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Do Vegans Eat Gluten?


There are all kinds of new terms being used nowadays with regards to special diets. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation about them as well. You’ve probably heard of the saying, ‘you are what you eat. This makes it very important to understand and stay informed about what each diet entails and what it does to your body before diving in.

Two of the popular diets right now are vegan and gluten-free diets. A lot of people equate the two lifestyles and I’m not sure how this even started because there’s no real link between the two. If you are confused about how these two are related, you have come to the right place to find out.

So, do vegans eat gluten? Yes, they do. Gluten is not an animal product or by-product but rather a group of proteins found in many grains. Many vegan types of meat also contain it. That being said, some vegans may avoid gluten due to allergies, intolerances, personal preference, or some other diet goals.

An awareness of the vegan diet has risen dramatically in recent years. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of conflicting information about what is or isn’t suitable for vegans to consume. In this article, I’ll be covering a common misunderstanding and frequently asked question surrounding vegan and gluten-free diets. Many people assume that if you are one, then you are automatically the other. But nothing could be further from the truth. I’ll go over the differences between the two diets and some related topics and hopefully, by the end of this text, you will be able to make informed decisions about your dietary needs concerning these two popular diets.

Veganism VS Gluten-Free Diet

We’ve already seen that vegan and gluten-free diets are not the same; however, let’s take a step back in the following sections and try to understand what each diet entails and in so doing, I may well answer a lot of other questions you might have.

What Is Gluten?

It’s a group of proteins found in various cereal grains, including wheat and its hybrids, rye, barley, oats, and triticale. These grains commonly appear in a wide variety of foods, especially bread, pasta, and pastries. Gluten in foods gives them a glue-like consistency. For instance, if you pull a loaf of freshly baked bread, you’ll find that it’s is stringy and fluffy with a chewy texture. Beyond baked goods, many vegan types of meat also contain gluten. That’s because they rely on seitan as the base ingredient to provide them with their meaty chewiness.

What Is A Gluten-Free Diet?

It’s a diet that excludes all foods containing gluten, including bread, baked goods, cereals, pasta, etc. In fact, an ingredients list that includes barley, rye, triticale, wheat germ, wheat bran, bulgur, spelt, durum wheat, farro, and Kamut just to name a few, means that particular product contains gluten. Many gluten-free kinds of cereal are also often contaminated with gluten during processing, so pay attention to that.

What Is Veganism?

It is a lifestyle that seeks to eliminate (as much as possible) the use of animal products and by-products, as well as those that use animal-based ingredients in their processing due to health, ethical, and/or environmental concerns. Beyond food, veganism also extends to avoiding any clothing, upholstery, or activity that harms, exploits, or endangers animals.

Is Gluten Vegan Friendly?

Now that you understand what each diet entails, it’s time to see whether or not vegans can eat gluten. We’ve already determined that gluten is a naturally occurring element in plant foods, meaning it’s not derived from animals and is, of course, vegan-friendly.

Can You Be Vegan And Gluten-Free?

While it’s okay for vegans to consume gluten, some may choose to avoid it for reasons I will cover later. It’s definitely possible to be both vegan and gluten-free. This would entail avoiding all animal-based products and those that contain gluten. It may be a bit difficult to find viable food to consume but there are a good number of options out there if you know where and how to look for them. Some of the foods you can eat on a vegan gluten-free diet include:

  • All fresh fruits and vegetables but make sure you check the canned, dried, pre-prepped, and frozen ones as they may contain gluten.
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Most brands of plain tofu and tempeh
  • Grains that don’t contain gluten such as rice, teff, quinoa, buckwheat, corn, millet, sorghum, and amaranth
  • Pure oats: These are naturally gluten-free but are often contaminated in processing. So, choose those that are gluten-free certified.
  • Legumes, including lentils, peas, and beans
  • Tapioca/Cassava
  • Potato flour
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Almond flour
  • Gluten-free bread using alternative flours such as buckwheat
  • Gluten-free and vegan pasta

In addition to the above foods, there are also an increasing number of vegan gluten-free food products that are available in speciality supermarkets and grocery stores, including baking mixes, pizzas, microwave dinners, and so on.

Why Do Some Vegans Avoid Gluten?

While vegans can eat gluten, some avoid it for personal preference or in the hopes of leading a healthier lifestyle. Also, gluten is one of the hardest foods to digest; as such, people with digestive problems may feel better if they avoid it. That said, remember to talk to your healthcare provider before going completely vegan and gluten-free to ensure you maintain a balanced diet.

More seriously, some people avoid gluten due to medical conditions such as:

Celiac disease

This is an autoimmune disease where eating gluten produces an allergic response that inflames the bowels. With continued exposure to gluten, the lining of the small intestines can break down and cause all manner of serious issues. Celiac disease is incurable and those diagnosed with it should treat gluten like poison. Be sure to avoid cross-contamination from shared utensils and the likes as even the tiniest amounts can make you sick.

Gluten Intolerance and Sensitivity

Unlike celiac disease, which is a bit rare, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or intolerance is a fairly common problem and is characterized by adverse reactions to gluten. When people with these conditions consume gluten, they may experience a range of issues, including abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhoea.

Other conditions that may warrant avoiding gluten are wheat allergy, Gluten Ataxia, and Dermatitis Herpetiformis.

