A comprehensive list of ingredients or food items that Vegans will not eat.  What vegans don’t eat is a long list, but, I try to provide alternates to these items where possible.

Yes, its not easy trying to find the right food for vegans!

We are a tough group of people to please feed and we are completely aware of that fact.

However, our heart is in the right place and we are all about saving animal life.

A table spread with meat recipes and captioned What Vegans Don't Eat

Stock Image: Purchased from ShutterStock.com

What is the difference between vegan and vegetarian?

The main difference between vegans and vegetarians is that vegetarians will not eat products that use dead animals.  That means, just like vegans, they will not consume beef, chicken, tuna, etc.

However, vegetarians will consume dairy products like milk.  They also consume honey and honey based products.  The reason is that the cows don’t have to die to produce dairy products.  Same concept applies to honey.

Vegans, on the other hand, don’t consume any animal based product regardless of the living status of the said animal.  Its the believe of vegans that no animal should have to give a part of themselves to feed people.

Vegan philosophy

Most true vegans I know are not about shoving our beliefs down the throats of meat eaters.  We understand that meat eating is not something we can change overnight or by being “in your face” about it.

After all, meat eating goes back to the days of the caveman!

Our aim is to show that there are other delicious options and leave the choice up to you. We are very chill people, trust me.

Most good vegans love to see the world with rose colored glasses!
Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash

Even if you change to eating vegan once a week, we will be happy with that.

So, I will now get off my tiny soap box and give you a list of food that vegans don’t eat.

Some of these might actually surprise you!

When you need to make a Thanksgiving meal or a side dish, consult this guide to what vegans don’t eat.  Your end meal will make your vegan friend very happy.

What vegans DON’T eat

– Meat Products

– Seafood

– Butter

– Eggs

– Milk

– Cheese

– Honey

– Worcestershire sauce

– Chicken Broth and Beef Broth

– Some Sugars

– Figs

– Gelatin

That was a quick overview of what vegans don’t eat.  I made this list after seeing so many misconceptions and constantly being asked if a product is vegan.

Now let’s dive into a little more details about why these food items are not vegan and some alternatives to use.

Meat products

Cows in a field - What Vegans Don't Eat

This image is courtesy of Stijn te Strake on Unsplash

This is obvious, I know, but, I thought to point it out anyway.  I am sure there are more animals that I haven’t listed.  Basically, if it has been classified under the “animal” category, its not considered to be vegan.

Meat products includes

– Beef

– Turkey

– Veal

– Pork / Bacon / Bacon Grease

– Chicken

– Buffalo meat

– Crocodile meat

– Antelope meat

– Giraffe meat

– Horse Meat


Fishes under the sea - What Vegans Don't Eat

Image courtesy of Johnny Chen on Unsplash

True Story: I lived in NYC / NJ for about 12  years and it was a wonderful vegan food adventure.  The stories I could tell about how vegans and vegan food is treated in meat restaurants could fill a book.

One of my favorite stories to tell is when a chef was telling his specials to a group of vegans.  One of them finally stopped him and politely told him that they are vegans and cannot eat any of the dishes he mentioned.

The chef apologizes profusely and tells them that he will make a shrimp cocktail for them as an apology.

Once again, the vegans had to politely tell them that seafood is not vegan.  The poor chef was so embarrassed at his lack of knowledge and I think he spent the next 6 months understanding veganism.

So, here is a list of seafood that is not vegan.

– Shrimp

– Crabs

– Lobsters

– Tuna

– Salmon

– Any item that can be filed under the “fish” category

– Clams

– Scallops

– Mollusk

Anything that can be classified under crustaceans, mammals, fish or amphibians will not be considered vegan friendly.


Regular butter, lard and margarine out not part of the vegan diet.  However, you can easily find vegan butter in your grocery store and its almost always next to regular butter.  Brands like Earth Butter (most commonly used), Wayfare, Miyoko.

