Ask A Vegan: What do you think about not eating honey and small seafood such as prawns, mussels, etc?

There has always been much debate on whether vegans should eat honey or not, and I never quite understood it.  Put simply, bees are animals.

Bees make honey to feed themselves.   The honey they create throughout the year is used to feed the colony throughout the winter.  When the hive feels threatened, guard bees release a pheromone that tell the others there is an intruder, thus attacking.  When a beekeeper takes honey from a man-made hive, they puff smoke into it, dulling the guard bees senses so there are no pheromones released.  The smoke also has another effect.  It puts them in “panic mode” which causes them to eat their honey in the case of relocation to build another hive.  Creating man-made hives and stealing their food is nothing short of exploitation.  The bees not only have to work harder to create more honey (after the taking of humans, and eating of confused bees), but this will inevitably result in a shortage of food for the winter.  I realize bees aren’t the first animals people think of when exploitation comes to mind.  But the reasons are valid why honey should be avoided.

As for marine life, to the chagrin of seafood eating “vegetarians,” fish are animals.  They have central nervous systems which can cause them to feel pain.  Therefore, prawn and mussels would be capable of feeling pain, just like any other aquatic animal.  Evolutionarily, it makes sense for them to feel pain.  They will know what to avoid to stay alive.

Ask A Vegan: What was the hardest thing for you to give up, and are you still missing it?

For most people, cheese seems to be the hardest thing to “quit”.  And for good reason.  There are many studies that present evidence that cheese has addictive qualities, which is one reason so many people have cravings for it.  And although cheese was one thing that I ate on a daily basis before going vegan, I would have to say cheese was not the thing I thought most about.

I have a pretty big sweet tooth.  Ask my boyfriend.  And because of that, I’ve become my dentist’s best friend.  It wasn’t uncommon for me to eat a pastry at Starbucks every day.  The main reason being, I work there.  But when I went vegan, it meant that I was no longer going to pick out day old pastries from the bin in the backroom.  Every once in a while, I would gaze at a doughnut and remember how it would taste in my mouth.  But within seconds of thinking that, my brain would also switch to the process of making that doughnut.  It wasn’t just a vision of a machine squirting out dough.  It was how the milk was taken to make that dough.  It was how these dairy cows would rarely, if at all, get to see the light of day.  How they are constantly impregnated, then have their babies taken from them.  How these baby calves are either thrown back into the dairy industry or stuck in veal compartments where they are not allowed to move (literally) until they are killed, within months of being born.  And how these dairy cows are killed for meat after 3-7 years, when their typical lifespan is 20-25!

Because I work around these pastries on a daily basis, I have the opportunity to eat whatever I want.  But for me to do that, would mean I would be okay with the idea that animals are ours to do with as we wish.  Which strikes me as an incredibly arrogant, speciesist way of life.  Does that mean I am depriving myself?  Absolutely not!!  There are tons of sweets you can eat as a vegan.  In fact, one of the most popular vegan foods in the past few years have been vegan cupcakes!  You can find chocolate (Endangered Species, Newman’s Own), cookies (Newman’s Own, Oreos), and tons of dairy-free ice cream in most grocery stores.  And if I feel like something a bit more fancy, I’ll take a trip to my local health food store, which usually has some kind of delicious cupcake or confection.  And of course, I try to eat any sweets in moderation…as much as possible 🙂

What it comes down to in the end, is this:  I don’t look at it as giving up anything.  It’s not mine to take to begin with, therefore I don’t feel deprived.  There’s a tasty substitute for just about every animal product out there.  Just experiment to find your favorite, or make your own–that’s half the fun!

Ask A Vegan…Got a burning question you’ve always wondered about Vegans or Veganism? Ask me!

While I don’t speak for every vegan out there, I’d like to think I look at things logically and realistically.  Therefore, I’d love to help people understand more about what vegans stand for and what veganism really is about.  I’m here to squelch myths, reinforce logical thinking, and open you up to something you might not have thought about before.  Basically, I don’t want veganism to become what most people think it is–some crazy cult.  Got a question?  Whether it be silly or thought-provoking, I want to hear it.  I will be featuring a question every week, and would love to give you the opportunity to understand vegans a little better.  You can email me, comment on this post with a question, Facebook me, any way you can think of.  Hope to hear from you!