Tips for Navigating Any Potential Challenges

Combining a vegan and gluten-free diet can be a bit challenging as it involves eliminating quite a number of common foods from your daily meals. The good news is it is doable and many are managing quite fine. If you are new to both of these diets, here are a few tips to help you navigate through:

  • Explain your new diet to friends and family: It can be hard for some to understand what it entails to be both vegan and gluten-free, so try to explain your dietary choices/needs.
  • When it comes to eating out, most restaurants are well-versed with both diets but it can be challenging if you combine the two. In that case, consider calling ahead to check if they can accommodate your needs.
  • The risk of cross-contamination: This is a concern both at home and in restaurants as otherwise vegan gluten-free foods are likely to contain trace amounts of animal-based foods or gluten. Having separate equipment and utensils to prepare your vegan gluten-free food is a necessity, especially if you are a strict vegan and/or are have celiac disease. Larger restaurants often have a clear cross-contamination policy but are sure to double-check when ordering.
  • Read food labels: Since gluten is often in the top 14 allergens, it’s likely to be clearly labelled on food packages. That being said, much of the store-bought gluten-free bread and pasta tend to use lots of ingredients, including additives, gums, and stabilisers, to try and mimic gluten. Look for products made with as few ingredients as possible and whose gluten and vegan status are obvious. Last, but not least, keep in mind that not all vegan meat alternatives are gluten-free.

Conclusion: Veganism & Gluten-Free Diets

As you can see veganism is totally different from a gluten-free diet and while there can be some overlap, these two dietary lifestyles are not interchangeable. I am personally vegan but not gluten-free, but I do like to take gluten-free challenges from time to time to try and live healthily. Like Oprah, I do love bread too much and I know what it does to my waistline.

Although vegan and gluten-free diets are unrelated, they can be combined to form a single eating regime as I have illustrated above. A vegan gluten-free diet offers several benefits. For starters, you get to have a healthy gut considering gluten is pretty hard to fully break down. Secondly, gluten is common in a lot of processed foods, which as we all know are not good for the body. So, by avoiding it, you get to live a healthier life. A vegan gluten-free diet means a higher intake of fruits and vegetables, which are undoubtedly good for the body.

It’s important to note, however, that a vegan gluten-free diet means you’ll be further limiting your dietary choices and cutting off twice as many potential sources of nutrients for your body. Therefore, while avoiding gluten is a must for anyone with the above mentioned medical conditions, the rest of the population should carefully consider whether going vegan and gluten-free at the same time is really in their best interest. Consult with your healthcare provider before cutting off all those foods.

Is kettle corn vegan?


Whether you are hosting a party, watching a movie, or just looking for something to snack on, you can never go wrong with kettle corn. The name comes from the fact that it was traditionally made in cast iron kettle. The corn, oil, salt, and sugar were cooked together to produce a noticeable sweet crust on the kettle corn.

While the method of preparation is typically the same to date, other types of pans and pots are being used. Keep in mind that this method of preparation requires constant stirring to keep the sugar from burning. But before we get into the specifics, we need to answer one important question.

Is kettle corn vegan? Well, it is prepared from corn kernels in vegetable oil, and seasoned with salt and sugar. As you can see, no animal products or by-products are involved in the making of kettle corn, which makes them vegan-friendly. Some brands that make them commercial may, however, include non-vegan ingredients so make sure you read the ingredients list before purchase.

A common misconception about a vegan diet is that you only get to eat salads, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, with the growing wave of vegan junk foods, you no longer have to give up on your favourite foods. Thanks to modern food technology, there are plant-based alternatives to virtually all animal-based foods. There’s no longer an excuse to contribute to the suffering of animals. In today’s text, I’m going to cover one of the most popular snacks on the planet, by outlining when it’s vegan and when it’s not, among other things. Without much delay, let’s get started:

The Vegan Status of Kettle Corn

Thanks to its unique sweet and salty taste, kettle corn has become one of the most sought-after treats at outdoor festivals, in movie theatres, at birthday parties, and even something to snack on during the day. With this much popularity, this sweet and savoury snack can be found in nearby grocery stores.

How Is It Made?

For a product to be considered vegan, it should be made without any animal product or by-product. The old-fashioned kettle corn is easy to make as it requires four basic ingredients: kernels, oil, sugar, and salt. Start by heating the oil with three or four kernels in a pot on a stove. Once the kernels begin to pop, add the remaining along with sugar. Salt is often added to the warm kettle corn after transferring it to a bowl, but you can also add it along with the kernels and the sugar. As you can see, there’s no use of any animal product or by-product, which makes kettle corn a vegan-friendly snack. Unless, of course, the vegetable oil was previously used to make animal products like fried chicken or fish fillets, in which case it will not be vegan-friendly.

Is The Sugar In Kettle Corn Vegan-Friendly?

Sugar is a controversial ingredient in the vegan world. That’s because it’s often purified with bone char, which is derived from charring animal bones, to give it the pure white colour.

The good news is there are more vegan-friendly ways to purify sugar and many manufacturers are exploring them to make their sugar suitable for all vegans. The problem is several brands make store-bought kettle corn and it’s difficult to tell what kind of sugar they use to make their products. The only way to be sure is to reach out to them and ask where they source their sugar from. You’ll then have to research whether that particular sugar company uses a vegan-friendly filtering agent or not. This might seem like a lot of work for many, which is why most vegans choose not to judge otherwise vegan foods that contain sugar. However, for stricter vegans, the presence of refined sugar makes a food product non-vegan.

Common Non-Vegan Ingredients in Kettle Corn

While kettle corn is traditionally vegan-friendly, some brands choose to add animal-based ingredients that make them unsuitable for vegans.

For starters, some kettle corn recipes call for sweetening with honey instead of sugar. Veganism is all about avoiding or minimising all forms of animal exploitation, and that includes not consuming honey as it is from bees.

