Planning to join the likes of Johnny Depp, Sir Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson by becoming vegetarian? With more veggie options available in supermarkets and restaurants, there’s never been an easier time to make the switch, especially on National Vegetarian Day (October 1).
But don’t be caught out by the following:
They’re sweet, squishy and not too calorific, but conventional marshmallow contains gelatine, which according to PETA is a “protein obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water, usually obtained from cows or pigs”.
You can also find it in shampoo and face masks.
Lots of sweets
While we’re on the sweet theme, you’ll find many pick ‘n’ mix favourites are unsuitable for the veggies among us. Haribo, Fruittella, fruit pastilles – the list goes on and on – all contain gelatine. Many sweets use a colouring called E120 as well, which is made from crushed beetle shells.
If you want to avoid this, Marks & Spencer does lots of vegetarian versions of sweets, including the infamous Percy Pigs, and Haribo has some products in a vegetarian range.
Always one to keep an eye on – deliciously crispy chips or French fries are sometimes fried in animal fat.
Most yoghurts are now suitable for vegetarians, but it is always worth double-checking. Some zero or low-fat varieties contain gelatine to keep them thick and creamy.
You’d think beer and wine were pretty safe, wouldn’t you? But many beers use isinglass, which is a kind of gelatine obtained from fish, in the brewing process, and it’s the same for wine. Apparently, it means we’re slurping delicious notes of fresh fruit and fish bladders. Mmmm.
Not all beer and wine is made in this way, thankfully, but it can be difficult to tell, because bottles of booze don’t display a list of ingredients.
It’s said to take dishes like Bolognese to the next level, but Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies, as does olive tapenade and Caesar salad dressing. You can try Henderson’s Relish, which is pretty similar, but completely vegan.
There are lots of vegetarian soups, obviously. But some – like French onion soup, for example – sound fine until you discover they’re made with beef broth. Meaty stocks are frequently used in soups, especially in restaurants, so it’s always best to check.
Not something you’d think you’d need to avoid, but some cereals contain gelatine. Kellogg’s Frosted Wheats, for example, contain beef gelatine.
If you’re vegetarian – and not vegan – cheese is a brilliant source of protein. However, some cheeses, like Parmesan, often contain rennet, which is enzymes from the stomach of an unweaned calf, so you might want to avoid that for ethical reasons if you’re a veggie!