Product Review: Bee Free Honee! »
A lot of vegans are like, “what’s the big deal about honey?” I’ll tell you: IT’S SO GODDAMN GOOD. I love that stuff! Like, so much. And I don’t like agave at all, so I just gave up on the things I like to eat with honey.
Then I saw this Bee Free Honee! How excited was I?! So very excited. I got a free bottle to try and now I will tell you all about it.
I was skeptical but then when I opened the bottle, I was like, holy cannoli! It smells like honey! Plus, it looks like honey! I tried a little just on my finger and… it tastes like honey!
It doesn’t taste exactly like honey; It has a tartness that most honey doesn’t really have. But if you are a honey expert like me, you know that there are many different honeys that vary in taste depending on the flower source. This kind of tastes like one of the more exotic honey flavors.
As I said, when I tried it straight, it tasted a lot like honey. Then I tried it on Shredded Wheat with warm coconut milk; it melted pretty quickly and the tartness came out more; I didn’t love it. Then I tried it on graham crackers with peanut butter, and it was great!
There are many other great things about Bee Free Honee. It’s made entirely of apples, beet sugar, and lemon juice. It’s safe for babies and people with honey allergies. Katie Sanchez, the creator of Bee Free Honee, also takes great pains to make her carbon footprint as small as possible: She sources local apples, and one day hopes to have production facilities powered by wind and solar energy. Plus, I’ve heard some weird stuff about agave, so Bee Free Honee would be a great alternative. You know what? This would be perfect in your Charoset at Passover!
Ask a Vegansaur, vol. 03 »
It’s that time again: I’ve accumulated enough questions/found enough time in my busy schedule of unemployment (now accepting paying-job leads!) to write another round of Ask a Vegansaur! This one only consists of two questions because they are long. Deal with it.
Tim asks: We know that the traditional vegan rejects honey as part of the general “exploitation and abuse of living creatures” principle. But what about the use of bees as pollinators? Bee colonies are used in large numbers for commercial agriculture. Should “real vegans” mostly reject strawberries, blueberries, almonds, and other “confined bee” pollination-required forms of vegetable matter?
Dang, Tim, you smart! Before I answer the question, I’d like everyone to know that when you eat figs, you might be eating wasps: Wasps can get trapped inside a fig while pollinating its flower and subsequently DIE. That’s nasty, but I digress.
In truth, I have not thought about this much before, but I’m going to try to answer this question reasonably and intelligently. Although bees can’t give consent, I would say that it’s difficult to “force” bees or other insects to do your bidding because they are relatively small and hard to trap. Bees can and will leave the hive for any reason their bee brains deem fit. You can smack a bee or squash it, but it’s risky to humans. Plus it’s hard for the layperson to gauge a bee’s emotions, so you won’t see a bee squealing in fear like a pig about to be slaughtered.
I feel beekeeping is on a different level than factory farming. All we ask the bees to do is pollinate (the byproduct of honey is another topic), which they’d do anyway, and then we harvest the plants. So while almonds, berries, and the like might not be vegan in the sense that they’re technically the result of animal byproducts, I don’t think it’s necessary for vegans of any stripe to avoid them. Am I in the wrong? What do you readers think?
Ellen asks: I work at a grocery store where they put labels on the products for specific nutritional info. Now, I was looking at some of the info on some products that weren’t labeled vegan, and they did not contain any animal ingredients, but there is a statement saying that they may have come in contact with milk/eggs or that the product is processed in a facility [with] non-vegan products. Would you still consider these foods vegan? Or are they considered non-vegan because of the chance that they came in contact with something like that?
One of the unfortunate facets of veganism is that we have to place a lot of trust in the products we choose to consume. Readers might recall the Emes Kosher-Jel scandal of 2005 or so, in which a product most vegans considered “safe” was shown to contain gelatin. While that was unfortunate, I don’t think that made anyone who had consumed it no longer vegan.
Because food manufacturers are being held increasingly responsible for food allergen content, good hygiene practices for workers and machines are becoming more popular. We should try to do the best we can with what we have. The point is that we’re thinking about it. The more we support vegan products, even though they might share facilities with non-vegan ones, the more likely the companies might be able to afford their own facilities one day.
To answer your question succinctly (tl;dr): Yes, I still consider these products vegan, especially because the likelihood that they came into contact with trace animal products is minimal.
Want to Ask a Vegansaur a question? Email me, and try not to be a jerk!
[Image by fklv via Flickr]
Top 10 links of the week: a rollercoaster ride through veganism! »
[Deer and Goose are BFF. Your cute animal viral video of the week!]