Some commercials brands add dairy products like cheese and butter to give it a buttery flavour. Dairy products are a no-no for vegans. These animals are kept in a permanent state of pregnancy so they keep producing milk all while living in confined spaces never to see the light of day. Once they have outlived their usefulness, they are slaughtered for meat. Consuming kettle corn with dairy products contributes to the increasing demand for dairy products, which means more torture to the animals.

To ensure 100% vegan kettle corn, it’s best to make yours at home. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your favourite vegan spices and herbs.

Kettle Corn VS Popcorn

Kettle corn and popcorn may seem interchangeable at a glance but contrary to popular belief, the two are quite different in a number of ways, including:

Method of preparation

They both make use of a special type of corn that puffs up and bursts open when exposed to heat. However, kettle corn is typically prepared in a cast-iron kettle, a pan, a pot, or a Dutch oven. All the ingredients are placed in the kettle together and heated. You must stir continuously to prevent sugar from burning.

Regular popcorn, on the other hand, can be prepared in a variety of ways. Popcorn can come pre-packaged, allowing you to prepare them in a microwave, an oven, or using the air-popping machine.

Flavour

Kettle corn has a rich, caramelized flavour as the oil picks up the sweet flavour from the sugar. Salt is also crucial to the mixture but just a hint is used. Regular popcorn, on the other hand, is generally considered a salty snack since it’s often flavoured with salt and butter, but other popular flavours include chilli, barbecue, cheese, cinnamon, and caramel.

Nutritional value

While this is dependent on what’s added during and after the cooking process, kettle corn has a high sugar content that can be bad for people with high blood sugar. As for popcorns, it will depend on the method of preparation as well as the topping and seasonings added. The air-popped variants are generally healthy and rich in antioxidants as they are lightly seasoned with salt. Even so, the ones served in theatres are typically popped in oil and have a butter or margarine topping along with a large amount of salt.

Best Vegan Kettle Corn

Although there’s likely more out there, I found the following kettle corns to be suitable for vegans. Keep in mind that the nutrition labels and ingredients list change from time to time, which means you must always double-check before buying.

Popcornopolis Kettle Corn

If you are looking for big kernels of crispy popcorn covered in just the right amount of salt and sugar, then this is your best bet. They make use of just four ingredients that are not only vegan-friendly but also gluten-free and GMO-free.

Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn

This kettle corn is made with real, simple ingredients, which include popcorn, real cane sugar, sunflower oil, and sea salt.

Trader Joe’s Kettle Corn

Trader Joe’s went for a more subtle taste with these kettle corns as they are neither too salty nor too sweet. The kernels are remarkably large all while being light and fluffy. The perfect balance of sweet maple flavour and salt is what makes them unique.

365 Organic Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn

Their kettle corn is made with only organic ingredients, including popcorn, sugar, sunflower and/or safflower seed oil, soy lecithin, and salt. Just like the ones above, these also offer the perfect balance of salt and sugar.

Is Kettle Corn Healthy?

Corn kernels, which are the base ingredient in kettle corn, are whole grains and have the following nutritional benefits:

  • High in fibre: This is good for digestive health and for promoting regular bowel movements.
  • Antioxidants: These are substances that protect your body cells from free radical damage. A diet rich in antioxidants has been found to reduce the risk of serious diseases like cancer and heart disease.
  • Contains proteins: The body needs proteins for many processes, including building and repairing body tissues and cells
  • Contains vitamins and minerals

Kernels are also naturally low in calories and fat. However, due to the added sugar, oil, and salt in kettle corn, they may not the healthiest food choice. As with most foods, homemade versions are healthier than the store-bought ones as manufacturers tend to add more oil, sugar, and salt than you would normally add in your kitchen. Regardless of what type of kettle corn you choose, remember to enjoy them in moderation.

Are Pillsbury biscuits vegan?


Many people consider veganism to be very difficult and inconveniencing but I can assure you that it’s not (from first-hand experience). I’m sure you have experienced those late-night cravings or the desire to have some sweet snacks when chilling.

Did you know that vegan foods can quench all that? I’m talking of biscuits, cookies, sweets, cakes, and all sorts of fast and pre-cooked foods. Some years back, I could only see a few products being promoted as vegan but nowadays they are in plenty. Today I’ll be talking about Pillsbury biscuits. Keep reading if you want to know everything about them, including their vegan status.

Are Pillsbury biscuits vegan? Generally, they are not. Most of Pillsbury’s biscuits contain milk and/or dairy derivatives. They do, however, produce accidentally vegan biscuits that may be suitable for vegans. This means that they are not promoted as vegan products but they are since they don’t contain any animal-based ingredients.

Pillsbury biscuits come in three sizes; the standard Grands, Grands Jr, and the Value pack. They come in different flavours as well, some of which are not vegan. Others only contain traces of animal products while others don’t. This is as a result of producing the non-animal based products in the same environment as the animal-based ones.

Creating different production points can be quite expensive; besides, the company is not specialized in vegan products and Pillsbury biscuits accidentally come out vegan. There are different levels of veganism, so stay with me as I take you through everything you need to know about this product so you can decide whether or not it’s suitable for you.

Are Pillsbury Biscuits Vegan?

Pillsbury produces ‘accidentally vegan’ biscuits, some of which include Southern Homestyle Original, Southern Homestyle Buttermilk, and Flaky Layers Sweet Hawaiian. You will find the cans of these biscuits labelled ‘may contain milk ingredients’. This statement should not scare you away though. It doesn’t mean they are made with milk, but in an environment that supports milk-based products.

