Most vegans will know the ingredients to look out for when buying food, but I thought it would be a good idea to go over some ingredients that you might think “ooh I’m not sure about that.”
I will add some more Vegan Basics soon, if you have a good one then let me know and I will add it next time
Shellac is a secretion from a small insect/bug called the Lac Bug. The Lac Bug takes in a certain type of bark and then secretes this waxy substance. It is harvested by scraping the bark from the tree, which includes any lac bugs still there, the harvester then heats the whole thing over a fire and the waxy liquid substance is drained off, of course killing any bugs. Shellac is a waxy substance, sometimes used to make apples shiny and add a glaze on sweets.
Most people will know that gelatine comes from the meat industry which is a byproduct of cows and pigs. This nasty little ingredient sneaks into lots of foods and medicines. Gelatine caps are used for lots of vitamin supplements and tablets even though many religions do not allow this substance. It is commonly used in jelly sweets and is used as a thickener to make foods set.
The good news is that there is a vegetarian version but it is not used as much sadly. You can buy veggie caps for medicine and supplements too.
Cochineal, Carmine E120
You guessed it, this food and cosmetic colouring comes from insects that are boiled for the deep ruby red colour substance of their dead bodies. Used commonly in paints, lipstick and food colourings, it is sometimes added to fruit juices and sweets to enhance the colour.
If you like a glass of wine or beer watch out for this yukky filtering ingredient. Isinglass is used to filter wine and beers to take away the cloudiness of these drinks, to make them look crisp and clear. Isinglass is made from fish bladders. I have had many a debate with beer and wine suppliers as they say that it is a filter and does not remain in the drink. I am sorry but that is rubbish, I would not drink something that was filtered through a big chunk of meat anymore than I would fish bladder thank you very much.
There are lots of vegan beers and wines out there that have been filtered without this method and are wonderfully clear and crisp and taste great. Be wary of wines that say suitable for vegetarians as these can sometimes be filtered with egg. Always go for vegan suitable and then you know you are OK. The Co-op supermarket is really good at labelling their products vegan. Also there are specialist on line wine & beer merchants like Vinceremos.