Becoming vegan and saying goodbye to meat was not that difficult to me, as I was already eating very little meat in my diet. And I don’t just say that. My husband was vegetarian for many years and then went vegan. All the while I was the cook in our home. Even giving up dairy wasn’t too much deal as I am lactose-intolerant and for many years, before Lactofree products came out in the UK, I used to take soy milk as my coffee milk. Gelatine-free gummy sweeties are widely available for my former-Haribo fix and (dairy free) dark chocolate is quite common too. I’m good on all those fronts.
The one thing, I never expected to be a problem, was breakfast cereals. You may think, last time I checked there wasn’t beef in corn flakes – certainly not in the ingredients. But most cereals, it seems, are now unsuitable for my new compassionate diet. Not even suitable for vegetarians, in some cases. Why? Because of fortification. Or honey, chocolate, mallows etc. And I used to eat a lot of cereal, every morning, often at lunch too, or at times for supper in the evening. Comfort food, really.
In order to be more ‘healthy’ most cereal manufacturers fortify their produce with added vitamins. And herein is the problem. Vitamin D especially. If it is D2, which you may find in your fortified soy milk, it is plant based. If your cereal states D3 fortification, it is from an animal source (in most cases – though it is possible to source it from lichen too). And hence, not suitable for the vegan diet. And all of a sudden, from a huge aisle of cereals in your average UK supermarket I can maybe pick a couple of products to eat. To confuse a newbie further, labelling often doesn’t differentiate between the two, just states vitamin D.
Being new to being vegan, I have found the Vegan Womble blog a huge help in finding what is ok to eat, without having to read every ingredient label or to query with the manufacturer a product’s suitability. But just this week I found that cereals by Aldi, listed as vegan on the blog mentioned above, are no longer included on the vegan list Aldi itself produces for their customers. Argh!
This in turn led me to tweet Aldi’s customer service team. I found that the own-brand Cheerios (Loops, as they call them) are no longer vegan due to the fortification issue and that my cereal of choice, the own-label Fruit & Fibre has been taken off the vegan list due to cross-contamination risk – but I think that is a risk that I am willing to take.
Just one of those things that I did not think would be a vegan issue. Thank goodness for supermarket lists of vegan products, blogs and Instagram shares of ‘accidentally vegan’ options.