Pillsbury Biscuits Ingredients

For a product to be considered vegan, it shouldn’t contain any animal-based ingredients. Here’s what’s contained in accidentally vegan Pillsbury biscuits:

  • Soybean oil- This is sourced from cracking and heating soybeans oil, so it’s definitely vegan.
  • Not more than 2% of Hydrogenated Soybean oil, salt, Dextrose, Potassium Chloride, and Xanthan gum. All these ingredients are vegan-friendly. I’ve already mentioned soybean oil and as for Dextrose, it’s a sweetener extracted from corn. Sometimes, the bacteria used in culturing this sugar can be dairy-based, but that is not the case here.
  • Water: This is obviously vegan
  • Sugar: Natural sugar is also vegan: however, the use of bone char to purify sugar and give it the pure white colour might not sit well with some vegans. The good news is there are vegan-friendly filtering agents and more and more manufacturers are using them to make their sugar suitable for vegans.
  • Enriched bleached flour: Enriched flour means that its nutritional value has been boosted with vitamins and minerals. In that case, they include folic acid, riboflavin, ferrous sulphate, niacin, and thiamine mono Nitrate. It is also bleached with chemicals to make it whiter. None of these additives is from animal products, so enriched bleached flour passes as vegan-friendly.
  • Baking powder: Pillsbury mixes sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminium phosphate, and baking soda to form baking powder. And yes, they are all vegan-friendly. Baking powder is very important in baking vegan foods since bringing out the fluffiness using eggs is not an option.

‘May contain Milk Ingredients’ Meaning

While some Pillsbury biscuits are considered vegan in the basic sense that they are not made using any animal-derived ingredients, they are still made in the same facilities that make non-vegan products. This means that there’s the possibility of cross-contact or cross-contamination and your otherwise vegan-friendly Pillsbury biscuits may contain trace amounts of animal-based ingredients. Most vegans choose not to judge such ingredients harshly since it’s difficult to find 100% vegan foods unless you’re making your food at home. Besides, as I had mentioned earlier, this company did not set out to make vegan products but rather it happened accidentally.

For stricter vegans, even the slightest chance of animal-based ingredients is enough to disqualify a product as being vegan. The ‘may contain milk ingredients’ statement is also put there to alert those with very serious dairy allergies. If that is you, I would recommend staying away from Pillsbury biscuits altogether.

What Does Accidentally Vegan Food Mean?

I said before that Pillsbury biscuits are accidentally vegan but what does that mean? And how are these accidentally vegan products in line with your vegan beliefs?

Well, accidentally vegan products are produced without any animal-based ingredients –whether milk, honey, dairy, or eggs. However, they are not marketed or even labelled as vegan. Most products you see at the grocery are accidentally vegan, be it bread, cereals, crisps, pasta, or some candies.

Pillsbury biscuits are not intentionally produced as vegan but luckily, they are. No animals are killed or abused in the making of these biscuits and, unlike other types of biscuits, consuming them does not increase the demand for dairy products. The cross-contamination is due to the production of animal-based products in the same facility, which you are not purchasing, of course.

Something important to note with accidentally vegan foods is that their ingredients can change anytime. Pillsbury does not operate with the needs of vegans at heart as it’s not a vegan company. For this reason, it’s important to always read the ingredients list on these biscuits before purchase to ensure it’s is still vegan-friendly.

Which Pillsbury Biscuits Are Non-Vegan?

Not all flavours of Pillsbury biscuits are vegan. The outright non-vegan ones that you should avoid include:

  • Pillsbury biscuits with icing: These biscuits are topped with chocolate chips and icing. The semi-sweet chocolate chips are made with cocoa butter, unsweetened chocolate, and sugar. The ingredient list also includes whey, which is not vegan-friendly as it’s a by-product of cheese industries. It’s the residue liquid that remains after straining curdled milk. The product is also clearly labelled ‘contains milk’ so definitely not vegan.
  • Flaky Layers Honey Butter: Despite the name, honey is not in the ingredients list, but butter is. Any vegan should avoid butter as it’s obtained from the creamy part of milk, milk that comes from cows. It also contains Yellow 5, which is artificially made from petroleum products but often tested on mice and rats. Such testing often results in animals getting hurt, developing serious illnesses, and even dying.
  • Southern Homestyle Butter Tastin: This flavour also contains butter. In the ingredient list, it also says natural and artificial flavour. These are umbrella terms used to describe so many ingredients including those derived from animals and plants.
  • Buttermilk frozen biscuits: Note that this is not the Southern Home-style buttermilk flavour, which I indicated is accidentally vegan. This one contains milk product in the form of whey while the Southern home-style buttermilk only reads ‘may contain milk ingredients’.

Is Pillsbury Biscuit Healthy?

A vegan diet is generally considered healthy as it consists mainly of plant-based foods, but that’s not always the case. Many vegan junk foods contain vast amounts of sodium and sugar, are highly processed, and calorie-laden. If you are vegan for its health benefits, you may be wondering whether Pillsbury biscuits should be part of your diet.

Well, they are generally not the healthiest food choice. They have a nutritional value of C+, which is bad even for school grades. In fact, one Grands Flaky Pillsbury biscuit has 180 calories, 450 mg of Sodium, 2.5g sat fat, and 5g sugars! Considering most people won’t stop with just one biscuit, you’ll likely consume a lot of sugar and salt, which is not good for the body. High sugar and salt content in the body has been linked to several serious illnesses, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

There are barely any fibre or whole grains in these biscuits. The only good thing is that they don’t have trans-fat but there are still hydrogenated oils, which consist of more saturated fats than the original oils.

