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If you’re like me and are amongst those who follow a strict halal diet; with meat based foods being the main point of concern, there may have been times where you have wondered if halal is the same as vegan or vegetarian. In our modern day world we are quickly soaring towards more plant based meals, the main point of confusion is when we notice that food labelled vegan look halal, and food labelled halal look vegan. Whilst there’s no denying the connection between them, there are also many distinct differences, and if you’re wondering if vegan food is halal, then keep reading!
Table of Contents
- What Does Halal Mean?
- Vegan vs Vegetarian
- Is Vegan Food Halal?
- Haram Vegan Food
- What Is Vegan Meat Made Of?
- Is Vegetarian Halal?
- Is Being a Vegetarian Halal?
- Vegan and Halal Foods
- So Is Vegan Halal?
What Does Halal Mean?
Halal is the Arabic phrase meaning permissible, which is something that is in line with the practises of Islam, and the Quran. If it is not permissible according to Islamic teachings/Quran then it is considered “haram” which means unlawful according to Islamic practises. This applies to food as well, because choosing and eating halal food means that it is in line with Islamic teachings and beliefs.
For meat to be considered halal, the animal must be slaughtered in a specific way, through a cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe, before it is drained of blood and then a prayer is recited. Along with this there are certain animals that are halal, and others that are not regardless of their slaughtering method. If you’re wondering what animals are not permissible (haram) according to Islamic teachings, then you might want to check out this site.
Vegan vs Vegetarian
A vegan diet excludes all meat and animal products which include, fish, seafood, dairy and eggs; a vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry, fish and seafood, however there are a few variations of a vegetarian diet that depend on whether you eat or exclude eggs, dairy and fish.
Is Vegan Food Halal?
I’m sure you’re wondering whether vegan is halal, and normally the answer would be yes, but it’s important to recognise that this isn’t always the case. One of the main reasons why we can’t state that all vegan foods are halal is because of alcohol being present in many vegan products. To a vegan, having alcohol as a drink, or as an active ingredient in some ingredients of certain foods doesn’t cause any issues, whereas for a Muslim it is not halal. Many vegan recipes contain alcohol which is commonly present in products like soy sauce, or vanilla extract.
Understanding that halal means foods that aren’t prohibited according to Islamic law, is how we can choose certain vegan foods and call them halal. The main foods that are prohibited according to Islam, focuses on animal products, and since vegans don’t eat meat it’s easy why many Muslims will lean towards vegan products, unless they contain elements of alcohol. Many Muslims understand the distinction between vegan and vegetarian, which is why they normally shop in those aisles at supermarkets, or even state that they’re vegan at some restaurants.
Haram Vegan Food
You’re aware that even though alcohol is vegan it is not halal, and certain dishes that contain elements of alcohol which are vegan are also not halal (although some Muslims say that it is debatable). Strict vegan products will not contain traces of gelatine and rennet, and whilst gelatine might be mistaken for meat it is actually an animal by-product. It’s made when animal skin or hooves are boiled for some time.
If it comes from cows, or sheep that it can be considered halal – of course if it comes from pigs then in no way is it considered halal. The problem is that it could also come from animals that weren’t slaughtered in the Islamic way which will not make the products halal to consume.
Some vegans are very good at avoiding gelatine in some of their dishes, however gelatine can successfully slip into the cracks of most foods that don’t contain traces of meat. It could be in cereals, or sweet baked goods, which is crazy for vegans and those who follow a strict halal diet.
What Is Vegan Meat Made Of?
When it comes to the subject of meat it is quite tricky to accommodate those who follow a strict halal diet, unless they take a trip to the nearest halal butcher shop. Vegan meat is usually quite safe for Muslims to consume without the fear of haram elements being present in the meal. However, because vegans do not follow a strict halal diet, there are some foods that they have, without caring too much about the ingredients, this can be alcohol, or even gelatine.
Vegan meat is basically made from grains, vegetables, and spices, whilst meat from animals consists of flesh, blood, bones, skin and more. In a diverse world where many enjoy different types of meats, that are not always permissible in Islam, sometimes it is safer to take the vegan option. Here are a few to get us started:
- Soy Bean
- Herbs and Spices
Soy is still the main ingredient in a majority of vegan meats today, as well as tofu and tempeh. Soy beans have neutral flavour and they’re loaded with protein and other nutrients, meaning it contains all the essentials your body needs. To make the texture of soy meat-like, many vegan meat producers isolate the protein out of soy beans by a process of washing away the sugars and fibres. Once the protein is left, the texture of it can be manipulated by heating and cooling. It’s then fashioned into the shape of meat and seasoned to taste.
Using wheat to create a plant-based meat is also quite common; wheat gluten or wheat protein, has a texture that is quite similar to meats. Developing sticky strips of gluten protein, helps bring the perfectly delicious illusion of actual meat.
