NMP: #32 Vegans Who Eat Honey

You may have noticed there’s a controversy about vegans and honey. Some vegans choose to not eat honey. Others do. I think we should talk about it and that’s why today I’m sharing this podcast episode on Vegans Who Eat Honey.

Vegans Who Eat Honey is the discussion topic of Episode 32 of the Namely Marly Podcast

I eat honey. I use it in my homemade salad dressings, granola, and other things like that. If you’re not familiar with the controversy, listen to today’s podcast episode where I share more about it, or see the information below. Honey, believe it or not, is a controversial topic.

I remember when I was a teenager and I was involved in a very dogmatic church. I bought into the whole thing and as a result I gave up listening to rock music, because, you know, rock music was from the devil. Then one day I was on a road trip with my family and I mentioned to my aunt that I didn’t listen to rock music and she responded, “What’s wrong with rock music? It’s just a love song.”

And I thought about what she said, and cried a little tear for all those BeeGee’s tapes I trashed. I’ve hung up my dogma hat ever since. So when the topic of honey and veganism came up, I was skeptical but gave it a try. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it didn’t jibe with me.

So, the controversy with honey boils down to two camps:

Honey Haters: There are those who think honey should never be used because it is an animal product. To be completely specific, honey is regurgitated nectar. That’s right, it’s regurgitated not just once, but twice! The bees gather the nectar from the flowers and then carry it back to the hive where it is regurgitated and consumed by a hive bee and then that hive bee regurgitates it to preserve it for later. Some bees do die in the process of retrieving the honey.

Honey Lovers: For those who thought agave nectar was the bomb and then realized it is 1) Highly processed and 2) Not as nutritious as it was cracked up to be, honey is a nice alternative that provides some nutritional elements. I love using dates and figs and even molasses, and they are sweeteners that offer fiber as well. But there are times when you need a sweetener with a different flavor profile or consistency and honey provides that. Also, domestic, organic beekeepers are very passionate about their bees and use sustainable practices.

Peanut Butter Energy Bites are made with honey, peanut butter, chocolate chips, and more healthy goodness!

This recipe is for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Bites which uses honey. I always give the options — for honey, agave nectary or maple syrup — when I’m referencing honey in my recipes. I want people to know they have options. And for those people who are not aware of the controversy at all, I’m pleased they don’t have to even know about it!

So, where do you fall on the vegan honey controversy? Leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts!

Our goal at Namely Marly is to provide you with inspiring resources to take on a vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and inspired, energetic living. We hope today’s discussion about Vegans Who Eat Honey has been helpful and informative.

Go be your best you!

Featured Content – Vegans Who Eat Honey

Here are some of the highlights of my discussion about vegans who eat honey:

  • Marly talks about her approach to veganism
  • Marly shares why some vegans choose not to eat honey
  • Marly talks about the reasons why some choose not to eat honey
  • Marly talks about organic, sustainable beekeepers
  • Marly talks about the spiritual side of bees and how they can be a model for us
  • Marly gives some tips for healthy living that is sustainable to bees

This episode includes references to some resources you might find interesting. Here they are:


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That’s it for today’s podcast. As always, thanks so much for joining in the discussion!

8 Responses to NMP: #32 Vegans Who Eat Honey

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyNitzan Reply

    I loved the fact that you brought this topic to discution. I often think it is reguarded as a Tabu in the Vegan world. That said, I highly recomend that if you fo care about bees – read more into Biodinamic beekeeping. It will give you a new prespective about every thing you think you know about bees and of what is sustainable bee keeping as you put it.
    p.s. Organic Beekeeping means better for human consumption and not for the animal, as is everywhere else in the animal industry. For example did you know that most of them feed bees with white sugar so they could take a-ll the Honey? And bees have been found to have Diabetic as a result.. not a simple subject at all. Bees are a magical creature that we should protect. But is eating / not eating honey helping in that? That is a good question

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hey Nitzan. Thanks for sharing your point of view. Honey should be an elective for vegans – if you choose not to include it your diet, then great. But for those who choose to include honey because it’s a natural sweetener and the bees are well tended to using sustainable practices, then that’s great too.

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyKara Reply

    Marly, Thank you. As always, you rock. 😉

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlyrachel gay Reply

    I have been on the fence about this for a long time. Still had not made up my mind when I came across Bee Free, its made from apples and works fine with what I would use honey for. Problem solved. Dates are also amazing. Thank you.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Rachel. I respect everyone’s decision making process when it comes to what they eat. The Bee Free product looks great. And we also use dates and agave nectar as well. We just also happen to eat some honey, not a lot, and always from organic bee keepers. Thanks for your note; I’m so glad to see you’ve found a solution for you personally!

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyBrian Reply

    I have been vegetarian for 20 years, vegan for the last three. Part of the reason I transitioned from vegetarian to vegan was to remove the exploitation of animals, not just animal products from my diet.
    Honey is, essentially, no different to milk and milk products.

    The Vegan Society summarises this very well on this link: https://vegansociety.com/go-vegan/honey-industry

    In short, if you are Vegan, rather than just vegetarian, then honey is not and can not be compatible with this. Honey, milk, wool, silk are all excluded from a vegan life. It matters not if the animal product is ethical, bio’, organic or marketed by hipsters or not. Animal exploitation is, still, animal exploitation.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Brian. I respect your journey towards a vegetarian and vegan diet. I’ve been vegan for nearly 10 years now and followed a similar trajectory (beginning with vegetarian and transitioning to vegan later). I think the underlying differences between our two approaches to this topic is the motivation. I simply enjoy being vegan. I can say I’m passionate about animals, or my health, or the environment, but they are not my main motivators. I simply love this way of living my life. I’m not too concerned about some society that tries to tell me what vegans should or should not eat. I do not live my life by committee.

      I do appreciate your note and again, respect your decisions to live your vegan life the way that it works for you. We don’t agree on this one point, but I imagine we agree on 99% of the rest of it. I think that makes us on the same team and I’m glad for that!

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAgnes Chrismer Reply

    Just consider yourself a beegan. My friend has a bee farm, he is so caring of them. If he sees one that is stranded in a big pot of water then he will very gently place his finger under the bee to help it out. He does take their honey and some wax, and not a one of them has been hurt in the process. He and his wife are unfortunately meat eaters, but he takes great care of his bees because he knows how important their pollination is.

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