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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All-

Newbie here, and I have to say I'm really enjoying reading the discussions on these boards. Such a wealth of information out there! Got me to thinking: what are the things that have really shocked you as you've struggled to live out your commitment to your chosen lifestyle? Meaning, the things that you never would have guessed rely on animal products or horrific industries for their production. For me, two of the biggest unpleasant discoveries (that I never saw coming) were rennet and the whole bone char thing. And related to that, I remember reading an article a few years ago about wine filtration and how even some types of wine contain animal products, which I found truly shocking at the time.

Interestingly, I was never really shocked by any of the revelations regarding the flavor industry, and the lack of any real meaning to their "natural" and "artificial" flavoring distinctions.

So anyway, I'd be really interested in hearing from others. Who knows, maybe the things that have shocked or surprised you will be unknown to me and others around here.
 

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I was shocked by the prevalence of gelatin. It's in EVERYTHING.

I was also shocked to learn that fish is actually vegetarian. At least it is according to numerous restaurants and so-called vegetarian acquaintances of mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Guinness Stout

Gelatin on coffee beans

(actually, discovering all that contains gelatin continues to surprise me)

Learning that "natural flavors" on an ingredients label can mean that something that appears to be vegetarian or vegan actually has some form of dead animal in it.

Discovering that Thai "vegetarian" soups and dishes often contain chicken broth.

Learning that the refried beans and rice at Mexican restaurants almost always have lard and chicken broth in them.

Discovering that it is nearly impossible to find any of the B vitamin supplements in vegetarian form (without gelatin)

I heard a rumor long ago that the Vitamin D in Enriched Rice Dream comes from a fish source. Not sure if that is true, but my friend said he called and that is what they told him. I took his word, though it sounded strange.

Also, I am often surprised by the lack of common sense I encounter at restaurants and even "vegetarian/vegan friendly" establishments. I order a meal, ask that it be prepared without dairy and it will come without cheese, but have a monster dollop of sour cream on it (for example). Or, I order a soy latte and they (right in front of me) use the same steam thingee they just used milk in, or spray a bunch of whipped cream on the top.

I stopped eating at Subway when they gave me a hard time about changing their gloves and wiping the table off real quick.

I think what frustrates me the most is thinking about the folks that have allergies. What they must go through,,,
 

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The rennet thing completely shocked me right into strictveganism. Sugar was also a surprise. Also how otherwise ealthy vegan food has to have whey powder in it. That has got to be the worst offender
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yup, the amount of foods that have whey in them shocked me to. It gets a bit aggravating.

The biggest shocker, though, was the whole beef fat used as flavoring in McDonald's fries. Blech! I'm very glad that I never ate them thinking they were veggie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Rennet and bone char have been the biggest shockers. I was also shocked that most soy cheezes contain casien(sp).
 

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wow, I always assumed 'natural flavours' were from plants! I never knew until VB that sugar was filtered through bone char. I would have never thought about casein in soy cheese either.

Although eggs are not vegan, I was shocked when I found out that so many egg 'farms' have cannibal chickens! yes, they grind up the chickens after a year and feed them to the next generation.
 

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Hmmm I knew people are nuts with food anyway - so I was prepared.

But the fact that organic farmers rely heavily on manure, bone, blood and whatnot was... yes, an unpleasant discovery. It was then that I realized the organic agriculture is a far cry from sustainable.

And the practices of the animal industry: dairy/veal, laying hens, pigs, are still hard to stomach. I only found out after I went vegan.
 

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rennet was the first... carmine (crushed beetles!), gelatin in everything (why?), fish not an animal (huh?), discovering that nearly all the canned veggie soups at the supermarket had beef or chicken stock (great way to miss out on your biggest market people!).
 

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Yes - similar for me was the shock of how easy and natural being a veggie actually was. I set myself up to think I was going to be craving meat and dairy - it didn't happen.
 

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How easy it was and that my family wasn't more enthusiastic. In fact, they never ask me about it at all. I wanted people to be excited for me and ask me all about vegetarianism and my passion for it, but everyone was lukewarm at best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
When I was vegetarian, getting Hostess cupcakes out of a vending machine while on a road trip and finding out about the beef fat.
After I joined VW, finding out about toothpaste and wine and beer.


How easy it was to no longer eat meat. How easy it was to no longer eat dairy or eggs.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by epski

Biggest shocker for me was how much I enjoyed being vegan.
Same for me, though I am not quite vegan. I could probably get away with calling myself one.

Also a big shock is how fanatical some people are about meat. I was shocked to learn that you can't be a man unless you pay someone to imprison and murder helpless animals for you to eat.

I'd rather be right than popular.
 

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milk solids in basiclaly every flavour of potato chips (or crisps) but original. And how many companies cook in animal fat.

Yuk.

And on a more positive note all these great flavours and variety of foods that used to be masked by cheese that i used to put in everything, so unoriginal
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Wow, great (and educational) responses here.

I'm off to research Casein, as that's another thing I wasn't aware of. And what's the deal with whey protein?

Also surprised to hear about beef products in Twinkies and the like. Yum.

As others have mentioned, the prevalence of things like gelatin and animal broths in everything is sometimes difficult to deal with. Gelatin in coffee beans? What's up with that? And speaking of which, someone needs to start making vegan marshmallows, and quick! I did try making my own once, and though they were pretty good, it was just much too labor-intensive for me.

beachgirl, you win the prize for making me laugh out loud at my desk!
 

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Rennet. I was feeling pretty good about being vegetarian, but I was surfing some vegan sites and it was like, "Hell, I'm still eating a dead animal?!"

By the time I went vegan I knew I'd have to look out for lots of hidden animal products like whey, casein, gelatin, etc. -- but I never expected them to be as prevalent as they are.

And I'm pretty annoyed about the "natural flavors" thing.


I agree with those who said it's surprising how enjoyable being vegan is, and how much easier than expected. Even though I've said elsewhere that the taste of animal products still appeals to me, it's not a burden to avoid them.

In the same vein, I can't believe how much I love my veggies now, having been the sort of carnivore who usually pushed the green stuff to the side of the plate.

I can't believe I actually like soymilk!
 
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