Many vegetarians tend to avoid eating foods that contain animal ingredients. Below is a list of such ingredients to help you avoid unwanted surprises found in foods, cosmetics and other products. Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive. There are thousands of technical and proprietary names that veil the origin of the components. Many ingredients known by the same name may be of animal, vegetable or synthetic origin.
Vitamin A can be synthetic, vegetable origin, but also obtained in the liver of fish. Used in vitamins and nutritional supplements. Alternatives: Carrots, other vegetables.
Arachidonic acid – a liquid unsaturated acid present in the liver, brain and fat of animals. As a rule, it is obtained from the liver of animals. Used in pet food and in creams for skin and treatment of eczema and rashes. Alternatives: aloe vera, tea tree oil, calendula balm.
Glycerol used in cosmetics, food products, chewing gum. An alternative is vegetable glycerin from seaweed.
Fatty acid, for example, caprylic, lauric, myristic, oily and stearic are used in soap, lipstick, detergents, products. Alternatives: vegetable acids, soy lecithin, bitter almond oil, sunflower oil.
Fish liver oil present in vitamins and nutritional supplements, as well as in milk fortified with vitamin D. Fish oil is used as a thickener, especially in margarines. Yeast extract ergosterol and sun tan are alternatives.
Gelatin – a component of many products obtained in the process of digestion of horse, cow and pig skins, tendons and bones. It is used in shampoos, cosmetics, and also as a thickener for fruit jellies and puddings, in sweets, marshmallows, cakes, ice cream, yoghurts. Sometimes used as a “purifier” of wine. Seaweed (agar-agar, kelp, algin), fruit pectin, etc. can serve as alternatives.
Carmine (cochineal, carminic acid) – a red pigment obtained from female insects called cochineal mealybugs. Approximately one hundred individuals must be killed to produce a gram of dye. It is used for coloring meat, confectionery, Coca-Cola and other drinks, shampoos. May cause allergic reactions. Alternatives are: beetroot juice, alkane root.
Carotene (anti-vitamin A, beta-carotene) is a pigment found in many animal tissues and in all plants. It is used in vitamin-fortified foods, as a coloring agent in cosmetics, and in the production of vitamin A.
lactose – milk sugar of mammals. It is used in medicines, cosmetics, food products, such as baking. An alternative is vegetable lactose.
lipase – an enzyme obtained from the stomachs and omentums of calves and lambs. Used in making cheeses. Alternatives are enzymes of plant origin.
methionine – an essential amino acid present in various proteins (usually egg white and casein). Used as a texturizer and freshener in potato chips. An alternative is synthetic methionine.
Monoglycerides, made from animal fat, are added to margarine, confectionery, sweets and other food products. Alternative: vegetable glycerides.
Musk oil – This is a dry secret that is obtained from the genitals of musk deer, beavers, muskrats, African civets and otters. Musk oil is found in perfumes and fragrances. Alternatives: labdanum oil and other musky scented plants.
Butyric acid may be of animal or vegetable origin. Usually, for commercial purposes, butyric acid is obtained from industrial fat. In addition to cosmetics, it is found in products. An alternative is coconut oil.
Pepsin, obtained from the stomachs of pigs, is present in some types of cheeses and vitamins. Renin, an enzyme from calf stomachs, is used in cheese making and is present in many other dairy products.
Isinglass – a type of gelatin obtained from the internal membranes of the urinary bladders of fish. It is used for “purification” of wines and in food products. Alternatives are: bentonite clay, Japanese agar, mica.
Fat, pork fat, can end up in shaving cream, soap, cosmetics, baked goods, french fries, roasted peanuts, and many other products.
Abomasum – an enzyme obtained from the stomachs of calves. It is used in the preparation of cheese and many products based on condensed milk. Alternatives: bacterial cultures, lemon juice.
Stearic acid – a substance obtained from the stomachs of pigs. May cause irritation. In addition to perfumery, it is used in chewing gum and food flavorings. An alternative is stearic acid, found in many vegetable fats and coconut.
Taurine is a component of bile present in the tissues of many animals. It is used in so-called energy drinks.
Chitosan – fiber obtained from the shells of crustaceans. Used as a binder in foods, creams, lotions and deodorants. Alternatives include raspberries, yams, legumes, dried apricots, and many other fruits and vegetables.
Shellac, an ingredient from the resinous excretion of some insects. Used as a candy icing. Alternative: vegetable wax.