RSS Feed

Days One and Two

Posted on

My apologies in advance for the lengthy post, but I did a lot of research and didn’t really feel like anything could be left out!

Day one of Vegan in 30 Days involves thinking about why you want to become vegan.  I have written a list of the four main reasons that I have chosen to change my eating habits.

  1. HEALTH
    a.  To lose weight for health and happiness.
    b.  To become a healthy adult before having kids so that I can pass on good habits to them from birth.
  2. COMPASSION FOR ANIMALS
    a.  To stop being a supporter of animal suffering simply because it’s more convenient to just continue eating animal products.
  3. ENVIRONMENT
    a.  To do my part by choosing the most green path I can to actively help the environment in my everyday life.
  4. LOVE
    a.  To be a good example and resource for those I love.

Thanks, Alli for being step 4 for me!

Day two suggests that you spend some time researching the vegan diet.  Being the over-thinker that I am, I did quite a bit of research already.  I decided to follow the book, however, and research an aspect of the vegan lifestyle that I’m not fully sure about.  That issue is honey.  Sarah Taylor’s book states that “honey comes from the nectar of flowers, and is produced by insects (bees), as opposed to animals.  Therefore, vegans differ on whether honey is a vegan product or not.”  I did a little internet research and the Vegan Society’s official definition of “vegan” is the following.

“A way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals.” (See http://www.veganmeans.com/how_veganism/Becoming_Vegan_what_is_veganism.htm)

By this definition, according to many, honey would not be considered vegan due to the exploitation of bees in the often factory-like business of making honey.  In fact, bees are even learning to defend themselves and their hives from the activities of humans.  Bees naturally line their hives with a resin that they collect from plants because of its anti-bacterial qualities.  Now, bees have started to use that resin to seal off hive cells full of pollen contaminated by chemicals such as pesticides.  This is not normal behavior, this is as a direct result of the interference of humans.  (See http://friendsofanimals.org/programs/vegetarianism/is-honey-vegan.html for more information.)

The common argument I found was that the difference between vegans and non-vegans is the element of intent.  According to Jo Stepaniak, at Vegsource.com, “vegans consciously strive to do no harm to any sentient life, including insects. This does not mean that vegans do not hurt others inadvertently, but that it is never their aim to do so.”  Her argument is that bees do not create honey nor pollinate plants for human benefit and that when we remove honey from their hives, we are stealing their food stores that are intended to be used when other food sources are not available.  There are many alternatives to honey and, according to Stepaniak, “from a vegan perspective, there is no justifiable reason for using it.”  (Read more at http://www.vegsource.com/jo/qa/qahoney.htm.)

In addition, it only makes sense that the human manipulation of bees including the removal of honey from the hive, leads to injury and often death of bees that would not otherwise have suffered.  Bees have a nervous system similar to other invertebrates, so while they may not feel pain like, say, mammals do, they do have a stress response system.  Additionally, an article posted on Scientific American describes studies that suggest bees may have feelings.  (Read more here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=do-bees-have-feelings.)

Since I am really new to the whole vegan way of life, I am going to hold out on deciding for now.  I am compelled by the argument that vegans do not participate in exploitation of or cruelty toward animals of any kind, so I think I will choose to abstain from honey consumption, but I will wait until toward the end of my 30 steps to make that decision.

Advertisements

About mrsnikkiv

I blog to document my experience transitioning to a vegan lifestyle.

2 responses »

  1. denniscmichael

    Two points regarding Honey issues:

    1, You say that there are many substitutes for honey. Let me lightly challenge that. Yes, there are a wide variety of “Sweeteners” but there are many ways in which honey is in many ways a miracle food, and unique. Hikers and explorers tend to bring honey with them on ventures into remote areas. Honey requires no refrigeration, and does not spoil. (Honey left in the tombs of Pharaohs was determined to be wholesome and edible after thousands of years) Therefore, a small bottle of honey is thought to be, by many, an ideal survival food because it provides considerable energy for small weight and size and is, on top of that, a useful topical antibiotic.

    2. Honey is a financial incentive for the human race to, at least, pay attention to honeybees. The activity of bees is essential to healthy pollination, and a broad spectrum of plant life depends on them. However, the human race could not care less, unless there is a buck to be made off them. Honey (and the lesser important business of renting hives to farmers for pollination services) provides that buck, and gives at least some people a reason to defend these honeybees against mounting human created environmental threats. Talk people out of buying honey, and the bees may “Seem” less valuable for short term thinkers. You can consider it exploitation, but it may be keeping them alive., There are parallels in nature: The entire idea of “Fruit” is intended that plants offer nutritious “bribes” so that animals eat the fruit and then spread the plant’s seeds in their droppings, with the overall benefit going to the plant. Honey may be considered in a similar way.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: