5 Surprising Foods that Vegans Can Eat

You know that you can’t cook a steak for your vegan supper guest, but I’ve noticed lately that there’s some confusion about what vegans can and can’t eat. It’s understandable, and I am hoping that this list helps dispel some myths about veganism.

The other day, I visited a new local food market. One of the vendors there sells ice cream and sorbet, and when I walked by, she offered me a sample. I asked if there were any vegan flavors, and she said no. When I scanned their offerings, I noticed a sorbet made with vodka and asked if that one was dairy and egg free, and she said yes, but that it wasn’t vegan because it had alcohol in it. She explained that a previous customer who was vegan had told her that she was vegan, so alcohol was off the menu.

That interaction highlights what I see as a problem within the vegan community that’s hurting the vegan movement. My friend Dianne Wenz recently wrote a piece about this problem, and I think that it’s something that we need to talk about more openly both within the vegan community and outside of it.

Here’s the problem: we need to stop trying to redefine what vegan means.

Veganism is about protecting animals by cutting out products derived from animals. That means no leather, fur or wool. No cow’s, goat’s, or sheep’s milk. No eggs. No honey. If an animal was exploited to produce something, it’s not vegan.

There are many vegans, though, who have other dietary restrictions as well. There are oil-free vegans and gluten free vegans, for example. Oil and gluten are vegan, but these particular vegans have chosen to cut these foods out for personal reasons. And I totally support that, if that’s how you want to eat.

A vegan diet can be incredibly healthy, or it can be packed with plant-based junk. I know plenty of what I like to call “potato chip vegans.” These are folks who went vegan because they love animals and aren’t really worried about eating a whole food, plant-based diet. Is that the diet for me? No. But it’s a vegan diet, as long as the junk food they choose doesn’t contain animal products.

The list below has the top five foods that folks tend to think can’t be vegan but absolutely can.

5 Surprising Foods that Vegans Can Eat

Pass the baguette!

1. Gluten – Bread, pasta, pancakes, waffles, scones, and croissants can all be vegan as long as they’re made without dairy, egg, or other animal products.

5 Surprising Foods that Vegans Can Eat

Cheers!

2. Alcohol – This one can be somewhat tricky. In general, liquors are a pretty safe bet. Beer and wine can be vegan, but sometimes there are animal products involved in the refining process. This is my favorite app for finding out quickly whether a beer or wine I want to buy is vegan. You can also go directly to Barnivore, which has a huge searchable database and a user-friendly mobile site.

5 Surprising Foods that Vegans Can Eat

Cupcake, anyone?

3. Sugar – Vegans can eat sugar. The only catch with sugar is that, like beer and wine, it’s sometimes refined using animal bone char. YUCK! Florida Crystals makes a vegan sugar, and Whole Foods 365 brand of sugar is vegan. Evaporated cane juice is also a safe bet if you want to make sure a product contains vegan sugar.

5 Surprising Foods that Vegans Can Eat

Drizzle away!

4. Oil – Plant-based oils are totally vegan. Plenty of vegans stir fry, deep fry, oil-roast, and even mix oil into batter for our baked goods.

5 Surprising Foods that Vegans Can Eat

Mmmm … chocolate!

5. Chocolate – When people find out that I’m vegan, after they tell me that they would die without cheese (which vegans can also eat, as long as it’s made from plants!) and they tell me that they can’t believe I gave up chocolate. I promise that vegans can eat chocolate. I have been vegan for almost a decade, and I eat dark chocolate pretty much daily.

Like Dianne talks about in her piece, this competition within the vegan community is hurting us. When people are confused about going vegan or it seems exclusionary, they’re less likely to give it a go.

I hope that this little list helps make veganism feel less restrictive and more accessible. As a long-time vegan who definitely eats her share of potato chips, I can tell you that a vegan diet can be as varied and as decadent as any other way of eating.

101 comments

Jairaj Sanand
Jairaj Sanandabout a year ago

Good info! Thank you for sharing.

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Jean B.
Jean Babout a year ago

Good info! Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

Good info! Thank you for sharing.

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgenabout a year ago

Thank you

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Jairaj Sanand
Jairaj Sanand1 years ago

I think you misunderstood the lady. Most alcohols are not Vegan, that is why alcohol is off the list. In some countries you don't get corona. So vegans don't drink beer.
Maybe the Sample lady was not giving you the details. Maybe she asked which alcohol so she did not know. So the vegan decided not to have it.

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CLAUDE Hennie
CLAUDE Hennie1 years ago

Why vegan shouln't eat chocolate or drink coffee ? Eat cakes and so on ?
It doesn't matter as far as we don't use animal products !

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Renee M.
Renee M1 years ago

Thanks

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Jo S.
Jo S1 years ago

Thanks Becky.

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Mara Comitas
Past Member 1 years ago

Thanks!

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Naomi Dreyer
Naomi D1 years ago

Hmmmmm.

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