If you are eating vegan (meaning NO animal products) you will find that animal products are often hidden in strange places. This is especially true for packaged and processed food.
ALWAYS check the labels. Even many veggie burgers or other "fake meat" products include animal products. Companies also change the ingredients from time to time. Just because it is vegan today doesn't mean it will always be vegan.
Below is a list of the things that you need to watch out for on the ingredient labels.
Animal Based Label Items to Avoid (often seen in packaged goods)
- Casein – A milk protein that is often in items marked “non-dairy”
- Ghee – Clarified butter-common in Indian food
- Albumen – protein found in egg whites
- Oleic acid – fat from sheep or cattle
- Rennin/Rennet – enzymes from a calf’s stomach
- Calcium Stearate – a mineral derived from hogs and cattle
- Gelatin – protein from animal bones, cartilage, tendons, and skin
- Glyerides (mono/di/tri) – glycerol from animal fats
- Stearic acid – animal fats and oils
- Lecithin – phospholipids often from animal tissues and eggs
- Pepsin – enzymes gathered from pigs stomachs
The best way to avoid these ingredients is to eat whole foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains. However, I know that especially when you are new to veganism, vegan meat and dairy substitutes can be a helpful transition food while you are getting used to eating in a different way.
Fortunately there are many VEGAN alternatives. Many are even available in your local grocery store. Here is PETA's list of their Favorite Vegan Substitutes.