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why vegan is called 'vegan'

ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

The word vegan came about when people who were sick of vegetarians eating dairy eggs etc and still calling themselves vegetarian.

So they came up with the word vegan which is the first 3 letters and the last 2 letters of vegetarian, it is meant to mean the BEGINNING and the END of vegetarianism.


  • JoescJoesc Raw Master

    Cool, I didn’t know the story behind that but this one guy had the nerve to tell my friend he was vegan after eating cheese pizza with her. I told her he is vegetarian, not vegan no matter what he says.

  • i absolutely HATE it when people claim to be vegans when they eat any sort of animal product. it really gives vegans a bad image, like we are all secretly lusting for meat and other animal products, and/or that it’s difficult to be a vegan.. if you eat animal products, just don’t call yourself a vegan. it’s that simple. (;

    I also get a bit annoyed when someone claims to be a vegetarian but then says they eat chicken, or fish or something. ahem… those are both meat honey. heh.

  • SystemSystem Raw Newbie

    Very interesting forum!

    On the vegetarian continuum, the proper names for people who call themselves vegetarian but eat chicken/white meat are “half-vegetarians” and the ones that consume fish are “pesco vegetarians”. And then of course the lacto, ovo and lacto-ovo vegetarians, with the vegan to finish it up.

    I agree with mango woman: a vegetarian calling him/herself that shouldn’t, since he/she is still putting her animal in her body.

    I also believe the raw vegan needs to be added to the continuum!!!

  • I “claim to be vegan” but like many vegans do, I eat honey.

  • kandacekandace Raw Newbie

    Nagev: What makes honey different for you (as far as something you’ll eat as a predominately vegan)? I’ve been wondering this for a while, as we’re seeing many recipes crop up here on Gone Raw that have honey in them, even though it is a raw, vegan site. Are there many vegans out there that do make an exception for honey? And if so, why?

  • SystemSystem Raw Newbie

    I sometimes use raw honey. Sparingly, but if a recipe calls for it, I don’t refuse to try that recipe because it calls for honey.

    My thought has always been that I personally have chosen the vegan lifestyle 7 years ago for health and well-being reasons. My choice is not an ethical one (meaning for animals), although I love animals, don’t agree to killing or hurting them. I also cherish the environment, and being vegan is one of my contributions to its protection and survival. Which is why I don’t make a big deal about using honey. :)

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    I can’t stand the thought of taking anything from any living creature. It disrupts my ideas of living in harmony with nature as much as I can.

    Bees will sting you if you try to take their honey. They do this to protect themselves from predators, I am not a predator.I am a vegan.

    I don’t think badly of those who choose to eat honey, milk, meat whatever…everyone has their own path to walk down. But you’re not really a vegan if you eat products from bees. Definition of vegan is a lifestyle based on purely plant products. A bee isn’t a plant!

  • I am a raw vegan who eats honey. Why? Because, it’s hard for me to see honey bees as “animals.” They are bugs. Whenever people don’t eat honey, I always wonder, do you save all the bugs in your house? Do you personally remove the ants? Do you never swat a fly or mosquito? To me, as long as I buy honey from a reputable, local farm, one I can visit and see the honey bees at, then I see nothing wrong with that.

    What I would ask you is, why do so many of these recipes call for agave nectar, when it is NEVER raw? Even if it’s advertised as “raw” it has been heated. Any agave nectar that is sweet is no longer raw. Raw honey, at least, is really raw.

  • I have raw agave nectar. There’s a long paragraph on the back of the container that tells all about the highest temperature reached while doing whatever they do to it, and the ingredients plainly state “100% pure raw organic agave”.

    I can easily substitute agave for honey in any recipe, and i will continue to do so. I am a vegan. I personally would consume something from a plant before anything from an animal. Bees are animals, whether one wants to agree to that or not. Why wouldn’t an insect count as an animal?

    Honey is bee vomit.. mmm tasty.

    I agree with Zoe, a bee isn’t a plant!! So often i read through a list of ingredients and see the word honey when the front of the container claims to be free of animal products. I’ve never really understood the fog regarding veganism, and vegetarianism.. vegans with honey, vegetarians with certain meat, etc.

  • JoescJoesc Raw Master

    Hey Everybody,

    I can give a good reason why some people call themselves vegetarian when they eat seafood. I was raised by my mom who was a pescetarian. My mom believed fish wasn’t meat, so she called us vegetarians. As I grew older I would tell people I am a vegetarian but I eat seafood, when I became a teenager I would just say I don’t eat land meat. I didn’t know the name of what I was until last year when an old highschool friend told me. I didn’t even know how to spell pescetarian but I looked it up and found the information. When I was looking up raw foodism a few months ago, I found even more different names I haven’t hear of before. Fruitarian, Freegan, Pollotarian, Flexitarian I obtained that information from wikipedia well I believe just like in my situation some people are not aware there is a name for what they eat but I do not believe anyone should call themselves a vegetarian either when the definition clarely states one who do not consume meat but does consume dairy. I thought vegans were extreme and I learned about it when I was young so I despise when people say they are vegan and they aren’t because that information is common. If they want to eat meat thats ok but don’t say you are a vegan and pulvarize some cheese pizza.

