It may seem like common sense to suss out which products and services are or are not vegan, but nasty non-vegan products and practices may still try to sneak their way into your unsuspecting grocery cart.
“Knowledge is power” – Frances Bacon
The following list may elicit shock and surprise, hang on to your hat and fear not because I’ve provided a vegan alternative for all the items listed. You know I got you. *fist bump*
- Dryer Sheets – most brands of commercial dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener contain animal fats as a softening agent. I’m sure most of us recoil in horror at the thought of a thin layer of animal fat covering our clothing, linens and towels – please consider these options as an alternative!
- Method Fabric Softener (liquid)
- Honest Dryer Cloths (sheets)
- adding a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle (most economical! and no it won’t make your stuff smell like vinegar!)
- Razor Blades – most brands contain animal derivatives like glycerin in the gel strip, as well as lymph node clogging chemicals such as polyethylene glycol. Also, even if the brand doesn’t have a gel strip, many major razor companies, like Gillette either test on animals or are owned by a larger company that uses animal testing in their other products. Alternative vegan brands include Preserve and Personna.
- Tattoo Ink– I pity the fool who inks themselves to outwardly display their interest in veganism but fails to first check if the ink itself is vegan. Tattoo ink is made of a pigment and a carrier solution. The pigment can be made from plants, metals, or the charcoal and soot of charred animal bones! Inks may also contain non-vegetable glycerin (aka animal glycerin), gelatin (protein mixture made from boiling animal bones, hooves and connective tissues) and shellac (secretion of female beetles). Do your research to find a vegan tattoo artist, you won’t have to look very far if you live in a large city!
- Health Supplements- Fish oils are an obviously not vegan option, but pills of any kind are often coated with something called pharmaceutical glaze, which is the same thing as confectioners glaze and is made from shellac. Additionally supplement ingredients may include duck feathers, horse or human hair. (!) Vegan supplements do exist you just have to check the label.
- Non-Dairy Creamer – These still contain about .5% milk by weight, mostly casein. Casein is the top allergenic protein in milk.
- Diet Pepsi – Pepsi has yet to disclose exactly what’s in there that isn’t vegan but they have stated “We can confirm that Regular Pepsi and PEPSI max are suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Diet Pepsi is only suitable for vegetarians as it contains traces of ingredients that are not suitable for a vegan diet.” So sketchy. So incredibly sketchy! Many fizzy and colourful drinks contain traces of gelatin which is used to stabilize the ingredients and keep the drink smooth.
- Some Beers/Wines – Fish oil and gelatin are also used as fining agents. Fining agents help by improving the colour and clarity of these alcoholic beverages by removing suspended solids, like bits of grape etc. PETA’s website states that other fining agents include fibres from crustacean shells, albumen (protein contained in egg whites), and isinglass (fish gelatin). Gross. Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards is a vegan, Ontario based wine company. You will not be hard pressed to find more vegan options!
- Marshmallows – These last two really hurt to be honest. The world shifted after I gained the knowledge that something as seemingly innocent as a marshmallow had animal cruelty in it’s very inception. Marshmallows are made with gelatin and as we all now know, gelatin is the enemy. Dandies all natural marshmallows are an excellent vegan option, as are ones from Sarah’s Specialties and Freedom Confectionery.
- Jelly Candy – May contain confectioner’s glaze, red dye (made with the dried, crushed body of female cochineal bugs) and also my crushed innocence as a non-vegan. Trust me you cannot un-know this stuff, the world will never be the same again. THAT’S A GOOD THING!
Hopefully you feel more savvy with this knowledge in your pocket! It can seem overwhelming I know, I’ve been through all those early vegan feelings. Focus on the fact that you’ve just added many new vegan options to your repertoire!