The magic stuff that creates a sizzle on a grill is fat which is found in animal meat. In plant-based meat we fill the void of flesh and bones, with vegetable oils. Whilst some vegan meats can have a pretty high fat content, they’re still much better for you than animal meat, this is because all plant-based meats are naturally cholesterol free!
Herbs and Spices
The magical element that ties it altogether, those who prefer plant-based meats will never have appreciated its delicacy if it weren’t for the brilliant herbs and spices that bring forth the delectable flavours.
Is Vegetarian Halal?
According to Islamic law, vegetarian foods are halal by default. However this does not exclude the non-halal ingredients like alcohol or certain processed foods that make some foods haram. Since a vegetarian diet relies heavily on plant-based meals the burning question on the tip of everyone’s tongue would be “is plant-based meat halal?” Since this “meat” is purely made of vegetables and plants it would most certainly be considered halal. In Islam only animals such as cows and chickens need to be slaughtered in an Islamic way for the meat to be halal. Furthermore plant-based meat does not contain traces of animal products whatsoever.
Is Being a Vegetarian Halal?
It is difficult to give a complete statement on whether being just a vegetarian is most definitely halal or not; sometimes it is down to each individual and their own beliefs. Some Muslims believe that by eating only plant-based meals means that their diet is halal since it doesn’t involve eating any animal that isn’t slaughtered in the Islamic way. But you also have to remember that vegetarian products can and will still contain elements of alcohol which should never be allowed in a halal diet. That being said, stating that you’re a vegetarian whilst only eating halal can be helpful for when you plan to eat out at restaurants that do not serve halal meat. Now that there are vegetarian, or vegan options it makes it much easier to access alternatives.
Vegan and Halal Foods
Say you’re at the supermarket and whilst you may find some halal products, majority of the products in every aisle will cater for those who are vegan, vegetarian or neither. This is how you find yourself in a mishap and stuck looking at the ingredients printed in tiny writing at the back of packaged foods. If you’re a Muslim and follow a strict Halal diet you’ll know exactly what I mean. To make matters simple let’s discuss the common foods that we see all the time that are considered both vegan and Halal:
- Vegan Meat
- Vegan Pork
- Vegan Burger
- Vegan Sausage
- Vegan Sweets
- Vegan Cosmetics
Vegan meat such as beyond meat is usually halal because it contains halal ingredients like, soy beans, mushrooms, and other vegetables. But it’s always safe to read the ingredients before consuming. With the rising reign of vegans, more products are becoming available which makes it easier for us to find. Some types of vegan meat are also available on the market. Plant-based meat is made from plant-based sources, such as soya, peas, beans, jackfruit, brown rice, mushrooms or potatoes. The ingredients are then thoroughly processed to create an end product that looks and tastes like meat.
It is halal to consume vegan pork as long as vegan or vegetarian pork is made without any haram ingredients. Some Muslims believe that labelling a food halal relies heavily on the ingredients rather than the name. As long as the vegan pork, does not contain fragments of the actual pork meat – which is not permissible in Islam – it is encouraged to eat.
A vegan burger made entirely from vegetables is halal, but it is also encouraged to check the ingredients as well so that there are no traces of elements like alcohol or gelatine.
Applying the same logic as the vegan burger, vegan sausages can be halal when prepared with halal ingredients that includes any types of vegetables, as long as they haven’t been drizzled in any type of alcohol, which will automatically make it unacceptable.
Vegan sweets or candies have certainly omitted gelatine, but they may contain elements of flavourings prepared with alcohol like vanilla extract. It’s always best to do some research and become accustomed to the ingredients in some vegan sweets that’ll help you to choose the correct option that’ll accommodate your halal diet so that you can enjoy some tasty sweets too!
Vegan cosmetics refer to cosmetic products that are made without any ingredients of animal origin. However much like vegan foods, some of these products will contain alcohol. However, it is permissible to wear makeup and skincare products containing alcohol providing that the alcohol is not made from grapes or dates. Not all products mention such thorough information on the ingredients, which is why you may have to widen your methods of research. To stay on the safe side, try alcohol-free products.
So Is Vegan Halal?
This depends on what kinds of foods you choose to eat, whilst its completely fine to eat foods that are purely plant-based, it’s also best that you check if they have been drenched in alcohol. Foods like sweets may contain certain ingredients that are not halal, like pork gelatine which some vegans don’t mind, but this is where a Muslim would draw the line. As long as the food does not contain traces of non-halal meat, alcohol, gelatine or other heavily processed ingredients, it is permissible to consume.
Is Veganism Halal in Islam?
Yes, veganism is halal in Islam. We are encouraged to consume some of the animals that are permissible for us to eat, drink milk from, and use in terms of labour. But if you’re leaning towards vegan foods then that is also allowed in Islam.
What is Halal Made of?
Halal food is that which adheres to Islamic law, as defined in the Quran, which is the Islamic form of slaughtering animals or poultry. This involves killing through a quick cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe. Animals must be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter, and all blood is drained from the carcass.