Let me start this by first saying, we have to stop being so hard on ourselves. When we become judgmental about if a vegan should or shouldn't eat honey we start to miss the mark and the point behind this entire lifestyle. I am not the kind of person who will agree to something or dive into something without first doing my own research and I have been researching this honey thing for quite some time now. I have found that I am not the only vegan who eats honey and I have also learned that vegans can be very very hypocritical. There is truly no such thing as a purist vegan. Small rodents and animals are killed and run out of their homes every time we need room for more farm land to grow the vegetables we eat. Bees are also pollinating the food we eat so at the end of the day, it's impossible to eat a vegan diet that could be considered pure and 100% cruelty free. We could talk about the fact and statistics all day long but we have to be realistic with where our priorities lie and my priorities do not lie in telling other vegans how to live their lives or shaming non-vegans. In some of my posts I will clearly lay out why I'm vegan and why I think it's better for humanity and our planet (yes that includes the animals), but I will not put your down or shame you for choosing not to be vegan. We have to work towards giving vegans a better rap than they have by being the best examples of the vegan lifestyle that we can be. We need to be kind, understanding, informative, but not pushy.
I have been excited to write this post for a while now because I think it will help clear some things up for those of you who are vegan as well or maybe who are interested in this lifestyle change. When I first went vegan I remember being a little confused on the "rules". How silly is that though? It's a lifestyle change, just like working out regularly is a lifestyle change. There really shouldn't be set rules. Obviously if you are vegan you are probably not eating any type of animal products including meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, etc. but what about honey? Going vegan was not super intense for me because I was never really that much of a meat eater and I knew I was lactose intolerant. But I remember feeling kindof bummed when I kept reading that honey wasn't vegan because it's the one thing that really keeps my seasonal allergies at bay. I use it over any actual medications and it's always been so helpful especially in combination with essential oils! After doing some research on the reasoning behind honey not being vegan and talking with local bee keepers, I came to the conclusion that eating local honey is something that I am ok with and will continue to do. Here's the deal, without bees we have no crops. With no crops, us as plant based eaters, have no food. As a vegan, vegetarian, or plant based eater, we rely on the work of the bees and the pollination they provide to the crops we so consistanty consume. In my opinion the "vegan" thing to do is to support the honeybees and the (ethical) beekeepers who keep hives on their own farms to pollinate their crop and who sell the leftover or excess honey if they want to. I made sure we found a local farmer who cares. We were strolling through the farmers market one day and saw a honey stand and I walked right up and started asking questions. I kept the conversation light and semi-jokingly asked "Do you love your bees?" and once I knew he was ready and willing to answer continued with "What is your farm like?" and he was more than happy to show me photos of everything and kept going on about how he's "a student of the bees" and just loves what he does. He also keeps hens on his farm who he refers to as "his girls" and was telling us all about their personalities and how they are more like pets to him. He was a cool guy and you could see and feel the passion he had for what he's doing. Most small and local farmers truly care and will not take any honey that the bees cannot spare and some mainly keep bees just to pollinate their own crops and sell whatever leftover honey the bees can spare.
At the end of the day we can't all be on the same journey and all plant based, vegan journeys will all be different. There is not 1 way to be vegan. Am I eating honey everyday? No. But do I keep it on hand for when our allergies get terrible? Yes, absolutely and I'm so thankful to have an natural alternative to allergy medication. If we spent more of our lives not basing ourselves off of other's opinions of us we would free up a lot of time and be a lot less stressed out. Be you and do the best you can. At the end of the day the goal behind veganism should be less cruelty, healthier humans, and a cleaner planet.
Some of the blogs I read in my research:
Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed!!