What is in Good Food?

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What is in Good Food?

What is in good food? You will get different answers depending upon who you ask. One person may say protein is in good food, everyone needs a lot of protein and not many carbs. Another person may say good food is made with only organic ingredients and no GMOs. Some people may even say, I don’t care what’s IN my food, I just want it to taste good! So, it is hard to say what is in “good food”, but most people think they know what is in their food. Do you?

No matter what type of diet you follow, you may be shocked to find out what is in food that you label “good”. While you are eating healthy your yogurt in the morning so you will be regular, do you expect to be eating pig skin as well? How about when you went camping with your kids and you roasted marshmallows & made smores. Did you know you were feeding your kids cows bones? Since I know everyone loves to eat anchovies, I’m sure you put them on your salad, right? Salads are good food, right? Well if you order a Caesar salad, you’re eating them, and if you follow up with a steak and use Worcestershire, you just got a double dose!

I’ve got the Top 20 “Hidden” Animal Ingredients in your food. Some may not bother most people, some may, but most of all, you may be shocked to find out the ingredients in your “good food”.

First I will list the ingredient, then explain what it is or where it comes from, explain what it is used in or for and then state the alternatives if any exist.

1.  Anchovies- Small silver fish. Used in traditional Caesar salad dressing & in Worcestershire sauce. Alternative – A vegetarian Worcestershire sauce is made but is not available everywhere, you can also find Caesar salad dressing without anchovies.

2.  Glycerides – (Mono-, Di-, & Tri-)  Mono and diglycerides are used together to prevent oil and water from separating in food products and are usually in such small amounts they will not be listed on the label or they are not listed because they do not fall into any of the fat category types. They are used in bakery products, chewing gum, whipped topping, margarine,processed foods, ice cream and usually come from animal fats. Alternative – Glycerol can be derived from plants.

3.  Isinglass – A substance originally derived from the dried air bladders of sturgeon, now from the air bladders of cod. Used in Britain in the beer and wine making process to expedite the clarification process. The isinglass is put into the cask with the beer, the yeast are attracted to it and together they form a jelly like substance and sink to the bottom. Alternative – Let the process occur naturally.

4.  Stearic Acid (Octadecanoic Acid) – Stearyl Alcohol is a derivative – It is a fatty acid and it’s name is of Greek origin, meaning tallow. It is a waxy substance and is usually derived from animal fats because they have a much higher percentage of Stearic Acid. The only exceptions are cocoa butter and shea butter. Used in candy, vanilla flavoring, baked goods, and as a pill coating. It has other uses, but I’m sticking to food. I stated the alternatives above.Assorted jelly beans

5.  Confectioners Glaze, Pure Food Glaze, Natural Glaze – Contains shellac which come from the resinous excretion of the cocoons of certain insects. Used as a glaze on candy, some coffee beans & chewing gum. According to Wikipedia and some company websites, some examples of the candy it is used on are Candy Corn, Hershey’s Whoppers and Milk Duds, Nestle’s Goobers and Raisinetes, Tootsie Roll Industries’ Junior Mints and Sugar Babies, Jelly Belly’s Jelly Beans and Mint Cremes, Russell Stover’s Jelly Beans, and several candies by Godiva Chocolatier. Alternative – A plant wax derived from corn called Zein.

6.  Whey – The watery liquid that separates from solids during the cheese making process. Used in protein powders, crackers, breads, cakes, processed foods.

7.  Lard, Cooking Fat, Shortening – Made from pig fat. Used in store bought pie crusts to make them flaky, packaged snack cakes, cookies, crackers, flour tortillas, and refried beans. Alternative – Vegetable oil or shortening.

8.  Carmine Cochineal or Carminic Acid – Red coloring made from ground up insects. 70,000 beetles are killed to make one pound. Used in Red food coloring, candy, juice, colored pasta, etc.  Alternative – Beet juice.

9.  Casein – Derivative Sodium Caseinate – Milk protein.  Used in non dairy creamers, potato chips, and some soy cheeses. Alternative – Soy protein, soy milk or other vegetable milks.

10.  Gelatin – A protein that was primarily derived from the bones, cartilage, tendons, & other tissue of cows. Today it is mostly a by-product of pig skin. Used as the main ingredient in Jello, which has sugar, flavor and dye added. It is also used in marshmallows, any frosted toaster pastry other than an organic brand, some yogurt, some sour cream, frosted cereals and some other cereals especially if they have yogurt or marshmallows, pies, prepackaged snack desserts, some prepackaged guacamole, etc. Alternative – Pectin or agar-agar.Person holding a Smores

11.  Rennet – Derivative of Lipase, an enzyme from the stomach of a cow. Used to make cheese. Alternative – There is a synthetic rennet, but if the package does not state that it is engineered, it came from a cow’s stomach. The other alternative, of course is to buy or make vegan cheese.

