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5 Surprising Foods and Drinks That Aren’t Vegetarian

So you’ve recently decided to try your hand at vegetarianism? Or maybe a veggie friend is coming over for dinner and you’re trying to find ideas for something delicious to prepare for them? Easy, you simply stay away from fish and meat, right? Not necessarily! Did you know there are actually a few sneaky foods that contain animal products? Here are some surprising foods and drinks that aren’t actually veggie:

Chewy candies

Yep, the innocent looking gummy bears and sour worms aren’t looking so innocent anymore. Gelatin, which is commonly derived from collagen taken from animal body parts, is often used to give them their soft, gummy consistency. Marshmallows also contain this offending ingredient so look out for veggie versions the next time you’re in the mood for s’mores.

It’s also better to avoid red candies if you’re not sure what their ingredients are. Their vibrant color has probably been produced with the help of crushed beetles. Check the ingredients for carmine, cochineal, crimson lake, or natural red #4 and steer clear if you see them.

Certain vitamins

Sneaky gelatin manages to find its way into a lot of surprising foodstuffs – the squishiness of many gel cap vitamins is also down to this animal-derived protein. This isn’t the only reason many vitamins aren’t vegetarian though. Fish oil can also be found in lots of vitamins, especially those manufactured for heart health. Check the label before you buy and dodge anything containing gelatin, omega 3, or hydrolyzed collagen protein.

Parmesan cheese

A quick sprinkle of parmesan on your linguini, what could go wrong? The fact that it’s not veggie, that’s what! Cheese makers, more often than not, use rennet to convert milk into solid cheese. This is made from lamb and calf stomachs so definitely not vegetarian-friendly. While you may be able to say no to a fine grating of this beloved cheese on your pasta, you’re not out of the woods yet. Parmesan has managed to sneak itself into many pesto sauces too, so it’s best to opt for other sauces when you’re eating out just to be on the safe side.

Caesar salad

It’s just romaine lettuce and croutons, right? Not quite! The dressing is often made with anchovies as well as parmesan, which we also know isn’t veggie friendly. Some recipes also call for Worcestershire sauce to be used, which contains anchovies. It’s not looking too good for Caesar salad right now, is it? Luckily there are lots of vegetarian Caesar salad recipes around that taste just as good as the original.

Certain wines

Did you just spill wine all over yourself in shock at the thought of your favorite Pinot Grigot not being suitable for vegetarians? Once you’ve got rid of the wine stains on your clothes by following these tips, we’ll explain the reasons why some wines are not vegetarian. Gelatin is sometimes used to give red wines their suppleness and white wines their brighter color, but that’s not the only animal product that can be found in vino! Isinglass, made from the bladders of fish, gives wine its transparent appearance by removing solids and excess colors. Another additive used to get rid of surplus color is chitosan, extracted from the shells of crustaceans. Because these won’t be labeled on the bottle, your best bet is to simple look for the vegetarian symbol for peace of mind.

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