The Flaming Vegan

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Where and How to Shop
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Where and How to Shop

I thought it might be interesting to compile a list of the places vegans shop for food, clothes and beauty products, and how to deal with the uncertainties of purchasing an unknown item or one we aren’t sure if it is vegan or not.

1- Shop to cook from scratch. If you just don’t want to bother reading labels, are not yet label-savvy, or don’t have enough time, buy your fruits and vegetables fresh, dried or frozen. Try to stay away from canned goods as they usually have a high salt and/or preservative content, except in natural and organic food stores.

2- Read labels. And be careful; a product labelled ‘dairy-free’ is not necessarily vegan. Look for the ‘V’ vegan symbol, or a note on the box that states that the product is vegan, vegan-friendly or free of any animal by-products. The law states that they can write ‘without dairy’ if there is no lactose, but they can use other ingredients such as whey and casein, which are both isolated milk proteins.

3- Gelatin is derived from animal bones. Learn about the different ingredients that most of us would never guess are not vegan, but that we eat on a daily basis. Several jams and jellies contain gelatin.

4- To help you make your meals from scratch, shop for tofu, grains, beans and rice. Then add vegetables, sauces and spices. Experiment in your kitchen, or look up recipes online. Nowadays, vegan recipes are fantastic and they are just great!

5- If you must have alternatives, by all means, go for it, especially for dairy, which is the one most people can’t live without. And, for those with distaste for soy milk, there are several options out there: hemp, rice, almond, oatmeal, and coconut milk are the most common ones.

6- Stick to natural and organic food stores, your organic grocery aisle, or vegetarian stores and restaurants. They all supply vegan products.

7- The local farmers’ markets are usually a great place to go as well, all the while keeping your dollars nearby - local - making it easier to build a good local economy. Most co-ops are also good for those looking not only for vegan food, but a good price as well.

8- Research which beauty products have been tested on animals. Although a line may be organic, that doesn’t mean it is vegan. Shop at stores that advertise being animal-cruelty free, such as The Body Shop, or stores that make vegan products, such as Lush.

9- There are several online stores that deliver straight to your door. Many offer a basic basket of organic fresh produce as well as most staples you may need. There are also some stores that specialise in vegan products. And, most don’t have a delivery fee if you purchase a minimum amount, which is usually the price of the basic fruit and vegetable basket.

List of some common non-vegan ingredients:

1. Gelatin – made from animal bones

2. Casein – isolated milk protein

3. Whey – isolated milk protein

4. Acetate – an aliphatic alcohol that can come from fish oil

5. Amino acids – may be either animal or plant based

6. Artificial colors – some may be animal based

7. Aspartic Acid – may be either animal or plant based

8. Benzoic Acid – may be either animal or plant based

9. Beta Carotene – may be either animal or plant based

10. Boar Bristles – used to make natural toothbrushes

11. Bone Ash – used for cleaning products and fertilizers

12. Calcium Carbonate – may be either animal or plant based

13. Calcium Phosphate – comes from animal bones

14. Castor – from beavers and muskrat genitals

15. Cetyl Alcohol – from whale and dolphin sperm

16. Cortico Steroid or Cortisone – from cattle liver

17. Diglycerides – from animal fat

18. Down – goose or duck feathers

19. Elastin – from bovines

20. Fatty Acids – often animal based

21. Gel – same as gelatin

22. Glycerin – often animal based

23. Hide Glue – same as gelatin

24. Keratin – from animal parts

25. Lactic Acid – from when milk sours

26. Lanolin – from sheep

27. Lipids – fat from both animals and plants

28. Musk – from small Asian hornless deer

29. Natural Flavour – can be animal

30. Oleic Acid – may be either animal or plant based

31. Polyglycerol – same as glycerine

32. Royal Jelly – from bees

33. Shellac – from insects

34. Steroid – alcohol from either animals or plants

35. Tallow – beef or sheep fat

36. Urea or Uric Acid – from urine

37. Vitamins (many – A, B, B5, B12, etc.) – either plant or animal based.

For the full list, click here:

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  1. Carolyn
    Well written article! Thanks for the information! Looks like you have worked hard to advertise the article well with all the shares too!
    1. SnakeWitch
      Funny, but after all that work, I actually LOST a vote.... What the... ????
    2. SnakeWitch
      Will you vote for me please?
      1. Carolyn
        Vote #5! Concerned about your losing a vote.....did you have five votes and then it went back down to four votes? If so, I would definitely click the "contact us" button at the top of the page and ask Jason about it. I tried to vote for Akanksha earlier in the week and I did not see the number change, but when I clicked on it later, I got a reply "whoaa... we ......but you can only vote for each article once."
  2. kristo
    wow, that is a very valuable list. thank you for posting it!!!!
    1. SnakeWitch
      My pleasure!
  3. LibbyTreats
    38. Carmine - crushed red beetles
    1. SnakeWitch
      Ewwwwwww. Will look out for that one, too.
  4. Fifi Leigh
    Fifi Leigh
    interesting information. i didnt know glycerin was from animal. i used to use glycerin soap a lot before. i need to find new soap now. i think there are a lot of alternatives nowadays anyway because many people are waking up.
    1. SnakeWitch
      Yup. Thank God, eh?
      1. SnakeWitch
        By the way, natural and organic grocery stores often carry soaps that are naturally made from oils such as olive oil. Check them out. You really have to go for the ones that are small, local makers. Or, check to see if there is a Lush store near you. Their glycerin is plant based only - I was told by a sales clerk there once that they use coconut oil as their base ingredient.
  5. Carolyn
    Congrats for making Top Posts!


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