Are These Foods Really Meatless?
By Sara Butler
There are many benefits to following a plant-based diet. Vegans and vegetarians eat less saturated fat, more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than people who eat meat-based diets. They tend to have lower cholesterol and a reduced risk of heart disease too. If you're committed to a meatless lifestyle, then make sure the foods you’re eating are truly meatless. Some foods may be cooked in animal products or with animal products you’re trying to avoid. Here are some foods you may want to ask about the next time you’re eating out as a vegetarian or vegan!
Quite often, soup is where meat stocks linger! Before you order soup at a restaurant, you should ask if the soup is made with stock -- even if it’s a minestrone or other vegetable soup. Often, using chicken or beef stock is a way to cheaply add flavor to soups at restaurants, so you should suspect they’re made with ingredients you’re trying to avoid.
Even miso soup should be off the table if you’re a strict vegetarian because it’s usually made with a fish stock.
Salads are often seen as a good bet for people who don’t eat meat -- and it’s usually a safe bet! But sometimes, fish sauce, garum (an Italian fish sauce) or anchovies may be used in the salad dressing and salad itself. For example, some three bean salads have fish sauce added for flavor.
Unless beans are labeled as vegetarian, chances are they’re made with meat. Many Mexican restaurants use lard to prepare refried beans, which is called manteca in Spanish. So while you may think you’re getting a vegetarian feast, you need to doublecheck that it’s actually free from animal products!
While dining out, sauces are a landmine for a lot of things -- including meat. Pizza or pasta is often a go-to for vegetarians when at a restaurant, but some tomato-based sauces are made with anchovy paste. Chicken stock can also be added to marinara sauces -- and even vodka sauce can have pork elements.
When eating Thai, you need to ask about fish sauce in your favorite curry dish too. Many places use premixed sauce that is made with fish. The lesson to be learned here? Always ask about sauces. If your server doesn’t know, they can always find out from the chef.
If you're avoiding meat, then be careful and know what questions to ask when dining out!
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