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Define Veganism: How Vegan is Really Vegan?

2011 February 8
by Jess

For discussion’s sake let’s define what it means to be vegan.

Is refined sugar vegan?

Picture 5.png says, “It depends on how you define ‘vegan.’ Refined sugars do not contain any animal products, and so by an ingredients-based definition of vegan, refined sugar is vegan. However, some refined sugar is processed with animal bone char.”

Is wine vegan?


According to VegNews the answer is “NO”. From the article: ” How can wine not be vegan? Many companies refine and clarify its products with fish bladder by-products, commonly known as isinglgass.

I spoke to someone about this in my neighborhood wine store. He believed that this process was no longer used and that most all wines are in fact vegan. Who knows the answer to the burning question?

What about beer?

Beer stands in the exact same category as wine. Head over to No Meat Athlete to see a list of ingredients that could be in your beer. Ingredients include isinglass, gelatin and insects.

What do you think? What does it mean to be vegan?

{to find vegan wine and beers check out Barnivore}

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15 Responses leave one →
  1. February 8, 2011

    I am currently doing the 7 Day Challenge and I am astonished at all the unexpected things that have animal products in them. If nothing else this is a great learning experience for me.

  2. February 8, 2011

    This is really good. I love finding information like this Jess. When I found out what Gelatin really is, I about freaked and it changed the way I bought things. Only candy corn I buy is Jelly Belly brand now ;)

  3. February 8, 2011

    I am doing the 7 day challenge and I am avoiding wine this week (except apparently Yellow Tail is vegan!) and bought organic white sugar.

    HOWEVER, one thing I’m not getting worked up over is using my lovely Burts Bee’s lipchap (for beeswax) because I have very chapped lips in the winter and this is the only stuff that works for me! I’m not having honey though.

    A lot of those LITTLE things are the reason I would never want to be full-on vegan but I do like the idea of cutting back on major animal products in general and continuing to carry that through even after 7 days.

  4. February 8, 2011

    oh good, I need wine to be vegan. its my one thing i’ve got going for me. haha. JK! Great info though!

  5. February 8, 2011

    Going vegan was a huge adjustment for me, so many unexpected products have animal products in there – like some store-bought hummus, sauces, crackers, etc. This challenge is such an awesome idea to become more aware of what’s in our foods.

  6. February 8, 2011

    Vegan is just way too complicated for me. I know that sounds silly, but I have such a hard time making healthy decisions with my schedule as it is, let alone trying to analyze every ingredient.

  7. Dani permalink
    February 8, 2011

    Lots of wine isn’t vegan still- especially biodynamic wines which are often filtered with egg biproducts. And lots (especially those from Europe) are still filtered with none char. Check out:!

  8. February 9, 2011

    Gelatin shows up in places you’d never expect!

    I could totally be a vegan full-time if it wasn’t for whey protein shakes, eggs, and the occassional Greek yogurt…a few of my favorite things.

  9. February 9, 2011

    cracking up that you needed to get down to business and look at wine/beer and sugar. The wine makes you a girl after my own heart.

  10. February 9, 2011

    wow, i would have thought that sugar was vegan at least..this was shocking. i think your doing an awsome job with the challege, it sounds rather difficult

  11. February 10, 2011

    Well folks, there you go, I’ll NEVER be a vegan! No beer?! No way! Actually there is a show called Brew Masters that Nick and I like to watch sometimes, and he uses animal spit and insects in his beer. It’s lovely. And, it’s a well known beer that both Nick and I really love! I try not to think about the bugs……

  12. February 10, 2011

    I would never have thought wine and beer wouldn’t be vegan! I am kind of disappointed actually!

  13. February 10, 2011

    I never realized there would be animal products in those foods/drinks. I’m not vegan, so it doesn’t really matter to me, but it’s crazy to think about what’s hiding in our foods!

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