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100% Vegan?

Okay … so … this site is intended for raw vegans. Therefore, any recipe containing raw fish, raw dairy, or raw eggs is not welcome because it is not vegan. Makes sense, right?

Except!

Many, many of the recipes on this site contain honey as an ingredient! Honey, according to my research, is not vegan. It is an animal product/byproduct. And yet, it seems to have gained acceptance on this site.

My point? Well, MUST we be so purist? Are we likely to bring others into the healthy flock with such a high degree of exactitude? Or are we more likely to turn away those who don’t like strict rules and regulations?

I’d like to be upfront with the following facts:

(a) I have no intention/desire to go 100% raw. (b) I am not 100% vegan; I will wear wool and use lip balm w/ beeswax. (c) I consider gratitude towards family and friends, as well as the (American) abundance of food, to be more important than a 100% adherence to any diet. (d) I love sashimi more than life itself.

So, somewhat needless to say, these things are all influencing my opinions! But it seems to me that we should act with flexibility and understanding …

Your thoughts?

24

Comments

  • Hi JennyA- that was well put. I really hate it when puritanical people run around getting into everyones business and gossiping about whether someone is really vegan or not and if they should be excluded from their group or not. That is just very negative to me.

    Of course I think their should be standards like not cooking almonds and calling them raw and having strict standards when it comes to organic food production. I think consumers need to know more about how these things are happening and take action on them one way or another. Imports from other countries need to me highly regulated and preferrably imported from people we know and respect- as in not a big corporation, someone who has the same values, etc.

    This is the thing that bugs me- not that large corporations are evil but that most of them do not know what’s going on within their network of suppliers like the million plus lead toys distributed recently.

    There are tanker trucks out there that are transporting food and produce that have been used to transport chemicals. There isn’t any way to really know what is going on out there. The only way would be to have a company that has a no tolerance rule and used their own employees for every phase of the process.

  • The issue, as i see it, isn’t that people should be 100% raw vegan, but if they post to a raw vegan site, their information should be on topic. Recipes with animal products aren’t what people who join this group expect, or even want to see here. Health is the main reason I eat raw. My whole family eats the standard American diet. I don’t hold that against them, why would I hold it against anyone else? We can’t be responsible for the actions of the whole world, we can only be responsible for ourselves. I don’t think anyone here has tried to force their beliefs on anyone else.

  • BtW I wasn’t sayin that people on this site are negative, I just think it’s human nature and a lot of people get caught up in this trap and it doesn’t help anyone.

  • Lets not argue you guys. Honey is often an exception. What I think the owners of this site dont want is recipes that include raw meats and dairy.

  • Hello All,

    Thanks for your replies! Hooray for open and honest dialogue!

    Let’s see …

    I’m familiar with The China Study, but not with The World Peace Diet, so I’ll check that out. Thanks!

    Certainly, a general shift in human consumption towards a 100% raw diet would be best for planetary and personal health. It is, however, questionable to label any particular diet as The Healthiest. Human bodies (and their nutritional needs) do vary. Moreover, our understanding of nutrition is still evolving, i.e., incomplete and debatable! Insofar as the planet is concerned, many would argue that freeganism is the most environmentally responsible diet/lifestyle.

    I didn’t mean to suggest that the overall tone of the site is one of condemnation. In fact, I would describe it as supportive and friendly. But, reading back through the posts, I’ve seen several instances in which folks were mighty quick to jump to a negative judgment, often with little to no basis in any sort of fact.

    Regarding site content, I felt that if exceptions are made for honey, then perhaps they could be made for other raw, nonvegan ingredients as well. I was under the impression that most vegans did consider insects to be animals; I may very well have been mistaken. (It makes me want to re-read the chapter on insects in 12 Steps to Raw Foods!)

    It is so, so easy to get caught up in elitism, even within sub-cultures! I often catch myself falling into judgmental thought patterns within disability community and culture. All we can do is to keep questioning and learning!

