When you think of a simple food item like bread, very few ingredients should come to mind: flour, water, yeast. Why do the majority of breads on the market have 30 to 40 ingredients, with things like DATEM and L-Cysteine and dozens of other ambiguous ingredients? Because mainstream companies shamefully defile our food supply with unnecessary animal by-products to cut down on costs and exploit every last part of an animal's body. For instance, the Einstein Bagels chain has L-Cysteine, an animal amino acid, in its bagels; L-Cysteine is sourced from hair boiled off the bodies of dead animals. And how about mono- and diglycerides from the fat of animals, sodium stearoyl lactylate from the blood and muscle tissue of animals, DATEM (another animal-fat byproduct), monocalcium/calcium phosphate from animal bones—and let's not forget honey (bee vomit).
Some of these ingredients DO have plant alternatives, but unless the label indicates that these ingredients come from vegetable sources, or that the company is vegan, they are likely sourced from the dead bodies of animals. Other frequently used non-vegan ingredients include eggs, milk, milk powder, vitamin D3, whey and sweet dairy whey, milk fat, and butter.
Luckily, there are ethical bread choices. For example, Food for Life makes an extraordinary variety of breads, muffins, and tortillas that are free of animal ingredients, including Ezekiel 4:9's original, sesame or cinnamon raisin breads; Ezekiel 4:9's sprouted grain tortillas, cinnamon raisin, sesame, low sodium, 7 sprouted grains, brown rice and cinnamon raisin English muffins; and Food for Life's brown rice and rice almond breads. Food for Life even offers nine gluten-free vegan breads as well. It's just a matter of knowing what to look for, reprogramming your normal routine, and trying something new.
Trader Joe's brand whole wheat bagels, sesame seed bagels, plain bagels, everything bagels, cinnamon raisin bagels, organic moral fiber blueberry bran and cranberry orange bran muffins are vegan. Most of the pita breads, tortillas and fresh-baked artisanal breads are free of animal ingredients, too. Trader Joe's also has the following brand-name vegan options: Rudi's Organics wheat hot dog and hamburger buns, Food for Life's brown rice bread and Ezekiel 4:9's original, sesame or cinnamon raisin breads.
The Kroger chain offers a decent natural foods section with some great choices: Ezekiel 4:9 (by Food for Life) sprouted grain tortillas, cinnamon raisin, sesame, low sodium, 7 sprouted grains, brown rice and cinnamon raisin English muffins; Food for Life brown rice and rice almond breads; and ENER G white rice loaf, tapioca loaf, brown rice loaf, and white rice flax loaf.
If you're out and about, you can use your iPhone or other smart phone to find several places that offer vegan breads. The following apps provide an extensive list of all things vegan at restaurant chains: Happy Cow, VeganXpress, Animal-Free (Apple devices) and Animal-Free (Android devices), or Cruelty-Free (Apple) and Cruelty-Free (Android). Here's some more info about vegan bread selections:
Auntie Anne's: Original, Whole Wheat, Cinnamon Sugar, Garlic, Jalapeño, Glazin' Raisin (request it without butter)
Au Bon Pain: Bread bowl, artisan baguette, artisan multigrain bread, artisan sun-dried tomato bread, country white bread, focaccia
Blimpie: White roll
Bruegger's Bagels: Baked apple, cinnamon raisin, cinnamon sugar, cranberry orange, everything, garlic, jalapeño, onion, plain, poppy, pumpernickel, pumpkin, rosemary olive oil, salt, sesame, sesame softwhich, everything softwhich, ciabatta bread, whole wheat wrap
Panera: Artisan French, ciabatta, country, plain foccacia, sesame semolina, sourdough, stone-milled rye, three-seed, and French baguette
Quiznos: White bread, wheat bread
Roly Poly: Whole wheat or flour tortilla, low-carb wheat tortilla
Sheetz: Ciabatta bread, cinnamon raisin bagel, English muffin, everything bagel, panini, plain bagel, pretzel roll, tortilla, wheat sub, white sub, wrap
Subway: Ciabatta, Italian (white), roasted garlic, sourdough, wraps
Tim Hortons: wheat or white roll, soup roll, outcakes, and the following bagels: 12-grain, blueberry, cinnamon raisin, everything, onion, plain, poppy, sesame seed