Some brands of “I can’t believe its not butter” are vegan and they will label it very clearly on the front of their tub.

I have made infused vegan butter using Earth Balance by adding fresh herbs.  It makes the butter taste even better.


An egg in a cup with a smily face - What Vegans Don't Eat

Image is courtesy of Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This surprises some people, but, eggs are not vegan.  In fact, so many vegetarians will not eat eggs either.  Its considered as “potential life” and so, not vegan friendly.

You can use substitutes like “flax eggs” which is 1 tsp ground flax seeds and 3 tsp water (1:3 ratio works best)

I am a huge fan of using Aquafaba, which is the water in canned chick peas and other canned legumes

Almond milk also works great for basting.  I used it in my Babybel Strudel and other desserts


A glass of milk next to a bowl of soy beans - What Vegans Don't Eat
Image courtesy of rawpixel on Unsplash

Cow milk, Goat milk, bull milk!

They are all huge no-no for vegans.  Even though the animal is alive after the milking process, its considered sacrilege to use their milk.

Instead, almond milk is a fan favorite in my home.  Ever since I got the NutraMilk Machine, I have been making my own almond and hazelnut milk at home.  IT. IS. AWESOME!

Soy milk is most commonly used milk among vegans.  Its easy to find and cheaper than almond milk.  But, some vegans find it hard to digest and opt for nut milks instead


Angle View of 2 Mozzarella Cheese Sandwiches on a Skillet - What Vegans Don't Eat

Oh, how this one hurts!  This mozzarella cheese sandwich is one of my all time favorites!

I have been a huge cheese fan my whole life.  Cheese is the only thing that keeps me from going full vegan.  To my credit though, I have significantly reduced my cheese consumption.  I went from eating cheese daily to eating it once a week to…

…Eating it once a month

My aim for 2019 is to eat it every other month.

For 2020, I plan to be completely cheese free!

Update as of November 2020: I am not cheese free! 🙁

For alternatives, let’s start with Feta cheese.  I made my vegan feta cheese own using marinated tofu and it turned out to be so delicious!

Brands like “Follow Your Heart”, “Chao!” and “Go Veggie” make alternatives to your favorite cheeses like sliced cheese, Parmesan, cheddar, etc.

All the big box stores and my local grocery stores are very good at stocking up on vegan cheeses.  They have done a great job of finding amazing cheeses to serve their vegan customers.


A honey dipper flat on a table with honey around it - What Vegans Don't Eat

It never ceases to surprise me that so many think honey is vegan friendly.  Sadly, the honey making process involves actual bees and many “die” after giving their honey.

Honey is NOT vegan friendly!

Instead, use maple syrup.  Grade A is my favorite, but, many vegans love the richness of Grade A Dark and Strong flavor.

For my money, I like using (affiliate link) Agave more than Maple Syrup.  Its closer to honey in consistency and sugar level.

There are also brave vegan chefs who have made their own version of vegan honey in their kitchens.  Check out this recipe by Mary’s Test Kitchen.

Worcestershire Sauce

A Chef pouring worcesthire sauce on a plate - What Vegans Don't Eat

Image courtesy of Caroline Attwood on Unsplash

I know many chefs and cooks consider it vegan or vegetarian friendly.

Its not!

Worcestershire sauce is made using Fish and that’s just not vegan friendly! Fish is in the top five list of ingredients of what vegans don’t eat!

You can get a (affiliate link) Vegan Worcestershire sauce from Amazon which is actually very delicious.  If you don’t have it, Soy Sauce works just as well.

Chicken or Beef Broth

Chicken in the field - What Vegans Eat

Image courtesy of Rebecca Malone on Unsplash

“But there is no actual chicken or beef in this broth!”

I have heard that being said so often by top cooks and chefs.  So many of these cooks make vegan soups using chicken broth.  I always make sure I ask before I order a vegan soup.

Its funny that I have to explain why this is not vegan to some chefs.  It comes from boiling chicken or beef and that’s why its not vegan.