    I consider myself a vegan. I will tell people I am a raw vegan but I feel guilty because I am not 100%. I eat honey and I remember going to Storm and Jinjees site and it mentioned that they do consume honey. Don’t laugh; I wasn’t aware honey wasn’t considered vegan in some peoples eyes until I stumbled across that site some time ago. I found it and you can review why they eat honey. I will put the site below the q and a that I copy and pasted from there site.

    Q: Which should we use as sweetener: honey or maple syrup? I’ve heard that honey is not really a vegan food since it comes from bees. We love what you’re doing. You have shown us what is possible and what we as humans can and should achieve. Keep going!!!

    A: Thank you! We use honey. Some people feel it is not a vegan product because it is made by bees. However it is never actually a part off the bee’s body. Honey is flower nectar transported by the bees in a special sack just for that purpose. You can read how bees make honey on Ask Science Theatre. The health benefits of honey are well documented. It was used medicinally by Native Americans. Only buy honey that is labeled “Raw, Unfiltered”. Most honey is heated to make it easier to bottle. Raw honey is very thick and quite opaque. Agave (cactus) nectar may be a good sweetener too but it is questionable whether it is really raw even when marked raw. If you find a brand of raw Agave nectar contact the company to find out if they heat it at all. Maple syrup is always heated to make it runny enough to bottle it so we don’t use maple syrup at all, although many raw chefs use it.

    Storm and Jinjee’s site

  • Thank you joesc – that’s kind of what I was saying. I have read on several websites that even agave nectar labeled “100% Raw” is not raw. I read that if your agave is sweet, it is not raw. Agave nectar is NOT sweet when raw. The owner of the site I read that from is a member of this site.

  • This is a quote from Chris Carlton, who owns the site www.purelyraw.com:

    “Agave Nectar has to be heated and altered from its natural state to taste sweet. Even when labelled or advertised as raw, if it’s sweet, it has been heated. One manufacturer claims that lower air pressures can be used to keep the heat below the magic 45c/115f and thus producing truly raw sweet nectar.”

  • JoescJoesc Raw Master

    I had mentioned the agave info in a sweetners forum when I first started to post in the forums.

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    This web page explains why honey is not vegan, couldn’t have said it better myself…


    By the way, I do not kill ‘bugs’ or any living creature, ever. There is always another way, always a choice.

  • chriscarltonchriscarlton Raw Newbie

    Side Note: When I went Vegan, I was backpacking around the US. At the same time, I gave up all killing. Even Bugs. I called it “Healing My Bug Karma”. I must say, It worked! Almost immediately I stopped being bothered by bugs. Mosquitoes, Spiders, Ants, Fleas, Wasps etc. I can’t put into words how nice it was to sleep outside my tent anywhere I wanted and never be awoken up by the sting of a bite or the buzzing of some little flying creature. I can’t remember being bitten in any way since then. Karma Rocks!

    I love all of you as much as I love bugs and everything else, whether you eat honey, agave or not!

    GoneRaw is the Best Forum Ever!!!

  • JoescJoesc Raw Master

    I only kill bugs when they attack. The only time they leave me alone is when I had an extra dose of garlic. Me and mosquitos are enemies. I was reading my recipe book Rawsome. I think I spend a lot time reading that book. Well moving on…Bridgette Mars mentions that she didn’t use any bee products because she was afraid that they hurt the bees, what she does now is only buy honey from the farmers that are environmentally conscience because we depend on the bees to pollinate.

    You don’t have to eat honey but if you do, find out if the farmers are in my words green friendly. It seems there aren’t that many. I wasn’t aware that the bees were hurt until I saw it in the recipe book because when I saw it on the discovery channel how they got honey they just wear a mesh cover have some gloves on grab the comb put it in the jars and the bees are buzzing around like usual. I didn’t pay much attention since I only consumed brown sugar. I am hoping to get the stevia plant and when I find it I hope I am not allergic to it because honey is worse than sugar, agave, and maple syrup.

  • JoescJoesc Raw Master

    Kind of off subject: Chris I know this is gross but you reminded me of something. When me and my cousins were kids we would hang out with the pigs and the pigs had tics that were living on them for so long that they were humungous. We had tics all the time when I was little, I am suprised I didn’t get lime disease. But the tics on those pigs looked like soft lady bugs without the color.

  • spiritedmamaspiritedmama Raw Newbie

    Kind of off topic, but not really…I heard on the news last night that the honey bees in the U.S. are mysteriously disappearing and nobody knows why or where they are going. Hives are just becoming empty all over the country. This will have serious consequences for farmers (and raw foodists too!) that rely on the bees to polinate crops for all our wonderful fruits and vegetables! I think we all need to heal our bug karma and get those bees to come back!