    Again, many thanks for your replies.

    Jenn :)

  • This is an old topic, though I just bumped into it and wanted to add mine two of pennies into discussion. One, the honey – is considered by far one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Yes, it is not vegan and yes, it can be replaced, though the question is: are horses and caws and such considered raw/vegan? Without too much thought one would say yes… but how many various insects are in the pastures? – Very many… I am not proving any points simply raising a question what is pure?

  • Haha!

    This is an old topic, but I must have missed it the first time through. JennyA, I love sashimi, too! Sorry if that grosses some people out. I don’t eat it often (once a week max), and it makes me feel great. Whatever works. I actually think it’s way more likely that I’d go strict 100% raw than ever go strict 100% vegan. Just me though.

    Vegans do have many good points (cruelty, dirtiness, unhealthiness, etc.). But I don’t believe that it’s inherently wrong to participate in the upper levels of the food chain on occasion. I’m a Marine Biologist and so I always try to make meat (fish) consumption as real as possible. What do I mean by that? I was just in the Florida Keys a few weeks ago and I caught 2 lobsters by hand and had them for dinner raw in a fabulous mango/avocado salad. I normally study red snapper and I occassionally eat them, too. Personally, I think if you’re gonna eat meat at all, it’s better to kill something yourself rather than letting some else do your dirty work. Because really, if everyone had to do that, most people would be vegetarian! Just keeps it real, I guess.

    Hope I didn’t offend too many people. My raw pizza’s ready! Yum…

  • What’s wrong with eating honey?

    Unfortunately, like factory farmers, many beekeepers take inhumane steps to ensure personal safety and reach production quotas. It’s not unusual for larger honey producers to cut off the queen bee’s wings so that she can’t leave the colony or to have her artificially inseminated on a bee-sized version of the factory farm “rape rack.” When the keeper wants to move a queen to a new colony, she is carried with “bodyguard” bees, all of whom—if they survive transport—will be killed by bees in the new colony. Large commercial operations may also take all the honey instead of leaving the 60 pounds or so that bees need to get through the winter. They replace the rich honey with a cheap sugar substitute that is not as fortifying. In colder areas, if the keepers consider it too costly to keep the bees alive through the winter, they destroy the hives by pouring gasoline on them and setting them on fire. Also, bees are often killed or have their wings and legs torn off by haphazard handling. According to the Cook-DuPage Beekeepers Association, humans have been using honey since about 15,000 B.C., but it wasn’t until the 20th century that people turned bees into factory-farmed animals. Happily, many sweeteners are made without killing bees: Rice syrup, molasses, sorghum, Sucanat, barley malt, maple syrup, cane sugar, and dried fruit or fruit concentrates can replace honey in recipes. Using these will keep your diet bee-free.

    (PETA.ORG)

  • Just out of curiousity, how do you kill a lobster and keep it raw, mygreenmojo? Don’t you worry about parasites and toxins in the waters of this over-polluted world? Even SAD eaters who are consuming loads of toxins every day are worried about mercury, lead and other toxins in seafood and fish. Just read the disclaimer notices at a Trader Joes (around the fish and seafood) – quite scary even for someone who doesn’t care about health.

  • honey is such a tough subject- if the bees would go to such lengths to protect it and we have to wear suits and/or gas the bees with cyanide or whatever in order to get it, it stands to reason that we should probably not be eating it. but, i’ve never read anything really bad about it, personally…and it is SOO good…in light of the cruelty subject, i think i’ll do more research on it before i make an informed decision. i’ve found that PETA is usually really idiotic in their methods (no offense, laurajean…i’m referring to such incidents as when red paint was thrown on fur-toters, etc..) and they tend to go WAY over-the-top. but we’ll see.

    as for raw crustacean-eating—it rocks! i don’t eat fish or anything anymore, but i have had lobster raw and nigiri sushi with raw shrimp, and it was really good. and when it all comes down to it…there are toxins in everything. the world is becoming quite an f-ed up place. if it’s worth it to you, catch your fish and eat it raw. at least you know where it came from!