If you are wondering whether they’re highly-processed, yes they are. Just visit the long ingredients list where I’m sure you will learn so many vocabularies.

While it’s true that Pillsbury biscuits are not very healthy, you can still enjoy them from time to time. Just ensure you do so in moderation for health purposes.

Is Synthetic Leather Vegan?


Veganism doesn’t just end with what you eat; it also extends to every other aspect of consumption, including clothing and upholstery materials. Some of today’s textiles are a product of animal cruelty.

The most common one is leather, which is used to make shoes, clothing, accessories, furnishings, and more. Once you realise that wearing these animal-based clothing is literary at the expense of an animal’s life, it’s hard to see it as anything besides cruel. The good news is there are just as many vegan-friendly alternatives. One new textile material in the fashion industry that is getting so much buzz is synthetic leather. But before we get into the specifics of what this material is all about, we need to answer one important question that probably made you click on this article.

Is synthetic leather vegan? Yes, it is. Synthetic leather is basically fake ‘leather’. It is not derived from animals but from materials such as paper, polyurethane, cork, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and waxed or glazed cotton, just to name a few. Synthetic leather is also known as vegan leather, faux leather, or Pleather.

Synthetic leather was introduced as a cheaper version of real leather but later on, it started serving as ‘leather’ for vegans. This became a perfect material for marketing experts, especially given the surging number of vegans in the world. But while vegans might never consider wearing leather, choosing an alternative is more complicated than you think. Synthetic leather has some impact on the environment. Remember veganism is not only about preventing animal cruelty but also leading a healthy and environmentally-friendly lifestyle. There’s also the challenge of balancing manufacturing practices, quality, and cost. People become vegans for different reasons, so read through to find out whether synthetic leather is suitable for your vegan beliefs.

How is Synthetic Leather Made?

The first step to determining whether synthetic leather can be part of your life is to know what it’s made of. Well, much like regular leather is made from different animals’ skin, the synthetic leather is also made from a variety of non-animal materials. This includes:

Plastic Materials

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is the most commonly used material in synthetic leather. It is a plastic material produced through polymerization; a process where the molecules of vinyl chloride monomers are combined. Since it is a rigid plastic, it is treated with phthalates to make it pliable.

Polyurethane

Polyurethane is a micro-fibre based material used in liquid form to paint fabric. This gives the fabric a leather-like look and feel. The process of turning it into a liquid requires various chemical solvents that can be harmful to the environment and humans.

Natural Materials

Although PVC and polyurethane materials are the most commonly used materials in synthetic leather, there are natural options as well. These are both cruelty-free and eco-friendly. Cork is the most common natural material for making synthetic leather, but pineapple leaves, kelp, and waxed cotton are also available. Natural synthetic leather is produced by companies that support veganism and environmental sustainability. Below is an in-depth look at these materials:

Paper

Surprising, right? It is not the loose-leaf paper used in school though, but more of the hard type used in cardboard boxes. An example of paper synthetic leather is washi. It is obtained from the back of a tree named Kozo. In case you are worried about deforestation, there is no need to since the Kozo tree is a sustainable fast-growing relative of the mulberry.

Cork

Cork is very familiar in the fashion industry, especially in wedged shoes. In comparison to other synthetic leather materials, it is considered the most eco-friendly. Cork is totally natural, waterproof, has an organic texture, and is easy to recycle.

Recycled rubber

I have seen so many backpacks made from recycled rubber and they have a leathery texture. Recycled rubber looks appealing and is quite durable.

Tree bark leather

Tree bark leather is obtained from sustainable timber and it is strong and durable. Every piece made from tree bark leather is unique due to different variations of its natural grains. The trees where this fabric is sourced from are fast-growing, therefore no deforestation. Unlike most textile materials, the chemicals used in tree bark leather to make it flexible and durable are non-toxic.

Waxed cotton

Organic waxed cotton has been in use for decades as an alternative to leather jeans and bags. It is waterproof, easily washable, and pliable.

Coolstone leather

It is a synthetic leather material produced from thin sewable slices of slate stone. Coolstone is totally vegan as it is not derived from animals. The fabric has the feel of paper and leather with a smooth matte grey finish.

Pinatex and apple fibres

Apple cores, banana, and orange peels are recycled and used to make items such as handbags. This already sounds awesome, right? Well, that’s not all! The wasted part of the pineapple is used to make pinatex; a fabric that feels a lot like cowhide leather.

These are just a few of the natural materials that can be used to make synthetic leather but one thing is for sure, they are all plant-based. Even the process of changing the raw materials to synthetic leather doesn’t make use of any animal-based products or by-products.

Is Synthetic Leather Safe For The Environment?

Despite being animal cruelty-free, most synthetic leather is not eco-friendly. Plastics such as PVC have the worst effect on the environment. It releases dioxins when burnt, a compound that is very dangerous in confined spaces. The phthalates used to make the plastic malleable can be extremely toxic.

Organic materials used as synthetic leather such as cork, kelp, fruit peels, tree barks, and paper also require certain chemicals to make them durable. Otherwise, they would decompose so fast. Other chemicals are also added to the fibres as adhesives. Plant-based adhesives are produced using fossils fuels, which also cause a negative impact to the environment. That being said, it’s worth noting that plant-based leather is less destructive in comparison to tanning real leather and burning PVC.

It goes without saying that synthetic leather is 100% vegan in the basic sense that it doesn’t contribute to the killing of animals for human consumption. But as a vegan, you also need to be environmentally conscious. While most eco-friendly products are animal friendly, the vice versa is untrue. Plastics, to be specific, are non-biodegradable and leave an intensive carbon-footprint. So, if you went vegan for environmental purposes, you may have to stay away from any type of leather and wear other fabrics like cotton.