You can make your own vegetable broth by boiling vegetables or get them from your grocery store.

My personal favorite is to use rice water.  That is the water leftover after boiling rice.  Check out my post on coconut rice where I show you how I make rice water.

Some Sugars

A sugar cube being dropped into a tea cup

Image courtesy of RawPixel on Unsplash.

Did you do a double take when you read that?

Yes, there are many sugars (especially confectioners sugars) that are not vegan friendly.

Many sugar makers use bone char to bleach and filter sugar.   Bone char is basically burnt animal bones. It helps give sugar its distinct white color. As you may have guessed, animal bones are not vegan or vegetarian friendly.

However, many sugar makers are making a tremendous effort to stop using bone char. The sugar manufacturing industry has made great strides in trying to find alternative ways to cut sugar and that makes me so happy to hear.

If you are looking for vegan sugars, check out Wholesome’s line of products.  That’s what I use in all my recipes.  My favorite is their (affiliate link) confectioners sugar


Front View of a Plate of Pancakes Topped with Figs and Blueberry - What Vegans Don't Eat

What?? Did you just read figs on this list??

Yes, you read that correctly.  Many vegans don’t consider figs to be vegan.

Why is it not considered vegan?  Well, it has to do with how the fruit is created

The fig starts out as a shell of sorts and get pollinated by a wasp.  The wasp dies inside the fruit and the fig “grows” around this wasp.

Source: You can read the science behind how a fig comes to be at How Stuff Works.

Personally, I love figs and do consider it vegan friendly.  But, I have a lot of respect for those that don’t consider it vegan friendly.


Gelatin in a small steel bowl

There are many desserts and candies that are made with gelatin.  Marshmallows are also made from gelatin which is why you won’t see most vegans eat s’mores.  However, (affiliate link) Dandies makes amazing vegan marshmallows!  You cannot tell the difference in taste.  Dandies uses Soy protein to make the marshmallows and they are sooo good.

Gelatin is made with the collagen of animals

This means that so many candies and popular desserts are not good for vegans. Many of the candy makers are recognizing this issue and they have taken huge steps to use vegan friendly gelatins.

There are a few vegetarian / vegan gelatin options that you can get online or make at home.

A common vegan gelatin substitute to use is (affiliate link) Agar Agar.  I haven’t had much experience with it, so, I won’t speak to its effectiveness.  If you have experience in it, be sure to chime in at the bottom.

Most Breads

Baked breads in a pile

Image courtesy of James Harris on Unsplash

Many of the breads baked and sold in supermarket shelves are not vegan friendly.  Some use honey, eggs and most of them use whey.

The bread makers are very good at labeling the ingredients and make it clear that they use whey in their bread

But, there are some brands that are vegan breads.  My favorite to use is Dave’s Killer Bread.  All of their breads, except oat and honey flavored, are vegan.

Whole Foods 365 Brand breads are also vegan friendly.

Some of Thomas’s brand and Weight Watcher brand breads are vegan.  Just be sure to check their list of ingredients to confirm that they don’t have honey in them.

Common questions for vegans

How do vegans get protein in their diet?

  • Lentils
  • Walnuts
  • Vegan protein powders
  • Tofu
  • Chickpeas
  • Peanuts
  • Spirulina
  • Quinoa
  • Seitan

This is the number one question I receive, so, I thought I would start by answering it. Believe me, vegans do get enough protein in their diets and its readily available. If you are considering becoming vegan, protein should not be hard for you to get.

Overhead view of broccoli dippers on a bed of greens

Is it hard being vegan?

Back in the 80s and 90s, being vegan was tough. It wasn’t a diet that was well understood and people were not willing to give it a chance.

Most restaurants never had vegan options and there weren’t too many vegan restaurants. Sometimes, you had to go to another state just to find a vegan restaurant.

After the 90s, things began to change. The growth of the vegan industry was exponential as people started paying attention to this diet. Its health benefits, the love of animals and a new resurgence of “flower power” had a huge impact on the vegan industry.

