Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What is vegan sugar?

Iris asked me why we buy the two pound bag of organic vegan sugar that costs the same as a five pound bag of regular sugar. And isn't all sugar vegan?

She was too small to remember, but we took a vacation to Australia in 2003. On the shuttle from the Cairns airport to our hotel, we drove past many sugar cane fields. A blur of a fast-moving animal caught my eye as it crossed the road and ran into the sugar cane.

I asked the driver what kind of animal lives in the cane. He replied that quite a few animals live in the cane fields.

Then we passed some cane that had been cut by a mechanical harvester.

"What happens to the animals when the cane is cut?"

"They become animal by-catch."

I told him that I just went off sugar.

Then he said that there were more reasons to go off sugar. He told us about all the chemicals that are sprayed on the sugar cane. Then the cane is cut, crushed, and the juices collected--chemicals, animal by-catch and all*.

Vegan sugar is made from hand-cut sugar cane, which gives the animals a chance to get away.

We've been buying organic vegan sugar ever since. The cost is revenue-neutral because I was looking for an excuse to cut down on our sugar intake anyway.

* In theory, the animal blood and guts are removed in the sugar refining steps. Our family does not eat vegan, but we didn't like the idea of "regular" sugar after we learned how it is made.

1 comment:

  1. Eeeeewww! I don't know if we'll have any success cutting back our sugar consumption. We may just have to pay more to avoid the guilt/gross factor.

    Reminds me of when my coworkers put me off canned tomato sauce for a while by describing their summer jobs, and % allowable spiders and bugs on the conveyor belts. Never mind the gallons of bleach used to clean the processing.

    SIGH. I really can't afford (time or money) to go off all mass-produced products completely. But maybe vegan sugar.

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