What Else Should You Watch Out For In Synthetic Leather?

Bi-cast leather

Bicast leather is not vegan at all. It is real leather with a top coating of PU. This is a grave mistake that you can make as a vegan. Since synthetic leather is made specifically resembling actual leather, it can be difficult to tear the two apart. Don’t worry, although the two look very much alike, they have a few differences that will come out in the next points.

  • Synthetic leather is fairly cheaper compared to real leather
  • Actual leather has a distinct smell, so try smelling a few and it will become obvious. Synthetic leather smells like plastics and chemicals.
  • Synthetic leather has a very symmetrical pattern and pores unlike real leather since skins are very different
  • Unlike real leather, synthetic leather does not absorb water
  • Synthetic leather has a wider variety of colours, thickness, and textures while traditional leather maintains its authenticity.

Although the above features will help you tell the difference between the two, the easiest way is to check the cloth tag. It is also very important to take note of the vegan-status and sustainability of clothing brands. Some clothes and industries are strictly vegan-friendly. Nowadays, vegan or synthetic leather products are clearly labelled and widely advertised, making life easier for vegans.

What Is The Verdict For Vegans?

As I had mentioned earlier, people become vegans for different reasons. Most lead a vegan lifestyle based only on the reason they became vegans while others consume only what is cruelty-free, healthy, and environment-friendly.

Synthetic leather is considered vegan as it’s not derived from animals but its production does release toxic chemicals that are harmful to both humans and animals. It might, therefore, seem hypocritical to save an animal’s life by avoiding real leather only to destroy the ecosystems that sustains them. The good news is not all types of synthetic leather are that bad. Besides plastic leather, organic synthetic leather is not as harmful to the environment.

Wearing real leather is one of the cruellest things to do. Imagine losing millions of animals just to sustain the rapidly-growing leather industry. In fact, when you wear real leather, you become a walking advertisement for that object. Therefore, when someone else desires it, you are creating a demand for more animals to be killed.

Luckily, people can now satisfy their love for leather without hurting animals or the planet. Even though it has a few downsides, synthetic leather is the bona fide vegan leather.

Is calcium propionate vegan?


When following a vegan diet, it’s important to read the ingredients list on every food package before purchase to ensure it is 100% vegan. But some ingredients can be quite tricky to spot because they are unfamiliar. This is especially true for ingredients used as additives in processed foods; these are not as easy to identify as the obvious no-no’s like milk, meat, and eggs. One common ingredient that you’re likely to come across on food packages is calcium propionate.

This ingredient is extensively used as an additive to help improve the volume, texture, and shelf life of a food product. It also contributes to a nutritional value in food products.

Is calcium propionate vegan? The simple answer is yes. Calcium propionate occurs naturally in some foods like cheeses and acts as a natural preservative. However, commercial calcium propionate, which is what is used as an additive in food products, is synthesized in a lab without the use of any animal-based ingredients and is, therefore, vegan-friendly.

With the increasing popularity of plant-based diets and veganism in general, consumers are increasingly demanding vegan-friendly foods. And, food manufacturers have no choice than to heed their demands. This has further driven the adoption of vegan additives like calcium propionate for different food applications.

Veganism is just like developing any other habit; it will get easier with time as ingredients and products in general, get more familiar. Today, I’m going to offer you everything you need to know about this ingredient so you can make an informed decision about adding it to your vegan diet. Without further ado, let’s get into it:

What Is Calcium Propionate And Is It Vegan?

Calcium propionate (calcium propanoate or E282) is a popular food additive used in the food industry mainly as a preservative. It occurs naturally in some foods where it acts as a preservative but today I’m talking about the commercial E282, which is industrially obtained from the reaction of neutralizing calcium hydroxide with propionic acid (propanoic acid). The compound occurs in either powder or crystalline form. It is highly soluble in water but very slightly soluble in alcohol.

E282 mainly functions as an inhibitor and has broad antibacterial activity against yeast and mould bacteria. It often inhibits the propagation of microorganisms, thus stopping mould and other bacterial growth in a number of food products.

Mould and bacterial growth are one of the most costly issues in the baking scene because baking provides favourable conditions for their growth. By prohibiting the growth of mould & other bacteria, calcium propionate is able to extend the shelf life of baked goods. This ingredient can help cut down on food spoilage and wastage, which will save you a lot of money, especially in large scale baking operations.

In addition to preserving food, calcium propionate is also a source of calcium and as such, contributes to the nutritional value of the food. Calcium is a very important mineral for the body as it promotes healthy teeth and bones, hormone and chemical regulation, nerve function, and even heart health.

Why It Is Vegan

The first thing that pops into people’s heads when they think of calcium is dairy products. This is because of the many years of milk advertising and how it is a great source of calcium.

It’s easy to see why vegans may be worried when they see an ingredient like calcium propionate listed on food products. For an ingredient to be considered vegan-friendly, it shouldn’t be sourced from animals or require the use of animal products or by-products in its production. Luckily, calcium propionate is synthetically formed in the lab by the reaction of calcium hydroxide with propionic acid. Both of these raw materials are manufactured without the use of any animal-derived products or matter. From this description, calcium propionate is, without a doubt, vegan-friendly.

Aside from the chemistry talk, E282 is vegan by the simple fact that it is used a preservative in many vegan products. You cannot say a food product is suitable for vegans and question one of the ingredients used to make it. In order for a food product to be certified as ‘vegan’, all the ingredients included in its creation must be vegan.

