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Vegetarian Grocery Shopping Tips

Read these 5 Vegetarian Grocery Shopping Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Vegetarian tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Do You Know What's in Your Soap?

Store-bought soap is generally made with "tallow." Tallow is a nice way of saying "rendered animal fat." Because the FDA does not consider soap a cosmetic, the ingredients do not have to be disclosed to consumers. Despite this, some "soaps" have voluntarily disclosed their ingredients. (I say "soap" because most of the so-called soap on the market today is so mutated that it can no longer be lawfully labeled soap. They now label themselves "Deoderant Bar," "Beauty Bar," and "Antibacterial Bar.")

We know that Irish Spring, Dove, Camay, Dial, and Lever 2000 are not vegan because they contain tallow. Both Ivory and Jergens refuse to disclose their ingredients, so you might as well cross those ones off your list as well. And, don't forget Camay, Ivory, Oil of Olay, and Zest all test on animals. So what's left?

Your best bet is home-made soap (which is readily available in health food, novelty, and online stores). Dr. Bronner's and glycerin soap are generally recommended; however, be careful. Many homemade and glycerin soaps contain harmful dyes and colorants that you probably also want to avoid. Just because something is homemade doesn't mean it's healthy!

To avoid supporting factory farming, make sure you buy soap that discloses its ingredients. There are many affordable, healthy, vegan soaps available. Try:

If you want to learn how to make your own soap, which many people are doing these days, there are a number of books, websites, and free videos with all the instruction you need. Try: (free Expert Village video series called "How to Make Lye Soap")

How can I save money on my grocery bill?

Saving on Spices

Buying herbs and spices in bulk at natural grocery stores will save you a bundle. They are sold at a fraction of the cost you pay for a small jar at the supermarket.

How do I choose the freshest vegetables possible?

Choosing Fresh Vegetables

To choose the freshest vegetables possible:

  1. Look for vibrant colors and smooth, unblemished surfaces. (Do not buy wilted, moldy, or sprouting vegetables.)
  2. Smell for an inviting aroma that is pleasing.
  3. Feel for firmness, check for and avoid slime on the surface.

How to I buy fresh herbs?

Choosing Fresh Herbs

When shopping for fresh herbs, be sure to take a close look before purchasing. The leaves should be plump, uniform in color, shiny (but not waxy) and not wilted or blemished. Smell them to ensure that the aroma is fresh and stimulating, and you will not be disappointed with your purchase.

Where do I buy soy products?

Where to Buy Soy Products

The more popular soyfoods such as tofu, meat alternatives, soy sauce, soy flour and soybean oil, can be found in supermarkets. In natural and health foods stores you will find the greatest variety of soyfoods. Asian food stores carry most of those soyfoods used in East Asia. Several products, such as textured soy flour, textured soy protein concentrates, soynuts and soynut butter can be obtained through mail-order catalogs.

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Guru Spotlight
Linda Handiak