12.  Albumin, Albumen – The protein of egg whites. Used in cakes, cookies, candies, etc. Alternatives – Some types of Albumin can be found in the seeds of plants, such as Hemp.

13.  Suet – Hard, white fat around the kidneys and loins of sheep and cows. Used in margarine, pastries, for deep frying, sweet puddings and dumplings such as those made in England. Alternative – Vegetable oil, vegetable shortening.

14.  Tallow – Made from suet, unlike suet it does not need to be refrigerated, it is solid at room temperature and is often mixed with lard. Used in shortening, for deep frying and on wax paper. Alternatives – Vegetable tallow, Japan tallow.

15.  Natural Flavorings – Can be anything from a plant or animal. Used in processed foods, prepackaged foods, soups, flavored rice, flavored noodles, just about anything you can buy. If the label does not specify animal or plant derived, you have no way of knowing other than contacting the company, even if the label says vegetarian. Alternatives – Vegetable flavorings.

16.  Propolis or Bee Glue – A mixture of tree sap and bee saliva used by bees as a sealant in beehives for unwanted spaces. It is very important in maintaining the structure of the hive. It is used in chewing gum and natural toothpastes. Alternatives – Synthetics or use another sap.

17.  Vitamin D3, Cholecalciferol – Comes from fish liver oils or lanolin. Used in supplements and fortified foods. Vitamin D1 is made by humans from sunlight and Vitamin D2 is made from plants or yeast.

18.  Bone Char – Charred cow bones, except the skull and spine, heated to over 1200 degrees F in a sealed container and then used to refine and remove color from things such as white sugar.  Alternative – Raw sugar, agave, stevia or any other sweetener.

19.  This one may not be a food, but the world needs to know this information. Premarin – Brand name of a drug used for estrogen replacement in women during or after menopause. The hormones in this drug are derived from a pregnant mares urine. Alternatives – There are natural hormone replacement therapies, there are plant extract types of estrogen or you can wait it out.

20. Chitosan – A fiber derived from the shells of crustaceans. Used as a lipid binder in diet products and used to clarify wine, mead and beer (mostly used in wine making). Alternatives – Scientific studies have not proven this to be an effective product for weight loss and once again, there are many ways to make wine, mead and beer.

Well, that’s all for now. At some point I may put up a few more things that are used in cosmetics, but I mostly want people to hear about substances or ingredients that are widely used. If there was not one thing on here that shocked or surprised you, good for you, you’re on top of your game!

16 thoughts on “What is in Good Food?

  1. Lauren Kinghorn Reply

    Oh my… what an eye-opener! I kept thinking I. Did. Not. Know. That. all the way through. Now I’m scared to eat sweets, yoghurt and anything with red colouring. The Premarin info was particularly disturbing. What surprises me most is that the FDA doesn’t clamp down on the companies adding these ingredients. Shouldn’t we at least be seeing warning labels about this stuff? Thanks for enlightening us!

    1. Keli Tucker Reply

      Hey Lauren,
      Thank you for your comment! Yes, it seems like we have the right to know what is in our food, especially when it comes to some of the gross things I listed. But, legally you do know, it’s right on the package. Typically when I pick up a product, if there is an ingredient that I can’t pronounce, it goes back. Something like Ferric Orthophosphate, what is that? It a derivative of Iron Phosphate and in the European Union it is not allowed for human consumption, however it is still allowed in the US. It’s very scary how many ingredients are made in laboratories today and I don’t believe it’s helping anyone. Thank you for your comment 🙂 Please come back and visit again!

  2. CobusvdM Reply

    Wow, this is very interesting. Personally I don’t do the vegan thing. I’m rather on the other side of the spectrum, loving my high protein, high fat content and low carb meals. I am avoiding starch foods. I love my full cream unsweetened yogurts and I was very disgusted to read the following on one specific product label:
    “Stabilizer, Corn Starch” ..can you imagine, I’m trying to avoid starch. 🙁
    Your list of 20 so called “Good Foods” containing animal products is rather informative, especially if you follow a vegan lifestyle.
    Very good article. I enjoyed reading it.

    1. Keli Tucker Reply

      Thank you for your comment, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I typically do not eat a lot of carbs myself and if I do they are complex carbs. Most vegans do not eat white flours, breads, pastas or sugar. I eat super grains which are actually proteins, like quinoa pasta or regular protein sources like chickpeas, but chickpea flour. Plus eating lots of fresh vegetables, as long as you stick to the greens and steer clear of all the starches, naturally provides you with a low carb diet. The protein thing is a long perpetuated myth. Unless you eat liver on a regular basis, your daily protein intake is probably about the same as a vegan mans 🙂 It’s just about education, that’s why I made my site, there’s so much to learn, but growing up where I did, I had no idea what to eat when I quit eating meat. I ate pasta and beans and gained weight and was sick a lot. But, if you don’t know and no one around you knows what are you supposed to do? I bought cookbooks but geez, the recipes might as well have been in Latin! I didn’t know what Nutritional Yeast, Liquid Aminos, Kamut, Quinoa, Millet, all of these things were. I grew up in a little town in Alabama and my Dad was and still is a milk man. I was raised eating meat and drinking milk, my parents had no clue what I was talking about and honestly, didn’t give a flip. Lol So, for all the people who want to try something different every now and then or for people who want a meatless meal or diet, I want to get the information out there so they are not eating things that taste bad or becoming unhealthy. Please come back, you never know, you may see a recipe you just can’t resist 🙂

  3. Clyde Reply


    I don’t know if I wanted to know these facts about food!

