Being vegan is about doing the best you can to eliminate all animal products in your food and in your lifestyle. When eating out at restaurants as a vegan, we will always have a few extra questions and concerns. Since every single person has the right to choose what their comfort level is when eating out, we have chosen to include all options that fall under the following two categories below, cross-contamination and accidently vegan.
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Cross-Contamination: Cross-contamination used to be a big word primarily surrounding allergies but with restaurants offering many more animal-free options, us vegans are running into the decision of if this is a concern or not. Unless you are eating at a 100% vegan restaurant or a restaurant has said they offer a separate kitchen area for vegan items (we have only seen this at a couple local restaurants–not chains), then you have to assume cross-contamination can and will occur. We do notate cross-contamination, with an asterisk * on menu items we are aware to have shared a cooking space with animal ingredients.
Accidently Vegan: This is a widely used term in the vegan world, with Oreos being the most common used example. Accidently Vegan foods are those that were not created or intended for vegans specifically but they just so happen to not have any animal derived ingredients… except for potentially the sugar, specifically refined white sugar.
I’m not sure if Peta is who started using the term but I had first heard it around the year 2010 from them and I’m sure it had been around long before that. If you are not eating at a 100% vegan restaurant or the restaurants ingredients list does not state that cane sugar or organic sugar is used, then the assumption is that it is possible that the refined sugar is processed through bone char.
Again, this is a choice you can make if this is a deal breaker.
Are These Deal Breakers?
Some people consider themselves pure vegans and for these people we suggest you not eat out at restaurants that are not 100% vegan.
Ryan and I fall onto a spectrum here. Ryan does not mind eating something that either has been cross-contaminated or is considered, accidently vegan.
For myself, I pay much closer attention; choosing items that have the least potential for cross-contamination but also don’t mind having some Watermelon Sour Patch Kids or a veganized Kosmic Karma pizza from Mellow Mushroom ever once in a while.
We respect all spectrums of veganism because by each of us doing the best we can to no longer consume or use animal products, we are collectively making a difference and that is a beautiful thing.