Alyss Bowen | Social Media Editor | Thursday, 21 July 2016

6 Foods You Probably Didn\\\'t Realise Weren\\\'t Vegetarian But Definitely Are

6 Foods You Thought Were Vegetarian But Aren't

The Debrief: FIGS PEOPLE. FIGS!

I’m not a vegetarian, but all my flatmates are. So I tend to stay away from meat most nights and am very aware of what is, and isn’t veggie. That was until I googled ‘foods that aren’t actually vegetarian,’ and had my mind blown. So if you’re panicking about eating a packet Haribo even though you’ve been meat-free for 4 years, read the below. Spoiler: Haribo is a no no. 

1. Parmesan cheese 

Parmesan definitely doesn’t have any kind of meat substitute in it, right? WRONG. Sorry to all you veggie parmesan lovers but in order for this cheese to be called ‘parmesan,’ it has to be produced in a traditional method, and that method uses calf rennet. What is calf rennet? I hear you ask – well it’s enough to put me off my favourite cheese. It’s extracted from the inner mucosa of the fourth stomach chamber of a young, unweaned baby cow. Excuse me while I throw away all traces of parmesan, forever.  

2. Worcestershire Sauce

Yep, sorry. Ruining your cheese on toast for life. Worcestershire sauce is packed full of anchovies, so unless you’re a pescetarian step away from it immediately. You can buy vegan options that apparently takes exactly the same, like this one from Holland and Barrett.  

3. Marshmallows

Guys, marshmallows contain gelatin, didn’t you know this? Gelatin is almost as gross as calf rennet, almost. It’s derived from collagen inside animals’ skin and bones. So no, if you’re vegetarian you really, really cannot eat marshmallows when you have a hot chocolate – put that packet down. Oh, and Haribo contains the same thing. 

4. Beer

Or more specifically, Guinness as it uses isinglass in its production. Isinglass is made from the bladders of fish, lovely. There aren’t direct traces of isinglass in Guinness, but it is used in the manufacturing process. So remember that next time you want a pint. 

5. Figs - WTF? 

My mind has been well and truly blown by this fact. I don’t know if I should be disgusted or amazed, but figs are not vegetarian. Well kind of. It depends if you count insects as ‘animals.’ When a wasp pollinates a fig (firstly, did anyone else know wasps had to pollinate figs?), they often gets trapped inside. And for a fig to be edible, they have to have at least one dead female wasp stuck inside. But as the female wasp dies inside, an enzyme from the fruit breaks down the body into protein. Are you sat there in shock because I am. Figs have dead wasp bodies inside them. What is life. 

6. Low fat yoghurt 

Next time you want to tuck into a massive bowl of creamy yoghurt with berries and honey you healthy thing you, don’t. Lots of low-fat yoghurts, especially Muller Light, contain gelatin – there it is again, pops up everywhere doesn't it? Sorry to ruin your yoghurt obsession. 

Like this? You might also be interested in…

7 Things Vegetarians Are Fucking Bored Of Eating 

13 Things You Need To Know About Being An Ethical Vegetarian

Ask An Adult: Is Going Vegan Better For Me 

Follow Alyss on Twitter @alyssbowen  

Tags: Food, Vegan