What Won’t Vegans Eat?

You may be wondering – ‘What can’t vegans eat?’

Actually, it’s more WON’T than CAN’T.

Veganism is a way of living that attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, be it for food, clothes, products or any other purpose. It involves the understanding that we can live a happy, healthy and fulfilled life without causing harm to other creatures. Unfortunately, there are whole industries built for the exact opposite – profit over principles. We’ve all funded these dark businesses (albeit unintentionally or unknowingly) throughout our lives. But the good news is it’s so easy to stop!

Food is a great place to begin. If you’ve read our page ‘What Will Vegans Eat?‘ then you’re already off to a great start. There’s a huge amount of choice out there that’s cruelty free. There are vegan alternatives for everything listed below, so please don’t feel restricted.

But what about the things that vegans won’t eat? We’ve compiled a list of the things that are non-vegan, with a brief, non-graphic explanation of why. Read on!

vegan food shopping

There’s more to food shopping than meat, eggs and dairy – just check out this vegan food haul

  • Meat. The obvious one! This is ANY meat not labelled vegan. It should be very, very clear if it’s faux meat or not. Vegans believe that flesh belongs on a living, breathing, pain free animal. It’s not ours to purchase or use. FACTS: animals feel pain, even humane meat suffers, no animal wants to die.
  • Fish and seafood. This is exactly the same as meat, and includes crustaceans such as mussels and oysters. The only reason we put it as a separate point, is because sometimes people get confused and try to claim that fish / sea animals don’t feel pain or are somehow less worthy beings than those on land. Not true. Many studies have proven that fish feel pain, form relationships, and most importantly, don’t want to be killed and eaten.
  • Dairy – anything made with the milk of an animal. This includes traditional milks, yoghurt, cheese, cream​ and butter. Traces of milk can be found in anything, from crisps to pastries, so do check labels to be sure. The reason why vegans oppose the dairy industry is its exploitation of animals on such a severe scale. If we focus on cows for example, they are forcibly impregnated, have their calves taken away at birth, are kept in terrible conditions, and forced to produce far higher quantities of milk than is natural or comfortable. This cycle is repeated over and over until the cow can no longer become pregnant / produce milk… she’s then killed. In terms of health, the milk of other species is simply not meant for us. Cows milk has a specific nutrient make-up, with high fat content designed for calves who put on rapid weight in their first few months of life.
  • Eggs – from hens, fish or any other animal. Eggs come from a terrible industry. Birds in cages so small they cannot stretch their wings. Chickens that won’t see the sun until the day they are killed. Millions of day-old male chicks thrown into grinders or gassed because they are commercially useless. All of this just so we can eat a product that’s high in cholesterol anyway.
  • Honey and bee pollen. Any bee products are off the table
    bees in hive making honey

    Honey belongs to bees

    for us vegans. Disease is rife in hives, and the insects are forced into unnatural behaviours while we steal their produce. Simply put, these items come from exploitation.

  • Gelatine. Made by boiling the bones and hides of animals… lovely. This crafty ingredient sneaks into a number of things, such as sweets and jelly. You can often tell if it’s non-vegan as the ingredients list will state pork or beef gelatine. The goods news is that you can find vegan gelatine, made from agar agar or carrageenan. It should be stated on the pack which one it is.
  • Lard and animal fats. As these are products are directly from animals, they’re off the list for vegans. Look for items with healthy oils instead.
  • E numbers*. These are the scientific looking numbers on labels that help to flavour, preserve or enhance a food in some way. Some E numbers are suitable for vegans, but some aren’t. When you’re ready, start to become familiar with the non-compliant ones.
  • Some alcohol*. Isinglass is often used to make beer or wine. It’s a substance from fish bladders, and really quite unnecessary to use. Alcohol can be just as tasty without it!

*We go into more detail on E numbers, alcohol and other nasties on our Hidden Ingredients page.

reading food labels in the supermarketReading and interpreting labels may be tricky at first, but after a few months the process will become quicker – we promise. Don’t be disheartened if you fail to spot a non-vegan ingredient and therefore purchase the wrong thing, it’s a learning curve! For ease, look for products that explicitly state ‘suitable for vegans’ or do an online food shop so that you can filter for vegan products that way. You can visit stores that are well known for catering for vegans, such as Holland and Barrett and Ocado. If you need help spotting non-vegan foods, head over to our Hidden Ingredients page.

Vegans aren’t perfect. We can be mis-informed in a restaurant. We can forget to check the label on something that we’ve eaten for years, not knowing it now contains milk. Despite the best of intentions, we can make mistakes. It’s important to recognise that it’s ok – we’re only human after all, not robots! It doesn’t make us any less vegan or ethical, as long as we do things with intent, and consciously refrain from taking part in animal exploitation.