  • RawAllaRawAlla Raw Newbie

    As a person comitted to bioharmony and also a person who has to live on the planet in the real world, I have to say that the ethical choice not to eat honey as it is a derivative of animal labor is a false chioce based on a matter of scale. For example, soil tilth is dependent on many microorganisms beginning with bacteria and fungus. Once the bacteria and fungus do their magic in the organic material in organic soil, the larger creatures show up to further break down the decomposing waste. These are milipedes, isopods, fly larvae, mites and worms. Then an organism you can see, the earthworm! I have a fabulous worm bin to compost my food waste and paper and when I go out to dig in thie worm bin I find thousands if not millions of microorganisms. These are referred to as microherds by Toby Heminway in his book “Gaia’s Garden”. Many microorganisms are anaerobic meaning their metabolism is actuated by exposure to oxygen and they burst into radiant life and die when, for exammple, a carrot is pulled from the ground. Even strict veganism can be viewed as a violent way to eat. If all living things have inherent value then it follows that we should be respectful of the life cycle of even the lowly nematode. Obviously it is impossible to eat vegetables without disrupting the soil at some point in the process ( maybe if you only ate sprouts grown in a jar). I am just making a point about the vegan assertion that honey is not vegan food based on the criteria that it harms a life. I believe that even strict vegans harm life in the act of eating and this is all part of the great cycle of life, death and rebirth that we are complicit in every day.

  • i somewhat see what you’re saying rawalla.. however, i can’t help but say it completely reminded me of trying to talk to an omnivore about vegansim, where they ask “well what about all the mice you kill when you harvest the vegetables???”. Obviously things die, especially microorganisms, but i really don’t feel like bees fall into that category whatsoever..

  • RawAllaRawAlla Raw Newbie

    Mango Woman, I am just wondering what exact rules can be followed and what makes taking honey from bees more bad than the death of microbes caused by harvesting food from the earth. I actually do live with the ants and spiders in my home and I don’t kill bugs on purpose. I eat honey and agave as I want to. Is it that bees are sexier than earth bugs? Is it that the harming of bees CAN be avoided while the harming of microbes cannot? I just hear so many vegans having judgement in my life about splitting hairs and I really want to know what level of “animal slavery/cruelty/and expliotation is acceptable. Is it in species just inferior to bees? What category do bees fall into? Really, I am just saying that in reality it is impossible to do no harm AND live on the planet at the same time. I applaud anyone’s choice to walk lightly on the earth and live in the most harmony with nature that is possible and practical for them. I would like to invite people to realize that just because they can’t see their impact does not mean they are not making an impact. As usual, in my unpopular way, I am posing a tough question and being devil’s advocate.

  • kandacekandace Raw Newbie

    Wow, I had no idea honey was such a debated topic in veganism…I suppose I have always accepted not eating honey as a part of being vegan without question as eating honey is, to my mind, much like eating dairy. I’m partial the the explanation from grassroots veganism:

    Regardless of how careful we are, it is impossible to live a totally harm-free life. All animate sentient beings inflict some form of injury or death to others simply by their existence…The difference between vegans and nonvegans, however, is the element of intent. Vegans consciously strive to do no harm to any sentient life, including insects. This does not mean that vegans do not hurt others inadvertently, but that it is never their aim to do so…Honey is made from sucrose-rich flower nectar that is collected by honeybees and then regurgitated back and forth among them until it is partially digested. After the final regurgitation, the bees fan the substance with their wings until it is cool and thick. This mixture, which we call honey (which is essentially bee vomit), is then stored in the cells of the bees’ hive and used as their sole source of nutrition in cold weather and other times when alternative food sources are not available…The honey that bees produce is stored in their hives for their own purposes. When humans remove honey from the hive, they take something that is not rightfully theirs…To collect honey, beekeepers must temporarily remove a number of the bees from their home. During the course of bee management and honey collection, even the most careful beekeeper cannot avoid inadvertently injuring, squashing, or otherwise killing some of the bees. Other commodities may be taken from the hive as well, including beeswax, honeycomb, pollen, propolis, and royal jelly…If one were to stretch the point, using honey could, in a broad sense, be considered analogous to dairying. Furthermore, there is no reason to take honey from bees other than to sell it. Utilizing bees to pollinate crops in no way necessitates ravaging their hive…Although the issue of honey is not deemed the most pressing concern of many vegans, honey is nevertheless considered an animal product. Because there are numerous alternatives to honey, from a vegan perspective there is no justifiable rationale for using it.

    The vegan society also has more in-depth information about practices with collecting honey.

    That said, 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.

  • RawAllaRawAlla Raw Newbie

    Kandace, That article expresses my point exactly. I am very excited to be a part of a community that has such a wide continuum and ability to support each other. Thanks for the great site.-alla

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