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Hi Alicia and everyone,
I hope I'm posting this in the correct spot. I went back to The Kind Diet book and re-read all of the health issues associated with refined white sugar. I do avoid sugar wherever/whenever possible, so I hardly ever consume it as it's possible to avoid it most of the time. I never add it to any food that I prepare....I don't even have any sugar in my house. I use maple sugar, agave, brown rice syrup, etc. I do realize that alot of info. was covered in the book (TKD) about sugar from the health perspective, etc. I also realize that there are not any animal products in sugar, but I recently came across a couple of articles about vegans not eating refined white sugar because it is processed by filtering it through bone char. So, I read a little bit more about it and came across analogies comparing the processing to steel and rubber tires being processed with animal fat, etc., so theoretically vegans may choose then not to eat anything delivered in a steel truck with rubber tires, etc. or drink water filtered through charcoal (bone char) filters. I see that the analogy was making the point that you could choose to subscribe to an ingredients-based definition vs. a process-based definition of what is vegan and if you go with a process-based definition that you'd have a hard time finding anything to eat. So, in the end, after thinking about it, I guess I'm coming to the conclusion that the vary rare occassions that I eat sugar it would still be considered vegan. But, I am wondering what my like-minded friends think on this subject and how you feel. Any thoughts or opinions, as this has had me a bit deep in thought? I do want to do the right thing, of course, and it is all about the animals for me, but of course I do care about health too, of course! I realize in the end, everyone has to make these decisions for themselves. Thank you!
It would be very difficult in the American world we live in to avoid things like rubber tires altogether. I try to avoid all white sugar for health reasons. When I do have some, in a dessert for special occasions - yes, I make sure it's vegan cane sugar. To me it's not a big deal, it doesn't make things harder for me. I avoid sugar mostly because I know it has a negative impact on me physically and emotionally after I eat it, and it can send you into a spiral of wanting more sugar, and then fatty and salty things. So mostly, I don't want sweet things anyway, because the sugar hangover is beyond unappealing. When I do have dessert, it is generally something I make, so I know what's in it, or it's from an Ayurvedic cafe in my area that only uses agave or maple syrup. If I do use cane sugar (which is almost never which is why I have had a bag for about a year that is still nearly full), I buy specifically labeled vegan cane sugar.
So, for me, it's not going too far, because sugar is not a big part of my life, I don't want it to be, not having it doesn't interfere with my social life, and I don't feel that I am missing some pleasure in life by not having it - feeling healthy and vibrant is my pleasure in life, and sugar generally makes me feel gross and depressed (though sometimes TKD peanut butter cups are really good). We can onlyu do what each of us can, but for me, foregoing things like non-vegan cane sugar, and beauty and clothing products not made with animal products, is a part of my lifestyle, so it doesn't put some extra burden on me.
So, I guess to answer the actual thread question, no, I don't consider refined white sugar to be vegan.
Also, from what I understand, beet sugar is vegan - so if it's made with that (a rarity), no worries.
One more thing - just because you can't or don't want to do something '100%', doesn't mean you shouldn't do what you can. That's like those people who say that not everyone recycles, so why should they. That's what I think, anyway. If every single person did just a little, it would make a huge difference.
Thank you for taking the time to reply. I too avoid white sugar when eating out, or buying something preprared/packaged. And, I never add it to my own recipes. It's not a big deal to me, at all, to live without it and it does not make things harder for me either. I second your thought that it's not a big part of my life and I feel so much healthier without it. I, too, joyfully eat a completely plant-based diet and happily live a vegan lifestyle avoiding all beauty and clothing products that are not cruelty-free. I choose to do this and am missing out on nothing, as far as I'm concerned. I feel completely satisfied, peaceful, and fulfilled.
My only real concern on refined white sugar, on the very rare occasion that I have it when eating out, or in a pre-packaged item, is it vegan since it contains no animal products, but is filtered through charcoal? Would water filtered through charcoal filters be considered vegan?
I realize each person would have to decide this for him/herself....but I like to hear all of your (everyone's) thoughts/opinions....after reading the posts I may choose to avoid it entirely OR continue with it rarely (when out and about) like I do now....
Thanks again, for taking the time to reply! :)
I personally don't think you should be overly concerned since you mostly avoid it like I do. If I baked with it all the time, I would buy vegan. But, the reality is that we can't avoid everything made with some type of animal product in this modern world. Part of being vegan, for me, is having whatever effect I can to reduce my contribution to animal suffering.
What I would like others to do, is to reduce their consumption of animal products so that we, as a whole, can make a big impact on the commercialization of cruelty - if that makes sense. If enough people just reduced their consumption, even a little, it would have a huge impact on the industry, and people could say - we don't condone your treatment of animals and we demand, with our dollars, that you stop. I don't expect that animal consumption will ever cease, what my goal is, is to force the people in control of those industries to make animal welfare their number one priority, so that even if animals are still slaughtered for food and other products, they are slaughtered in fewer numbers, and do not live a life every second of which is filled with misery. We are, in my opinion, losing our humanity through such practices. I understand where animal liberationists are coming from, and maybe one day, it will happen, but I am concerned with what is plausible right now to end the suffering today, if not the killing. So, I just hope for everyone to do what they can, and to influence others to do what they can - and to not be afraid to express their belief that cruelty is wrong (because why should people be afraid of that??), so that we can end the suffering. Does that make sense in the context of your concern?
I think, but we'll see whay others say, that a lot of people probably wouldn't avoid it necessarily for that reason, but being vegan a lot of people simply choose to eat healthier, so they might avoid it for that reason, like both of us.
Yes, you are making sense. Thank you for putting some real thought in to this. I truely do appreciate the thoughtfulness and the time that it takes to sometimes think/talk these things through. It does help to "talk" to others with similar concerns.
Hi Patty, I thought you might enjoy this link, which attempts to answer this question:
Basically, the article states, that from an ingredients-based perspective, white sugar that is filtered through charcoal is vegan, because their are no traces of bone char in the sugar itself. Many munical water supplies use the same filters, so does that make our public water vegan?
I do consider people who eat refined sugar (or drink tap water) to be vegans because I understand that living in entirely animal-free existence is currently not possible for most of us. As more of us adopt dietary veganism, animal byproducts used by default in industrial settings will hopefully become a thing of the past.
What do I use? I have read that Pillsbury does not use bone char in their refining process so that is the only refined sugar I buy. I do drink my tap water and have no idea what system of filtration my municipality uses.
Thank you, Beary! :) This is interesting, and a good resource.
I just bought some Vegan suger, it is very white, from whole foods, just to use for some baking.
Interesting posts! I liked your comment, Beary, about there not being traces of the bone char itself in the finished product of the sugar, therefore making it vegan. When I first went vegan (about a year ago), I went all out. Avoided ALL refined sugar and read ingredient lists on everything. If it had refined sugar of any kind in it, I wouldn't eat it. Over the past year, and basically in the last couple of months, I've relaxed a little. I still consider myself vegan since I don't eat animal products. But I have allowed myself some sugary things from time to time. Not every day, b/c I've also learned that it's a slippery slope! Sugar IS addictive, that I definitely found with myself! Also, I do find I feel better w/o sugar and my stomach is flatter as well (for some reason the calories from sugar seem to go straight to my belly). But anyway.....like many of you, I also don't buy refined sugar or cook with it (I bought vegan white sugar once, for a recipe, but haven't even used that again since the one time). I stick to brown rice syrup and agave nectar for my sweetening on a regular basis. :-)