  • oh, and i wear leather shoes and wool. pleather shoes suck. i’m sorry, but they do! i eat honey (although maybe not for long…) and i use beeswax. like, come on! anyone who tries to tell me i’m not vegan because i have a damn wool scarf will not even receive a retort from me, because it wouldn’t be worth arguing. who cares? anyone who is that staunch and weird about it MUST be anally retentive. “go have a BM and then get back to me with something that matters, please” i might say. actually, i hope someone does try to get onto me about veganism, because i really want to tell someone that.

  • SocaL,

    As a Marine Biologist specializing in Fisheries Science, I am very aware of these concerns. And many species of fish are over-harvested, as well. But not all. And not all of the waters of the world are polluted. Some fish species live in clean waters, are free of transmissible parasites, and are responsibly harvested. Those are the ones I choose to eat. It’s the same idea as eating organic versus conventionally grown produce: better for the environment, better for your health.

    PETA and other groups like to appeal to people’s emotions to discourage meat consumption, tug the heartstrings and such. I can understand that. They got me back when I was 11 and I didn’t eat beef or poultry for 10 years. But over time as I’ve earned my Bachelors, and now Masters degrees, I’ve learned a lot about the natural world. In my research I study communities, plants and animals and their interactions. “Who eats who?” is a big part of community ecology. And everybody is eating everyone all the time! So I guess what I mean is: it’s natural! You may believe that humans should naturally be vegan. You are entitled to that opinion and I respect it. But at this point in time, meat consumption has become “normal” for most of the planet. Maybe we should all be vegans, I don’t know, that’s not my particular area of study. But I do know that I like fish!! They taste good to me and I feel good when I eat them. I don’t feel that it’s wrong to eat them, and so that’s it. That’s all the logic I need.

    That said, I do think there is a HUGE problem with over-consumption of meat (and dairy). After my stint without chicken or beef I returned to a SAD diet, and for the past few years I indulged in fast food crap, bacon, burgers, and the like. And my health suffered for it! I gained some extra weight, and got a lovely disease called Ulcerative Colitis (Which vanished upon going raw, btw. I don’t understand how doctors can say it’s not diet-related!). So I know first-hand that meat, especially red meat, is not a healthy choice. But I don’t think eating raw fish a couple times a month is gonna kill me, either. =)

    And to kill a lobster and keep it raw, you just hold it firmly, twist off the tail, and pull out the meat. Pretty simple. After a whole scuba tank worth of air, hours of hunting and chasing them down, grabbing them out of holes filled with creepy spider crabs, all while avoiding boats overhead and sharks below, it’s a pretty easy thing to do!

  • yes, live life fearlessly. i see no harm in eating raw fish-or even raw meat-every now and then if you want to. i haven’t felt the need to…but if i wanted to, i certainly would! and if you caught it yourself, then hey! kudos to you! if nothing else, at least rest assured that you’re not supporting over-harvesting or eating mummified flesh!

  • Thanks James. You’re a cool cat. I “friend requested” you on Myspace if you wanna be my new raw friend. =)

  • Jenny A says Okay … so … this site is intended for raw vegans

    Well, as someone who consumes 1/2 pt of raw goats milk a week (and the reasons why would be another thread) have to say I can’t actually see anything that says the site is ‘raw vegan’, although I’ve seen several posters in the past maintain it is. Kandace and Ray – if this is so, I’d suggest it could be made a little more apparent on the Home Page? If I’ve missed something, apologies, but if I’ve missed it, then others will have. Then those of us who do choose to eat (locally-farmed raw..Ok – yet another thread…) honey and raw milk will at least know to keep quiet about it. :-)

  • Hi mygreenmojo

    As someone who draws the line at killing animals and eating their flesh, I have another take on your comment,