Sign that says drive-by and order

Photo by Micheile Henderson @micheile010 // Visual Stories [nl] on Unsplash

Today, there are thousands of vegan restaurants around the country and in the world. There are hundreds or thousands of food trucks who cater to vegans and travel around.

Even TV food channels dedicate time to vegan recipes.

Vegan products are easily available in local grocery stores. If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, sites like Amazon and Whole Foods have vegan products for sale that can be shipped to you.

Front view of assorted vegetables in a market

Photo by ja ma on Unsplash

Even big box stores will have vegan ingredients, tv dinners and ready-to-make vegan meals that make your life easier. These meals are affordable and don’t break your bank account.

If you are not a cook, services like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef and Sun Basket will cook the meals for you and deliver to your door!

Your local food restaurants will even deliver vegan meals to you!

So, all this is to say, YES, it’s easy to be vegan in the 21st century!

If you are going to eat fake meat, why not eat the real thing?

First, not all vegans eat the “fake meats” because they are over processed and have too many artificial ingredients.

But, to answer the question, its about what’s in the meat! Fake meat doesn’t contain any animal products in it. The real meat contains animal products and that makes it not-for-vegans.

A “vegan sausage” is not the same as “sausage” because the ingredients in the actual sausage are animal parts.

Hopefully, that answers your question. Feel free to contact me with more questions.

I hate vegans because they disrupt my restaurant!

I have heard many famous chefs say that vegans come into their restaurants and completely disrupt their meal service. They say and do vicious things to the patrons in the restaurant.

Just like other belief systems, veganism has its extremes. They believe that they are causing change by their extreme tactics. This may or may not be true.

View of a restaurant with wooden furniture

Photo by Jana Sabeth on Unsplash

Most vegans are all about controlling their corner of the world. They won’t go around preaching or accusing meat eaters of horrible crimes.

We are laid back and we completely understand how the world works. We know that change cannot be affected by extremist tactics.

So, don’t hate all vegans because of a few bad apples. 🙂

Is Puff Pastry Vegan Friendly?

Yes, Puff Pastry is vegan!

That surprises people often because they think its made with butter and lard.

Front view of a tiny black pot filled with vegan pot pie and puff pastry in the background

No, puff pastry has no butter or lard in it. Its made with hydrogenated oils which gives puff pastry its distinct crispy layers.

So, feel free to eat all kinds of puff pastry recipes like vegan pot pie or caprese bites.

Types of vegetarians

If you are not ready to go full vegan, just yet, start by trying to be vegetarian.

You can be a vegetarian that eats sea food or eggs or dairy products.


Octo-vegetarians will eat eggs and/or dairy products. But, they will avoid all meat products and seafood

Top view of a white pan filled with omelette, fruits and veggies - what vegans don't eat

Photo by Eiliv-Sonas Aceron on Unsplash


Lacto vegetarian will eat dairy products like cheese, milk and other dairy products. They stay away from all meat products.

Have you tried my Babybel Strudels or my caprese tart?

top view of cherry tomatoes on the vine on a phyllo dough tart with melted mozzarella balls


Its a common misconception that pescatrians are vegetarians, so, I thought I would add it here to clear up any confusion.

Pescatarians will eat seafood like fish, shrimp, crabs, etc. Since those are considered to be part of the animal kingdom, pescatarians are NOT considered vegetarians.

So, now that you know all the different types of vegetarians, which one would you like to try?

Accidentally vegan products

  • Puff Pastry
  • Nature Valley Granola Bars
  • Pringles
  • Thomas Bagels
  • Most Salsas

Contrary to popular misconception, The above list of products are vegan.

Source: PETA and my personal experience

That is my list of items that vegans don’t consume.  Its an ever expanding list, so, be sure to bookmark it and come visit often.

Its now your turn to tell me. What item surprised you the most on this list of what vegans don’t eat?

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