What Are The Uses Of Calcium Propionate?

This food additive has several applications in the food industry as highlighted below:

Bread and bakery products

Calcium Propionate is commonly added to bread and baked goods during the dough-mixing process because it helps to prevent mould growth, which would otherwise cause them to go bad, without interfering with its fermentation. While sodium propionate has the same preservation properties, it’s not recommended because it can delay the fermentation of yeast. In addition to preserving baked foods, E282 also enhances calcium nutrition in these foods.

Acts as a shelf-stable food additive

E282 is added in a lot of processed foods to prevent spoilage and extend shelf life. For starters, it can be used as a fungicide on fruits like grapefruits, lemons, oranges, and other citrus fruits. It’s also used in a lot of packaged food products where mould growth can occur. This includes in batter mixes, as well as processed nuts, fruits, and vegetables such as canned beans, canned fruits, soy sauce, nut butter, soups, dried or processed mushrooms, and mustard, just to name a few. Last, but not least, some beverages, including soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, and sports drinks also contain calcium propionate.

There are also a number of non-vegan foods that contain calcium propionate, including milk and dairy products, as well as processed meats. While E282 is vegan friendly, the presence of these animal-based products makes the entire food not vegan-friendly.

Beyond its role as a food additive, E282 finds some applications in non-food products, including the manufacture of butyl rubber. It is added to the raw material, which is rubber, to make it easier to process and prevent it from scorching during the manufacturing process. Cosmetics and personal care products are the other common non-food applications for calcium propionate.

Is Calcium Propionate Safe?

This food additive is generally recognised as safe and has been approved by several reputable health authorities, including the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), JECFA (The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives), as well as EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). It’s also worth noting that these reputable authorities have not put a maximum daily intake limit for calcium propionate, which means they generally consider it low-risk.

Some researchers, however, have speculated that E282 can cause migraines, allergies, diabetes, and autism, but there’s not enough scientific proof to support all that. Another study conducted in kids also found that they experienced restlessness, sleep issues, poor attention, and irritability from consuming bread with calcium propionate daily. But this doesn’t necessarily prove that it was the E282 that caused all this.

Others have described it as slightly toxic, although this is common for all artificial food additives. Plus, toxicity will require far large amounts of calcium propionate than what you can eat even if you consumed huge quantities of foods that contain it.

As mentioned earlier, your body doesn’t store calcium propionate; instead, it is broken down by the digestive system and readily absorbed, metabolised, and eliminated. This means that it won’t build up in your cells to cause any serious harm.

The Bottom Line

With the growing popularity of vegan foods, there’s always concern over unknown ingredient(s) lurking in plant-based foods that may prevent them from being 100% vegan. If you are a conscious vegan like me, you’ve probably seen calcium propionate on different food labels. And after reading this entire article, you now have a deeper understanding of this preservative, including the manufacturing process, its uses, safety issues, and more.

Calcium propionate is not only vegan but also safe for consumption. Therefore, if you find it listed in otherwise vegan foods, you can consume the food without any vegan guilt or causing harm to your body.

The truth is there isn’t much scientific evidence providing a definitive connection between calcium propionate and the speculated health risks. This is not to say they are impossible though. If you think calcium propionate might be causing you issues, consult with your healthcare provider.

is natural smoke flavour vegan?


Smoking is an old millennial technique that was used to preserve food and also provide a nice smoky flavour. But how can you achieve this in non-grilled foods? Well, thanks to modern food technology, one way that has been successful at bringing the much-loved barbecue flavour in food is using natural smoke flavour.

Today, you can spot natural smoke flavour in various foods for the purposes of preserving them, as well as increasing their palatability by imparting a rich brown colour and adding flavour. When you talk of barbecue flavours, grilled meat and fish are what comes to mind. It, therefore, only makes sense for a vegan to wonder what this ingredient is all about.

Is natural smoke flavour vegan? Yes, it is generally considered vegan-friendly. The natural smoke flavour is simply real smoke that has been captured from burning woods and condensed. The end-product is a clean, all-natural smoke flavoured liquid that gives a barbecue flavour. Animal-sourced products are rarely if ever, added when making this ingredient.

The natural smoke flavour is quite a controversial condiment. Health experts often voice concern over the possible health risks while barbecue purists give it a strong nay. But despite all that, the marketing trends are showing that natural smoke flavour is becoming more and more popular as a flavour additive. Why? You may wonder. Well, I have done some research on this common food additive and hopefully, by the end of this text, you will be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to include it in your current diet or consume foods that contain it. Without much delay, let’s get right into the discussion.

How Is Natural Smoke Flavour Made?

The origin of natural smoke flavour dates back to 1985. Ernest H. Wright discovered that when hot smoke from fire came into contact with the cool air above, a smoke-flavoured liquid was formed that could be collected, purified, and used for cooking purposes.

Today’s natural smoke flavour is manufactured through an innovative process that involves burning various types of wood at a high temperature. Hardwoods like pecan, hickory, and mesquite are typically used to produce the taste and smell of the real wood-fired grill. The smoke is channelled through a condenser, which quickly cools the vapour causing it to liquefy. The liquid is then distilled and filtered to remove impurities, which are basically soot and ash. What is left is a yellowish-brown liquid that has a concentrated essence of smoke. Alternatively, the liquid can be dehydrated to make natural smoke flavour in powder form.

What makes it vegan-friendly?

