If you’ve been around me since March, you’ve probably heard me use the term “accidentally vegan” (foods not created intentionally to be marketed to vegan eaters) more than a few times. People often tell me that becoming vegan would be incredibly challenging and expensive, and it definitely can be if you think Whole Foods is the only place to go. But, if you take the time to run a couple google searches (or read this post), you might be surprised by how many delicious vegan things you can continue to buy at your local grocery store without “breaking the bank”.
One thing to note before you continue reading: I choose to eat items that say may contain dairy. For liability reasons, many manufacturing companies cannot guarantee that products not containing animal derivatives did not come into contact with other products in their factory that do. So, they cannot advertise their products as 100% vegan. That said, also for liability reasons, these processes are highly regulated and so I feel comfortable taking that risk.
Also, some vegans will say sugar is not vegan because the refining process involves bone-char. If we are getting technical, vegans do not participate in the consumption or use of animal products so, in a literal sense, this would be true. However, by choosing a bean burrito over chicken, tofu scramble over eggs, and nut or soy-based milk over cows’, I still save more than 100 animals a year from horrific cruelty. In fact, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) endorses a similar attitude towards small amounts of animal products in foods, despite being known for its more radical movements.
So if you are looking to be the “perfect” vegan (whatever that means), these accidentally vegan items might not make the cut. But, if you’re over being perfect and are still with me, here’s a list of my favourite accidentally vegan* items:
I’ve checked birthday cake, cinnamon bun, mint chocolate chip, golden, salted caramel, pumpkin, original and double stuffed, and these flavours do not *explicitly* contain any animal derivatives but you may want to double check if you find a cool new flavour (like, one of these).
2. McDonald’s Apple Pie!
Unbelievable right? McDonald’s of all places actually has vegan/ vegetarian options. Funnily enough, I actually visit McDonald’s more now that I’m vegan!
3. Beaver Tails!
This was my latest discovery at Canada’s Wonderland and I’m still SO happy!
As per BeaverTails Facebook, the following vegan OPTIONS are:
- Cinnamon & Sugar – hold the butter
- Killaloe Sunrise – hold the butter
- Apple Cinnamon pastry – hold the butter and caramel
- Maple pastry – hold the butter and chocolate sauce decoration
- Coco Vanil’ pastry – hold the butter and chocolate sauce decoration
4. [Most] Betty Crockers and Duncan Hines boxed cake mixes!
Many boxed cake mixes are vegan on their own (just check the dry ingredients). All you have to do is swap the eggs for one of these substitutes (I have yet to try the soda) and you’re set. To top it off (literally), there are many accidentally vegan frostings as well, including Duncan Hines Whipped Frosting (Chocolate, Fluffy White, and Vanilla)!
5. Pillsbury Crescent rolls!
The possibilities are endless with these rolls and the buttery taste actually comes from vegetable oils!
6. Clif Bars!
According to Clif’s ingredient chart, some bars may have come in contact with dairy products from production facilities, but there are no actual animal products in the ingredients. My personal fav is the white chocolate macadamia nut!
7. Kettle Brand Potato Chips (and many other chips for that matter)!
Shockingly vegan Kettle Brand chip flavours include: Backyard Barbecue, Jalapeño, Maple Bacon, Pepperoncini, Red Curry, Roasted Garlic, Spicy Thai, and Sriracha. Surprising, eh?
8. Dark Chocolate!
Generally speaking, dark chocolate above 70% doesn’t actually contain milk ingredients. For example, Lindt Excellence 70%, 85%, and 90% Cocoa bars are all pure cocoa! Here’s a guide to vegan chocolate if you want more. Also, if you are a coffee lover, dark chocolate covered espresso beans are (dangerously) incredible!
9. Nature Valley bars!
Granola bars are a bit of a struggle because many of them contain honey (also a contentious point for vegans – if you are interested in learning more, click here) but the following varieties are honey-free:
- Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars (Apple Crisp, Cinnamon, Maple Brown Sugar, Peanut Butter, Pecan Crunch, and Roasted Almond varieties)
- Nature Valley Fruteria Chewy Granola Bars (Mango Strawberry and Strawberry Apple varieties)
- Nature Valley Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bars (Cranberry & Pomegranate, Dark Chocolate Cherry, Dark Chocolate & Nut, and Fruit & Nut varieties)
Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, Jolly Ranchers, Skittles, Dots, Rockets, Air Heads… Needless to say, Halloween was still pretty sweet this year! 😉
11. Justin’s – Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups!
These are actually my go-to treat at Starbucks with the added bonus of being organic and fair-trade! Speaking of Starbucks, this is a great guide for ordering vegan drinks.
And there’s actually tons more out there, these are just some of my favourites. So, to those folks who think vegans only eat kale and carrot sticks, think again.