    ’’I’ve learned a lot about the natural world. In my research I study communities, plants and animals and their interactions. “Who eats who?†is a big part of community ecology. And everybody is eating everyone all the time! So I guess what I mean is: it’s natural!’‘

    I subscribe to the idea (taught in many ancient texts) that we look to the natural world around us for knowledge, for ‘God’s law’. And, actually, it isn’t true that ‘everybody is eating everybody all the time’. We see different sorts of creatures. We see creatures that kill others, that cause suffering. But we also see creatures that somehow manage to build big strong bodies without causing suffering. The animals don’t have free will. We do. We are unique in being given that gift. We can follow the example of the creatures that cause suffering, or the example of the creatures that don’t. And as we most certainly do have a choice, we bear the full responsibility (and consequences) of any choice we make. Simple as that.

  • in response to people talking about vegan and non-vegan clothing: unless you buy everything made of hemp and or cotton, “vegan” clothing seems to be overall made from very synthetic materials, which are not good for the environment.

    i think the problem with vegans is the elitist attitude, the group mentality, it leaves no room for other opinions. i worked in a natural foods store for a while and got really sick of the ‘holier than thou’ attitude that was prevailent among teenage vegans. luckily i haven’t felt that vibe on this forum, which is why i stick around.

  • Wow, great discussions here! It has really started my morning off with some good “food for thought”...LOL! Let’s see, here is what I have pondered thus far:

    As far as this being a raw vegan site…I have been on this site almost from the beginning (when just a few of us would post), and I have to say that the site has always been very friendly and encouraging to those still “wiggling” to find the raw lifestyle that works for them. Of course there has been talk back and forth about raw honey, raw dairy, and raw meat. There has been good points for and good points against. But over all, I think we have remained very supportive as a whole, which is the reason that goneraw is still the ONLY site I go to 99% of the time. When people to get a little heated, we all do a nice job of gently reminding that we are here for support. I love that about us!

    Now, as far as the vegan “definition”...I look at veganism as a very challenging thing. Of course there are those that are passionate about protecting our animal’s rights, and I completely understand that. But, when it come at the expense of the planet (i.e. everything made from synthetic plastics, chemicals, etc.), then I feel we have to be a little more logical in our thinking…if we destroy our planet by using these nasty “replacements” for things such as wool, and other animal products that can be attained without killing the animal, then are we not really doing a disservice to the animals in the big picture because without a planet they (and us for the matter) obviously could not survive? Also, as far as honey and raw animal milks go…I understand the “factory farmed” bees, and other animals are treating inhumanely, and we don’t want to support this. But, if we are conscious consumers, we can find a local bee keeper to help us get raw honey, or local farmers to help us get raw milks, and if we research them well, we are confident that the animals used to produce said products are being cared for well. I look at animals and people as “co-workers” in our world. We care for them and they care for us.

    I personally eat honey, wear wool, and even wear leather shoes on occassion. But, I don’t eat meat, or dairy. I still consider myself vegan.

    O.K…I am done thinking for now. Thanks for letting me “think out loud”!

  • ZoeZoe

    Debbie Took – if you go on the homepage while you aren’t logged in it says on the right hand side that ” Gone Raw is a website created to help people share and discuss raw, vegan food recipes from around the world.”

    This disappears when you log in.

  • Okay, I suppose I should chime in on the vegan issue. I went vegan 12 years ago, after reading “Diet for a New America.” I really have a hard time with the idea of eating or using animals for our survival. So that’s why I’m a raw vegan.

    I’ve stayed away from honey, leather, wool, goose down, products tested on animals, etc. One exception I made was that after 10 years of wearing plastic shoes, I switched to leather shoes after having some foot problems from the cheaper shoes (medical vs. ethics).

    I’d like to see the recipe boards stay 100% vegan and 100% raw. But I certainly understand that there are a lot of people in the transitioning phase, or that will continue to eat maybe 20% cooked food, or that will supplement with some animal foods. But I think that we come here mainly for support on raw vegan foods, and socializing with like-minded people.

