Whether you are a starting vegan, want to know about veganism, or are an expert vegan, it helps to be armed with information vital to this lifestyle. It is not particularly hard to be a vegan. The point of veganism is never to consume products with ingredients and materials coming from animals. Vegans do not see animals and their by-products as things we can consume. With around 32,000 (as of 2019) products registered as vegan, it is not exactly impossible to find a product that complements this lifestyle. Still, it pays to be well-informed about the products you’re buying.
If you’re a vegan, shopping online seems to be impossible because you cannot check the labels and the allergen information. With a little bit of effort, you can make this tactic work. Why should shopping for vegan items be any different than shopping for regular products? You can ask the seller to send you more information about the products. Or you can research the products on the Internet and read reviews about its vegan quality.
The easiest way to tell if a product is vegan is to read the labels. There should be “suitable for vegans” or “certified vegan” labels on the product’s packaging. If you’re a vegetarian and a vegan, look for the “cruelty-free and vegan” label. Because followers of vegan diets are increasing, these labels are appearing more in your grocery aisles.
The law requires food manufacturers to put a label on the products indicating if it contains common allergens such as dairy and nuts. Moreover, they are required to put the label on bold letters so that the buyers won’t miss it. The allergen information usually looks like this: “May contain traces of nuts, eggs, or milk” or “This product is processed in a facility that also processes eggs, nuts, and milk.” The allergen information might miss ingredients such as honey and egg lecithin, but for the most part, it covers the usual suspects.
This is when it gets hard. The list of ingredients is confusing for most people. What’s in a gelatin or whey powder, for example? Gelatin comes from animal bones, and whey powder is from milk. These are not vegan ingredients. You have to research more about the ingredients. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) lists down animal ingredients on their website to guide vegans.
Another characteristic of vegan products is whether they are cruelty-fee. So the products may not include animal-derived ingredients, but they could have undergone animal testing. This is particularly for those who want to use only vegan cosmetics. Animal testing is not being advertised on the packaging. Before you buy a blush-on, an eyeliner, or a lipstick, make sure to check the Internet if these were tested on animals.
When looking for vegan products to buy, shop only in vegan establishments and look for products trademarked by vegan organizations. You should also ask your vegan friends for recommendations. Google is also the best place to know about vegan products and ingredients that you should stay clear of.