From the text above, it’s evident that natural smoke flavour is primarily made from just smoke and water, which makes it 100% vegan-friendly. But it should be noted that some manufacturers add seasonings, colourings, and flavourings. Common add-ins includes vinegar, caramel colour, sugar (sometimes considered non-vegan due to the use of bone char), salt, soy, paprika and other spices, molasses, etc.

Since commercially produced natural smoke flavour can have added ingredients or chemicals, which may not be safe for your dietary restrictions, it’s best to always read the label before purchase to ensure it is 100% vegan.

Uses

There are plenty of ways to use natural smoke flavour. For those who don’t have a smoker or grill but want to prepare some vegan smoked recipes, brushing a few drops of liquid smoke on the food or using in a marinade is all you’ll need to get that much-desired barbecue flavour.

Liquid smoke has such a concentrated taste, so it should be used sparingly –no more than ¼ teaspoon. If you want a more subtle flavour, dilute it with some water or vinegar. Keep in mind that natural smoke flavour tastes differently, depending on the type of wood used to produce the smoke. Those with added ingredients will often take a more artificial flavour.

What if you don’t include liquid smoke in your diet? Well, it’s still hard to avoid it completely because it’s widely used in commercial food production to give different foods a wonderful smoky taste and aroma without having to grill them. Additionally, the smoke has natural bacteria-killing properties that improve foods shelf life.

Nutrition and Benefits

Natural smoke flavour allows you to add flavour to your dish without investing too much time and effort and without adding any fats and calories. And, contrary to popular belief, it contains low levels of sodium, between 0-10 milligrams per serving. This is, of course, for the simple natural smoke flavour and not the kind that includes additional ingredients. Read the labels carefully!

Natural smoke flavour has effectively replaced the traditional smoking method that involved long cooking hours. It uses less wood and includes additional flavouring ingredients that provide an even better smoky flavour and texture to foods.

Trusted Brands That Sell Natural Smoke Flavour

Wright’s liquid smoke

This natural smoke flavour is produced by simply burning wood and condensing the smoke. The only other ingredient is spring water. As you can see, there’s nothing sourced from animals in this additive, making it 100% vegan. It is available in three different flavours, including apple wood, mesquite, and hickory.

Colgin liquid smoke

This natural smoke flavour is made like the one above although the company adds vinegar, caramel colour, and molasses to give it a more mellow flavour. It can be found in four different flavours: hickory, pecan, mesquite, and apple wood.

Lazy Kettle liquid smoke

This company produces pure natural smoke that is highly concentrated. It is made by burning hickory wood, thus providing a rich hickory flavour to all your favourite foods.

Durkee liquid smoke

This smoke flavour is created by burning hickory wood and condensing the smoke. Other ingredients include water, caramel colour, molasses, vinegar, and sulphites, all of which is vegan, gluten-free, and MSG-free.

Figaro liquid smoke

Ingredients used to make this natural smoke flavour are hickory smoke flavour, water, caramel colour, spices, sugar, vinegar, and hydrolysed soy protein. Everything is plant-based although some vegans may have an issue with sugar is it makes use of bone char.

Stubb’s liquid smoke

The ingredients here include natural hickory smoke, water, cane sugar, caramel colour, salt, organic Tamari sauce (organic soybeans, water, and salt), organic distilled vinegar, garlic, and onion. All these are 100% vegan.

Is Natural Smoke Flavour Safe?

As we’ve seen before, this food additive is made by passing wood fumes into a condenser where the vapour is liquefied. Smoke, no matter the source, contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are considered carcinogenic. While it’s true that some PAHs are created in the process of making natural smoke flavour, the liquid goes through filtration to remove impurities. But some of these cancer-causing chemicals may still persist in the extract.

Does this make natural smoke flavour a potential cancer risk? Not really. Natural smoke flavours contain different levels of PAHs, depending on the type of wood used and the temperature at which it was burned. Even so, experts agree that the concentration of these cancer-causing chemicals in natural smoke flavour is far too low to cause concern. The recommended maximum daily PAHs intake is 47 ng/day and most natural smoke flavours contain about 0.8-1.1 ng per teaspoon. Most recipes will require you to use ¼ teaspoon of this food additive, so you should be safe if you are consuming just the normal amount.

Secondly, liquid smoke is said to contain pyrogallol-like polyphenols (PLPs), which are potentially harmful naturally existing plant compounds often found in tea and coffee. The good news is there are substances in the blood and saliva that may naturally prevent any potential damage from PLPs.

Another study found that some brands of natural smoke flavour activated P53 protein activity nearly as much as chemo drugs that are specifically intended to cause DNA damage. But these were high amounts of liquid smoke. This should, therefore, not be a cause for concern if you are consuming the normal amounts as stated above.

Bottom Line: Vegans and Natural Smoke Flavour

When you think of a smoky flavour, the first thing that comes to mind is perhaps grilled meat or fish. Many vegans, especially the new ones who are still craving meat, often miss the smoky flavour.

But with the increasing plant-based substitutes for otherwise animal-based products, vegans no longer have to sacrifice their previous favourite foods and treats. This is seen with vegan meat, vegan candy, and several other vegan junk foods. And, from this text, it’s evident that the smoky flavour is no exception.

The natural smoke flavour is generally a great and suitable product for vegans. And, while there are a few concerns, I wouldn’t worry about them because only a drop or two is needed to impart flavour. This is far too low to cause harm to the body. It may, however, be worth avoiding natural smoke flavour if you have a history of cancer.

If you find otherwise vegan foods with natural smoke flavour as one of the listed ingredients, you can consume it without any guilt. And, don’t forget to include the liquid smoke in your vegan recipes for an excellent aroma and smoky flavour.