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Beginner Guide: How to read vegan/vegetarian product labels

How to shop vegan products.

Whether you’re vegan or a vegetarian, checking your product labels should be second nature. However, if you’re new to following a plant-based or vegetarian diet, reviewing product labels and ingredients can be a daunting task. Avoid feeling overwhelmed on your next grocery run with these helpful tips and tricks.

Remember, you should always consult with your doctor or nutritionist before starting a new eating plan.

Photo by KWON JUNHO on Unsplash

If following a plant-based and vegetarian diet is new to you, questioning the foods you eat may be newfound territory. Transitioning from a regular diet to a plant-based one can be overwhelming at first, especially if you’re not used to checking the ingredients labels. Well, don’t panic. Here’s how you can shop with confidence on your next grocery haul.

Does the label indicate if it’s vegan or vegetarian? Once you’ve established this, you can take a closer look at the ingredients of the content to verify. If the item says it contains non-vegan allergens such as eggs and dairy, it isn’t vegan.
If the item is ‘cruelty-free or ‘free from animal testing, then these items are most likely to be vegan. To be safe, look out for items labelled with the Coalition for Consumer Information (CCIC) or the Leaping Bunny logo.
Vegan items that contain labelling that says ‘may contain’ are still vegan. It is simply a legal requirement to warn consumers that the products were manufactured where allergens are present.
Photo by Gareth Hubbard on Unsplash

List of animal ingredients to avoid

When checking the labelling of your vegan products, here is a list of potential animal ingredients you should look out for.

Lactose
Collagen
Honey
Cod Liver Oil
Gelatine
Whey
Photo by K8 on Unsplash

Vegan shopping list 101

Grocery shopping can be a time-consuming process as is. Adding that to a newly transitioned vegan and vegetarian lifestyle can be a daunting task. If you still feel as if you’ve been thrown in the deep end with no clue on how to shop, here are a few items you should include in your pantry to get you started.

Whole grains. These can include whole-grain carbs such as macaroni, nutty rice and maize meal.
Nuts and seeds. Full of protein and fibres, nuts and seeds are a great essential to add to your pantry.
Herbs and spices. Whether it’s turmeric, paprika or a dash of salt, no dish is complete without a little bit of spice😎.
Fruit and veggies. These can be fresh, frozen or canned.
Photo by Taylor Kiser on Unsplash

Depending on your dietary preferences, meal prepping in advance can also help alleviate the stress of not knowing what to cook. Now that you know what to look for when buying vegan products remember this is YOUR list; you can tweak it to your liking.

Gain the confidence on your next grocery haul and try BodiCafe’s products which are all plant-based friendly and can be found in selected stores nationwide, or via our online shop:  https://www.bodicafe.co.za/

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