Veggies beware

By Andy Dobson

By Andrew Dobson

Herein is a list of things most people would assume are vegetarian but really aren’t. This information is intended for people who are genuinely curious or who want to eliminate meat & animal products from their diet as much as possible. It is not intended to creep people out or shame anyone. Just sharing what I know. Read at your own risk:

  • Wine, beer & booze – Many varieties are clarified with animal products. Learn more and find veg-friendly brands at
  • Sugar – Many brands filter their sugar with bone char. Learn more at Veg Family.
  • Cheese – Most cheese contains rennet, which is made from animal stomachs. Find rennet-free cheeses or learn more about cheese production at Venissimo in San Diego.
  • Things with gelatin, including Gummy bears, Jello, some types of yogurt, certain vitamins and medications, marshmallows, cosmetics, photography products … the list is long and random. Your best bet is to read labels.
  • Seemingly vegetarian dishes at some Asian restaurants. There’s this insanely delicious sauce that accompanies many vegetable dishes. It’s made from fermented fish. It might sound gnarly, but you’ve probably had it inadvertently and loved it. It’s sweet and spicy and a sort of reddish-brownish color. It doesn’t taste fishy at all and it’s in a lot of stuff. If  it’s too delicious to describe, the odds are good you’re eating fish sauce. Just thought you should know.
  • Refried beans at Mexican restaurants. They’re most commonly made with lard and/or chicken stock. I have no reference for this other than asking at Mexican restaurants a lot. Take my word for it. If you care about such things, ask. If you don’t care, don’t worry. If you do care but don’t want to know, be sure not to bring it up at all, because you’ll probably be sorry.
Credit: Carrot with Furrowed Brow, original illustration by Andy Dobson