Ecorazzi had a post today where they quoted yours truly! In Martha Stewart, Honey and the Great Vegan Debate, they discuss the state of honey in the vegan community. Is honey vegan? Do bees count? Go comment and weigh in!
From City’s Best, “10 Meatless Musts in San Francisco." Vegansaurus is about to drop a similar list so be on the lookout. Ours will of course be not only informative but also the funniest ever.
Recently, Huffpo did a piece about the best sandwiches in the U.S. and none were vegan. Now they’re all vegan! Huzzah! A bunch of vegan bloggers—like, everyone besides us—created vegan versions of each sandwich. Maybe next time we’ll be included, eh? Just kidding! Cooking is for the womenfolk.
Our Hen House (who I hear was at the Martha Stewart episode with me but I didn’t meet them!) has started a cool endeavor, The Gay Animal Series, about the relationship between gay rights and animal rights. Check it out! You will feel so cultured and smart, you can skip the next This America Life! Which works out great for me because when you rehash the episode to me in detail, that’s not actually a conversation.
The Village Voice has an NYC guide to tofu—imagine that! I love me some tofu so I’m all over this one. It’s all the best tofu from various restaurants throughout the city. I haven’t been to any of them. How come you never take me out anymore!
Head over to A Soy Bean for a recap of the NYC Vegetarian Food Fest last weekend. Treehugger has a review too but no pictures! There’s a few videos, but no pictures? We love the pictures! Abby Bean has a ton of pictures. Pictures.
Cheeky Chicago has a nice post on how to make a variety of vegan cheese-substitutes. Walnut Parmesan Sprinkles? YES DEFINITELY GIVE IT HERE.
For a little homespun fun, check out Laura’s The Week in Vegan at SF Weekly. Leave a comment, let her know you care! And let SF Weekly know we vegans are plentiful and emotive.
Babe in Soyland has a great post about veganism and the idea that it means AUTOMATIC weight-loss. Here’s a taste: “People need to know that vegans come in ALL shapes and sizes and that fat vegans (the ones I’ve met are proud to be both fat and vegan) aren’t doing something “wrong” in their vegan diets. There is no “stereotypical vegan”—unless the stereotype is having awesomely low cholesterol.” Read it and tell me what you think.
Finally, from Lovely Bike, a list of vegan bike saddles! That means bike seats. I’m partial to this first one they’ve picked out, it’s the hotness:
Lax food safety standards make veganism a safer choice »
"Food safety" is totally conceptual, right? Like "equal rights for all humans," everyone’s all for it in theory, but in practice it just…isn’t.
The forced labor camps in Iowa where all the Salmonella-eggs came from had “pits beneath laying houses where chicken manure was piled four to eight feet high” and “hens that had escaped from laying cages [were] tracking through the manure.” Not to mention the “meat and bone meal” chicken feed tested positive for Salmonella AND was kept in bins full of holes! Want to feel worse? Read all the stories on Chow’s list of the terrible history of the DeCoster farms.
Or, OK, leave off the half-million recalled eggs; maybe they were some kind of huge outlier. An FDA inspector hadn’t seen the inside of one of those chicken-prisons in at least six years, anyway. How’s the meat industry doing? Very poorly, is the answer! They’ve fought every change to every regulation, claiming that they follow all the rules and new ones are unnecessary. Now a super-rare strain of E. coli has appeared in ground beef from Cargill, but the American Meat Institute says that they’re so busy working on preventative measures, which would be blown all to pieces if the Dept. of Agriculture dared to list this new scary E. coli as an illegal substance in ground beef. Even though it has already make people sick, and forced a recall of 8,500 pounds of Cargill ground beef—no no, it’s not THAT bad! Shut up and listen to the nice executives, FDA.
And if you don’t eat meat: how about some honey from China? It’s full of delicious antibiotics! Not that China has time to worry about one company’s scam; it discovered that 402 tons of imported dairy products—99.8 percent of total dairy imports!—were full of Enterobacter sakazakii, plus “excessive amount of nitrites, zinc and total bacterial count.” Wait, E. sakazakii has “historically high case fatality in infants,” up to 80 percent, and the aforementioned “dairy products” were POWDERED MILK FORMULA? That people FEED THEIR INFANTS? Way to go, every country involved in this disgusting scandal, which include Australia, France, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, the U.S., and of course China: you are all reprehensible. [news links via Tom Scocca]
Of course it’s safer—and more humane, but duh—not to eat animal products, but for how much longer? If we don’t change our methods of food production, the world is fucked. The animal-borne bacteria will get into our produce because giant farms aren’t careful with their runoff, and we’ll all perish of some kind of horrible E. coli/Salmonella hybrid. Good luck out there, everyone.