Vegan Starters Guide

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New to veganism? Maybe you’re starting on the Vegan Easy challenge or maybe you’ve had enough of the animal cruelty in this world? Or perhaps you just want to challenge yourself and see if you can do it?

We have the perfect guide for you! In this post, we will explore some of the food products you should look out for now that you’re a vegan and what you can substitute some of your favourites with.

What is a vegan diet?

A vegan diet is one which excludes animals and animal by-products. Those who chose a vegan diet do so for many personal reasons ranging from health benefits to minimizing animal cruelty.
Whatever your reason, we’re glad you’re here and we’re glad you’ve taken the first step.
We’re sure you already know the basics – stick to vegetables and anything plant based. But there’s a few food products that trip even veteran vegans up! Here’s the down low:

skittles vegan friendly


Why can’t I eat it?

Gelatin is a product that is made from (shock!) animal bones, skin, tendons and ligaments. It is NOT vegan friendly. Watch out for any lollies that use gelatin (e.g. Starburst) and also for any jellies (e.g. Aeroplane Jelly). They tend to put gelatin in the gummy type lollies, like gummy bears, so if you’re unsure, always check the product label. Watch out for numbers like 441 and 485 as well as they are the food additive codes for gelatin.

What’s my alternative?

Don’t fret, there is vegan friendly confectionery out there (e.g. Skittles!) plus there are also other vegan friendly snacks that you can switch to which taste great!

vegan maple syrup


Why can’t I eat it?

We wrote a post recently regarding honey and if it is considered vegan or not. If you agree that honey is not part of your vegan diet, then this is a big one to look out for especially when buying pre-made cakes and cookies.

What’s my alternative?

There are many vegan friendly sweetening products that you can use instead of honey such as maple syrup or agave nectar.

sanitarium so good coconut almond

Dairy and Eggs

Why can’t I eat it?

All dairy products are off the menu. This includes any animal milk, butter, cheese, cream, yoghurts, ice cream and so forth. You’ll want to be especially careful when it comes to dips, spreads and sauces as many manufacturers will use dairy or eggs. Always carefully read the label and keep an eye out for things like whey (milk protein) which you should avoid.

What’s my alternative?

Luckily, there are many cruelty free alternatives to dairy products. If you’re after milk, you can opt for one derived from almonds or soy. If you’re after ice cream, you can opt for sorbets or ones which use coconut water rather than dairy. In certain specialty stores you’ll even be able to find vegan friendly cheese which is made from nuts rather than dairy.  And if you’re craving that creamy pasta, look into a product called nutritional yeast.


Certain Chocolates

Why can’t I eat it?

Chocolate itself is vegan as it comes from cacao beans (plant based), however, a lot of the chocolates that you find on shop shelves have added ingredients.  Always double check the ingredients when it comes to chocolate and look out for things such as milk or milk derived products such as whey or casein.  Due to the way different types of chocolates are made, you’ll mostly want to avoid any white or milk chocolates.

What’s my alternative?

Actually, vegan friendly chocolate is widely available and tastes even better than other chocolates!  Less additives are used and you can really taste the true chocolate flavour.  You can even find these at your local supermarket.



What are some of the foods that surprised you when you found out it wasn’t vegan friendly? Did we miss something from this list that you think should be added?

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