As a new vegan, there will be a learning curve for you. Focus on cutting out the obvious and as you become more educated and comfortable, work your way down the list above and adapt to your new lifestyle. You may find at first that you’ll be checking a lot of labels, googling every day, but don’t worry, it will soon become second nature! You’ll find delicious staples for your diet and discover new foods.

Do you have any questions? Want to know if anything is vegan or not? Ask us below!

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  • We're 15 days into isolation as a family. Just house and garden, no outside world.⁠
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I can't lie - it's been a tough few weeks and the stress has really peaked the last few days! Trying to get in exercise and outdoor time so we don't feel crazy, homeschooling/occupying a 4 year old, breastfeeding a 4 month old on demand (who barely sleeps in the day), finding ways to obtain food and Ben trying to work from home - it's a real juggle.⁠
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But we must be thankful that we get to self-isolate when other amazing folks are working for the NHS, in care facilities, as refuse workers, etc... helping those in need and allowing society to retain some of its basic functions. ⁠
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How are you all doing? Are you getting the support and food you need?⁠
We've had some great vegan deliveries, as well as fresh produce. We haven't attempted to supermarket shop, and found some great local businesses such as veg shops and bakeries. It's actually been nice to support small businesses more.⁠
We're also making more effort to use food in the back of the cupboard, come up with different meals, and make our own snacks. Over the last few weeks I've made cake, scones, protein balls and others, using different flours and dried goods hidden away. ⁠
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So don't forget to get resourceful and break routine! Find local businesses that deliver via Facebook or Google, make some different meals and try wacky combinations. ⁠
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Let me know how it's going for you!⁠
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#newvegan #learnervegan #veganbeginner #vegancommunity #vegetarians #veggielife #veggielove #veganhelp #vegansupport #dairyfree #plantbased #plantbaseddiet #meatfree #veganbuys #parttimevegan #veganshopping #vegansupermarket #animallover #friendsnotfood #veganwannabe #vegannewbie #goingvegan #beingvegan #almostvegan #veganuk #ukvegans #ukvegan #vegansofig #selfisolation #goingstircrazy
  • How do you feel about French Toast? I definitely think it's a real comfort food breakfast! Perfect for these trying times.⁠
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But did you know you can make it without egg? It's so good!⁠
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Ingredients:⁠
Bread of choice⁠
Third cup chickpea/gram flour⁠
1.5 cups plant milk⁠
2 tbsp vegan butter or oil⁠
Half tsp ground cinnamon⁠
Toppings of choice .ie. fruit, maple syrup, veggie bacon⁠
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1. Preheat a pan on the hob with 1 tbsp of the butter/oil.⁠
2. Mix the flour, milk and cinnamon.⁠
3. Pour into a dish, dipping your bread in to completely cover it.⁠
4. Cook in pan for approx 3 mins each side.⁠
5. Enjoy with toppings!⁠
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A vegan Easter is the same as a regular Easter, just without the cruelty! We have lots of indulgent chocolate, hot cross buns and eggs.⁠
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But Easter isn’t just about the edibles. There are plenty of things to do and see that are cruelty-free too.⁠
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I’ve put together a simple guide for a vegan Easter, including: activities that may not be as animal-friendly as you think, alternative things to do, and family meal ideas. Enjoy!⁠
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LINK IN BIO.⁠
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NB: a few activities may not be feasible due to Covid-19 but there are many things you can do at home - please do be sensible with social distancing.⁠
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  • Whole foods are both kind to animals and good for us.⁠
The great thing is, many online vegan stores are doing a fantastic job of keeping things in stock and providing us with delicious food, with minimal virus risk. ⁠
Let me know if you need any recommendations!⁠
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  • I love experimenting with plant milks. As well as the common soya and almond milks, you can also seek out cashew, pea and hemp milk! The possibilities are endless.⁠
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So what do we buy?⁠
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👍Oatly Barista - this is the only thing my husband will have in coffee. He loves it.⁠
👍Soya milk - this is often fortified and a little sweet, so kids love it. My 4-year-old daughter has it on cereal every day.⁠
👍Coconut milk - great in porridge, overnight oats or a tropical smoothie.⁠
👍Almond milk - my personal preference for tea as it's quite mild.⁠
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You can see more of my favourite dairy and egg swaps in my FREE 'Easy Being Vegan' pack! Including baking substitutes, cheeses, and chocolate. YUM.⁠
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You also get a shopping list, easy meal plan, and personal action points to keep you on track as a new vegan.⁠
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Who wants the link? Give me a heads up!⁠
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  • It's kind of fallen by the wayside with Covid-19, but we can still have a fun and cruelty-free Easter!
Check out some ideas for gifts, activities and meals.
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