    I never really liked the vegan boards, or going to vegan events. So many vegans are into their pets, and trying to save animals. For me, I also thought that animals belonged in the “wild.” Anyway, going to McDonald’s protests, or trying to convert people to veganism wasn’t for me. I just take it as a “given” that I’m not here to kill animals, and I want to tread lightly on this planet. And while I know that I don’t want honey or goat’s milk, I don’t really want to debate those subjects here.

    Given that I’ve decided to be 100% raw vegan, that’s what I’d like to see in the posted recipes. But hey, if someone wants to substitute maple syrup, honey, goat’s milk, or whatever, they can on their own. People will always make substitutions. A little more of this, and a little less of that. Take this out, and put this in. But can’t we at least start with a recipe that is truly 100% raw?

  • Great post spiritedmama. Thanks for your take.;o)

  • mygreenmojo,

    I confess to a love of sashimi too which I indulge in consciously once in a blue moon. I’ve never had raw lobster ( much less caught my own lobster-IMPRESSIVE!) Do sushi bars sells lobster sashimi?

    My step sister studied marine biology undergrad. Cool Stuff!

  • JennyA: You’ve brought up a good point here. This site exists to share raw, vegan recipes in the lives of all people – including those that are curious and to those that are committed to a lifestyle. You don’t need to be 100% anything to share raw, vegan recipes with others. We are pleased as can be if you see a recipe a week here that inspires you. This is the sort of flexibility and understanding this site promotes. Of course, we are starting with the premise that, if you are here, you are at least interested in bringing a raw, vegan recipe or two into your life.

    debbietook: The site is indeed intended for raw, vegan recipes. The home page is titled Welcome to Gone Raw – a place to share and discuss vegan, raw food recipes! and, when you are not logged in, you see the statement Welcome to Gone Raw! Gone Raw is a website created to help people share and discuss raw, vegan food recipes from around the world. We’ll certainly look at other areas to remind folks of this focus. We aren’t looking for all site members to necessarily be raw, vegan. I have many family members who use this site as a resource for making meals for when I visit, which is an awesome benefit of Gone Raw! And, perhaps once in a while, they’ll take a taste as well!

    spiritedmama: A warm thanks to you for such an uplifting post and a lovely reminder of Gone Raw in the earliest of days.

  • Thanks for that clarification, Kandace (and Zoe).

    The ‘raw vegan’ bit disappearing whilst one is logged in explains why I couldn’t find it! (as the times I’ve wanted to check have always been when logged in…)

  • I think it’s all labels anyway. I used say I’m vegan but I don’t anymore because I think it’s overrated. I do not eat meat or dairy but do eat honey and wear leather so technically I’m not and I’ve never been a vegan. But there are a lot of “vegans” out there that do wear wool, leather, and eat honey.

    I’m just over with the labeling. I am what I am.

  • To all who still, incredibly, consider themselves vegan while continuing to wear wool and leather….you’re not. Sorry, guys. You might be “nearly” vegan, but you aint vegan….not quite yet. VEGANS do not consume or use animal products, period. This is as off-the-mark as the fish-eating “vegetarian”! It would be funny, except that it’s so ill-informed—not to mention confusing to those who are just learning what veganism/vegetarianism is all about. I can see some poor kid at home, reading these posts, and saying, “Ohhh….so vegans wear wool and leather??? I thought I read somewhere else that they didn’t…now I’m confused…what’s a vegan?”

    Come on guys, have some integrity.

