January 18, 2018

Yes I Eat Honey

First of all: Please don't judge me for consuming honey. I don't want to receive emails or comments that say I am not vegan because of that. I know that veganism is about excluding the use of any animal product, but I still consider myself as vegan even though I eat honey. So please no mean comments...other than that feel free to contact me here if you have any queries and I'd be happy to hear your opinion on the honey topic. I say no to factory-farmed bees & I purchase honey from a local organic beekeeper.

You know how it works. Bees collect nectar, pollen and propolis from plants and produce honey, eat it, feed the queen bee and the larvae, preserve honey and store it for winter.

Last week I asked the vegan instagram community if they consume honey. I got many responses,  a lot of you guys said you consume organic honey and some comments were not so nice unfortunately. But at the end of the day my followers said yes and no, fifty-fifty. I think it's the most debated topic among vegans and probably a never-ending topic, too. However, you should know that there is a huge difference between large honeybee productions and small-scale beekeepers.

I am vegan since 2015 and I wasn't eating honey until last year when I visited Australia. Have you ever heard of Manuka honey? After a little research I found out that it's honey from New Zealand with a high level of stable antibacterial activity. It's also claimed to boost energy, improve sleep, help treat acne and improve sore throat. I have a small jar of organic Manuka honey at home for health reasons - I eat half a teaspoon every time I feel like getting a cold. You should know that all honeys have antibacterial properties, but the ones of Manuka honey are extraordinary high.

Small-scale/organic beekeepers

As I want to know where my food comes from I only eat honey which was produced sustainably and ethically by a local beekeeper's bees. Honeybees produce lots of honey & a good beekeeper doesn't take the whole amount from the bees; they take the honey which is in abundance. The bees have enough honey for winter food store. And if they find nectar in the winter months they can store and keep it, too. I know what you think. Honey but no eggs? What's the difference? Vegans do not eat animals and do not use animal products for ethical reasons, and honey obviously is an animal product. To make that clear, for me it doesn't mean that chickens or any other animals count less than bees. I know the beekeeper, I know where and how he keeps the bees. Honey is a great product and by buying it (from your local beekeeper) you are helping support honeybees and pollination. Honey bees pollinate crops and are good for the environment. Our world wasn't full of orchards and vegetable patches without the bees visiting the blossoms of all the beautiful plants and trees. To come to the point - I consume honey because of its health-promoting properties and to help the environment. So it depends on the individual view as vegan if you eat honey or not. And I am sure that there are lots of vegans out there who agree with me.

Large-scale beekeepers

Commercial/industrial beekeeping is very similar to factory farming. Ugh.

- artificial insemination
- antibiotics
- cut off the queen bee's wings so she can't leave the hive
- remove all the honey from the hive and replace it with sugar water
- no honey left for the bees during winter time

+ some of the honey that you can buy in the supermarkets isn't real honey. The savvy profiteers dilute honey with cheap syrups like rice syrup. I mean, who wants that? They simply adulterate our food and that sucks. I recommend the documentary Rotten - episode 1 - to learn more about the honey industry (especially in the US).

If you are vegan and consume honey, please avoid honey from large-scale beekeepers. Also, if you decide to eat honey as an ingredient in e.g. cereals, chips you have to accept that it might be honey from a greedy large-scale production.

Honey alternatives

Honey cravings and looking for a honey replacement? Here are some wonderful plant-based alternatives that taste similar:

- dandelion syrup
- rice syrup
- coconut nectar (love this one!)
- date syrup (I always buy this one when in Israel)

Let me know what you think in the comments!
xx Christina

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