

Mis Anthropy said...

Thanks for all this info! Met you at the hop!

Terrye said...

Wow! It's almost better to not even know what goes into some of the food we're eating. Bird feathers? WTH? Is it supposed to make the baked goods more fluffy? *scratching head*

Molley Mills said...

Lucky for me I'm a meatatarian ;) Our 23yo tried to go vegan for a while... it was fun to watch!
Thanks for hooking up at the Hump Day hook up

Anonymous said...

Yogurt made with gelatin is what I call cheating. It also does not taste as good as real yogurt, which thickens naturally. Chicken feathers in donuts? That sounds revolting. (I came from A Mother Life's Hump Day Hookup.)

Nicky Hudelson said...

OMG!!! I'm not vegetarian, but really? Ugh! I'll read this when I want to diet, cause it has made me afraid to eat anything other than a salad!

Dana @ Kiss My List said...

Interesting - a lot of these surprised me! I did know about the gelatin. I have a friend who keeps kosher, and any food with gelatin is off limits because it is made from animals that may not be kosher.

And like I needed another reason not to eat bagels - eeww!

Jae Mac said...

Are you kidding me?!?!? Poultry feathers in doughnuts, I'm not surprised by all the "hidden" ingredients, but the feathers absolutely caught me off guard. How disgusting! This list totally gives new meaning to the phrase "You are what you eat!". I'm here by the way of the Hump Day Hookup and I'm glad I found you!
Jae Mac, I'm Just Sayin'...(Damn!)

Heather May said...

I have no clue who figured that one out! But I am supercareful now about what I buy!!!

Heather May said...

I have been vegetarian for years and now my husband has finally followed suit! Kudos to the vegan attempt...Who can live without cheese and sour cream?!

Heather May said...

I am looking at making some of my own yogurt. I am exited to try it! Who would have thought fish in my yogurt?!?

Heather May said...

Everything is scary! I am not a conspiracy person by any means but it really makes you wonder about what happens to food before it hits your plate!

Heather May said...

WHAT?!?!!? No bagels?!?!? I am going to start making my own yogurt just so I can know what is in it. I hear that it is easy but some people think making chocolate souffle is easy!

Heather May said...

AMEN to that! Looks like the feathers have struck a cord with everyone! Heck...I still grab a donut every once in a while!

Anne Kimball said...

Wow, I never would have imagined those ingredients would be in those products. Incredible!

Thanks for sharing with the TALU!

Girr said...

I know how you feel. we arent vegitarians but my husband has IBS ans cant eat beef, or bell peppers and ( here's the kicker) both of us are weirdly allergic to artificial sweeteners! I get vertigo, stomach cramps and migraines!
I have gotten very dilligent at hunting through ingredients list and never getting anything diet. I know it doesn't help much but some cheeses are ok. There is a rennet that is derived from milkweed. I took a mozzarella making class and we used that one. You might have fun making your own mozzarella, it was fairly simple used four ingredients and yielded quite a bit.
Vegetarian rennet
Trader joes cream top milk one gallon
Citric acid
And distilled water.
I will try to hunt up the recipie if you are interested. It doesn't cost much and it was. A lot of fun to do.

Amy Marino said...

I am not a meat eater, and this stuff freaks me out. Can't eat anything anymore! Bugs in food?! EWWWWWWW! And I love Spanish food, but now the taco shells are gonna be off limits for me.