    Maybe I didn’t but I am glad that I came across this and can now make intelligent choices of what I put in my mouth.

    Thanks for the informative article


    1. Keli Tucker Reply

      Hey Clyde!
      Yes, it is disturbing to find out what disgusting things are in our food and the bad thing is, that’s not all of the crazy things. The more processed and “hi-tech” a food or especially a diet product is, the more likely science has derived an additive from some disgusting thing. Cosmetics, health, bath and body products are even worse and the ingredients are right on the label. But the chemical compound name for all of the scientifically modified ingredients is usually 25 letters long and no one knows what they are reading. It’s sad, in the US so many chemicals and compounds are allowed in foods and cosmetics that are not allowed in the European Union and some other countries. You are very welcome for the article, I’m glad you appreciated it 🙂 Please come back and check out some recipes some day! 🙂

  4. Steve Reply

    Gross! Now I’m just going to stop eating all together!

    1. Keli Tucker Reply

      Hey Steve,
      You should definitely not stop eating all together. lol Just try to incorporate as much fresh fruits, veggies, legumes and grains, into your diet as possible. Follow the 5 rule, if it has more than 5 ingredients don’t buy it 🙂 Check out some of my very simple, healthy, quick and economical recipes! 🙂

  5. Rob Reply

    Oh wow. Tons of helpful information here on nutritious, delicious foods. I love your article. You make deciding on what foods to get that much easier. I think I will personally try some of your recommendations. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Keli Tucker Reply

      Hey Rob!
      Thank you for visiting my site and I’m glad you liked the article 🙂 Come back any time and check out my recipes, they are quick, yummy, healthy, easy and economical! You never know you may find something you just have to try!

  6. Kerry Reply

    This was definitely eye opening about sweets! I have mixed emotions since im an avid candy lover…especially my twizzlers. I think I will think twice before buying those again.

    1. Keli Tucker Reply

      Hey Kerry,
      Yes, it is scary indeed to find out we are eating disgusting things, but once you know what to look for on labels, it’s much easier 🙂 Look through some of my recipes, I know there is a super easy blueberry crisp in there that is so yummy! I cook with raw sugar, raw cocoa powder and Earth Balance Vegan, I’m not big on carob, applesauce and bananas in my sweets, so I’ve got a pretty good collection, I’m deciding when to post more of them 🙂 Thank you for visiting, come back again 🙂

  7. Grant Reply

    Maybe it’s better if we just don’t eat! Over the years food has been modified so much that we probably don’t recognize the original stuff. I know that foods have lost a lot of nutrients over the years, due to many factors, and a lot of the things done to food to preserve it can kill nutrients too. I read somewhere that it takes eating 8 apples not to get the same nutrients we would get from 1 apple 50 years ago. Thanks for the info.

    1. Keli Tucker Reply

      Hey Grant,
      Thank you for your comment! It is sad to see what is happening to our food, but if we are all careful not to buy so much processed food and eat more fresh foods it will help a lot. Plus the higher the demand for organics the lower the price will get, supply and demand. I knew about the nutrient decline, but never heard numbers, I believe you. Making food with technology just sounds like a bad idea, yet we do it every day! Please come back and visit again 🙂

  8. Kevin McNamara Reply

    Hi Keli,

    No surprises there for me. I steer clear of all that gunk and try very hard to stick to a mostly plant based diet with lots of smoothies and juices, fasting etc.

    We wonder why there is so much sickness around and hospitals can’t cope. Look in your food people!

    I have the occasionally white meat like chicken or fish but have cut out dairy. I feel so much better for it.

    Great post. Good food is sometimes hard to find if you love junk haha!

    Keep up the great work,


    1. Keli Tucker Reply

      Hey Kevin!
      Thank you for your comment 🙂 You are exactly right, once I became a healthy vegan with a diversified diet I have been extremely healthy. One reason I started this page was to try and help people learn to be healthy if they want to cut food out of their diet, but have no idea what else to eat. That’s the situation I was in for so long and I just wasn’t healthy. Not because I didn’t eat animals, but because I didn’t eat a wide variety of healthy foods. Thank you for your kind comment and encouragement! Come back any time and check the site out, there are some great recipes here as well!

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