Being vegetarian seems easy, right? You just need to avoid non-veg food.
Now, here's where it gets tricky, because there are foods that look vegetarian, but are not. We bring to you a list of such foods that are commonly misunderstood to be vegetarian but can have some meat-derived ingredients.
1. Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese uses rennet, an enzyme that's found in the lining of a goat or calf's stomach and therefore they aren't technically vegetarian. Some brands use vegetarian-friendly alternatives, but you need to look for them specifically.
Marshmallows are made from sugar and gelatin - a thickening and gelling agent made from the skin, bones, and hooves of animals. But there are several brands of veg marshmallows in the market these days, so be sure to seek those if you want the vegetarian ones.
3. White Sugar
Refined white sugar is bleached in a process that entails running the sugar through bone char, mostly in the US. Some companies in the US also use this process to manufacture brown sugar.
4. Pesto Sauce
Pesto is not just pine nuts, basil, and olive oil. It also has parmesan cheese made with rennet. There are plenty of brands and recipes out there for its vegetarian versions, so make sure you look at them.
5. Cheese cakes
Most cheese cakes contain gelatin as a setting agent. If not gelatin, they might also include eggs. So you should check the ingredients properly if you want to eat vegetarian.
A few companies use lard for a soft texture in tortillas. It makes sense to take a look at the ingredients, just to make sure.
7. Hard-coated candies
Shellac is added to many different types of candies to create a hard-coated exterior. This shellac is made from a resin that is secreted from the rear end of the female lac bug.
8. Mints and chewing gums
Some peppermints contain beef gelatine, while some chewing gums may contain ingredients derived from animal fats such as glycerine.
9. Soft drinks
Some soft drinks use gelatine-derived ingredients as stabilisers. Red coloured drinks in particular might contain the colouring cochineal from insects. So, always check the ingredients once.
10. Gel cap medicines
Soft-shelled capsules are generally made using gelatin or plant polysaccharides so it is important to look at labels when you are purchasing them.
11. Mars Chocolate
The international company has been using rennet - a substance extracted from the stomachs of calves - to produce whey for its popular chocolate bar, Mars.
Non-vegetarian food isn't just limited to the common non-veg dishes we know. From cheese to sweets, you need to be checking the labels on everything, to be sure that they are vegetarian.