  • good point, ron4540…i think we are being really selfish when we train animals to do as we wish! and i, too, try to ‘tread lightly’, as you so eloquently put it. i know i wouldn’t like to be controlled, scolded for doing what is in my nature to do, and fed COMPLETELY unnatural food which could give me cancer and didn’t taste good…i mean, come on…do dogs and cats REALLY bake their food and eat rice in the wild?

    i, however, do not feel it is my duty to scold, browbeat, or lecture anyone who feels differently. it’s not in my job description. i don’t need to fight for my beliefs. i find that people who fight for their beliefs tend to be hypocrites! not all of course, and not to offend.

    as for the ‘raw recipe’ issue…i am phasing honey out of my diet in favor of other things…dates, agave nectar, etc., but the question of honey being vegan has long been debated. bees aren’t animals…they’re insects. so, i don’t know! i don’t see anything wrong with posting recipes with honey in them…it’s easily enough substituted. those of us constructing burgers from nuts and pasta from squash ought to be industrious enough to substitute without much of a problem. i don’t think we should have obviously non-vegan recipes here, though, with meat or dairy. i feel like that’s out of the realm of this website.

  • i think as far as the recipes go, they ought to be raw and vegan, although i’m guilty of posting a recipe with raw honey too. i’ve since switched to using agave. i never had a philisophical problem with using honey, i just think agave is a healthier alternative. i think the problem lies with the fact that you can still be raw without being vegan. i feel like the raw vegan lifestyle is the healthiest possible, and that is what i strive for, but i’m not perfect. one suggestion: maybe provide a dead food list on this site in the recipe section so newbies will know what is and isn’t okay to post in recipes. or mark the recipes as not vegan or transitional.

  • LovesPeter: Let’s lighten up on people! Gone Raw isn’t about labels at all. It is about each of us helping each other on our journey.

    Honey is a debated issue with vegans and we recognize that here. Personally, I choose not to use or eat honey. That’s my gig. But, as posted in an earlier discussion of a similar issue: The fact that so many people here on Gone Raw are doing their darndest to eat raw, vegan food is absolutely astounding. And, I’m sure not going to tell someone who eats honey that they cannot self-idenify as vegan.

    That said, my overall notion is that a majority of folks eating a vegan diet do not eat honey. When you are posting a recipe with honey in it, perhaps think about something that can be substituted instead. That way, many more people on this site can benefit from your sharing because so many of our members won’t be making the recipes that call for honey.

  • In response to debbietook, on how humans have free will and can choose either to cause suffering or not:

    This is a good point, but what happens when it comes down to: I really don’t want to kill that fish and eat it, because I don’t want to cause suffering… but I feel really weak and my hair is falling out, even though I have tried EVERYTHING to stay vegan and healthy!

    Granted, its really hard to tell that someone IS doing everything, but what if? What if someone really, honestly, CANNOT survive as a vegan, either because of who they are or where they live. The only example I can really think of would be Innuits (sp?). They surive because they eat meat, and lots of it. I’m pretty sure its mostly seals though? Either way, try to tell someone like that “You have a free will and can choose to not eat meat.” Honestly, is there a choice when it is life / health over ethics? This also goes along with what someone else said with plastic shoes vs. leather.

    I think the reason that many people go “vegan” is to inflict as little harm upon the world as they possibly can. This includes not using synthetic materials, not killing animals (unless it would actually kill YOU not to eat some animal flesh), not consuming dairy or honey unless it is local and raw… etc. However, it is true that, by definition, this is not vegan (since dairy, honey, and using wool or leather is not vegan)... HOWEVER… you’re still having a FAR less negative impact on the world than someone on SAD. And, it can be argued, that consuming local and organic, raw animal / bee products is NOT harmful to the environment, or the animal/bees at all.

    If the definition of vegan was: without harm to animals or insects – then vegans could consume local, raw, organic dairy and honey, as well as use wool (also preferrably locally gathered, from ethically treated animals, etc)... But its not. Instead, it seems many people are trying to fit themselves into a vegan title so that they can be better understood. I’m sure most of us prefer not to be labeled, but its a lot easier to say “vegan” than it is to say: “I do everything I can to have less of a negative impact on this earth, which means to not eat this, or that I can consume/use this, etc.”

    I think that we might be searching for a different label… but since few people enjoy being labeled nobody is going to make one (why bother?) so we just tack on “vegan” for simplicity.

    True, its being used incorrectly, but we all get the point.

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