6 Things You Might Have Thought Are Vegan, But Aren’t

It might surprise you, but all of these things actually contain animal products!

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Though a vegan diet is certainly not necessary to mitigate climate change, many people have chosen to adopt one due to its lower carbon emissions, health benefits, or for ethical reasons. That said, many foods which appear to be animal-free actually contain ingredients like milk, eggs, chicken stock, or whale blubber, which would be impossible to notice without prior warning. Here are six things you might have thought are vegan, but actually are not:

  1. 1 Ground Beef

    While ground beef may not look like it has any meat in it, ground beef is very often mixed with onions, vegetables, breadcrumbs, spices, and other ingredients to add to its flavor. One of these ingredients, however, is an egg to hold the beef together. Eggs are the product of chickens, rendering the beef inedible.

  2. 2 Macaroni and Cheese

    This one is a real disappointment. Contrary to popular belief, macaroni and cheese actually contains an animal product. While it tastes just like a vegetable, cheese is actually created with milk from cows, except for goat cheese which comes from goats and gorgonzola cheese which comes from old, fermented feces. If you’re making macaroni and cheese, opt out of the cheese, and instead use a vegan alternative, like butter and parmesan.

  3. 3 Sausage, Egg & Cheese Sandwich

    Dammit! How could this one not be vegan?! The infamous sausage, egg & cheese sandwich, found at many restaurants (who are more than welcome to pay The Sweaty Penguin to put their names here) actually contains animal products. Many sausage recipes call for a small amount of sugar, and unless the sugar is completely organic, it may have went through a bleaching process which requires running the sugar through animal bones. The sausage, egg, & cheese also contains some littler known animal products, such as sausage, egg, and cheese.

  4. 4 Frozen Yogurt

    While you might assume frozen yogurt is vegan because it is the unappealing alternative to ice cream, frozen yogurt actually comes from an animal. Frozen yogurt farms were founded during Alexander the Great’s rule, where cattle were frozen at extremely cold temperatures until they spontaneously turned into frozen yogurt. Next time you’re craving a sweet, cold treat, search for a vegan alternative, such as a carrot.

  5. 5 A Canoe

    While canoes might appear vegan, canoes are actually built out of wood, which comes from trees. While trees are vegan in principle, a tree cannot grow without the death of an animal to give the soil the nutrients necessary to grow and sustain the tree. If you’re okay with eating a boat that caused an already dead animal to decompose, then by all means, but know that your actions have consequences.

  6. 6 Cherry-Flavored Diet Cola

    While this refreshing, fruity drink might appear vegan on the surface, a cherry-flavored diet cola actually has small bubbles floating inside, which are made of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is actually the gas animals produce when they exhale, meaning the carbon dioxide in the cherry-flavored diet cola is actually the product of an animal. Next time you order a cherry-flavored diet cola, we recommend you try dumping a box of mentos into the bottle before consumption to ensure the carbon dioxide can escape.

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Ethan Brown

Ethan is a recent graduate of Boston University from Bethel, Connecticut with a dual degree in Environmental Analysis & Policy and Film & Television.


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