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The fine print of foods suitable for vegans could hide traps about their origin, which would stop making them ethically and environmentally suitable

The world of foods suitable for vegans and vegetarians is becoming larger and more diverse, something that both are grateful for, without forgetting those individuals who try to improve their diet by alternating or substituting animal products and derivatives for this other type of diet., without becoming strict vegetarians or vegans. It is what today is known as “flexitarians”, the previous intermediate step where we try to reduce more and more meat consumption, as we already explained at the time in Cocinillas.

As we also explained, there are many types of vegetarians. It is not something as simple as stopping eating meat and fish, without more. In fact, the range between being vegetarian and becoming vegan is also wide and diverse, depending on the foods that are allowed to consume. Among all the varieties, it can be said that the ovolactovegetarians are the best known; that is, those individuals who do not consume meat or fish, but do consume derivatives such as eggs, milk, cheeses, yogurts and other lactic derivatives.

Foods suitable for vegans, under review

Ultimately, there are foods suitable for vegans, which do not consume any type of animal product or its derivatives, and in their case possible animal suffering is taken into account to produce both food and clothing.

The problem comes when this definition is carried to the end. That is to say, when you monitor with a magnifying glass how the different foods suitable for vegans have been made, as they may seem so at first glance, but if you investigate a little more about their origin there would be some other “trap”.

This is the case of avocados and almonds, as a video of the BBC QI contest showed. In this contest they asked if avocados, almonds, melon and kiwi are suitable foods for vegans, and the correct answer was “none”.

The reality is that, I repeat, always in the case of being very strict, both avocados and almonds would imply animal suffering. In this case, it would be bees, which are not only used commercially to make honey, but also serve as pollinators for almond and avocado orchards. This is migratory beekeeping, a method in which large beehives are transported on the back of trucks from farm to farm as “portable pollinators.”. This method is used in some parts of the United States, such as California, due to the lack of enough bees or other pollinating insects in the area, as the BBC itself reported in an article at the time.

Therefore, since strict vegans avoid honey given the exploitation of bees, theoretically avocados and almonds should be avoided as well. Although, on the other hand, some might suggest that this argument is nothing more than a reduction to the absurdity of strict vegan eating.

The fine print of vegan-friendly foods

As we have already advanced, it is not always possible to generalize, and analyzing the origin of food with a magnifying glass also has its other side of the coin: not all avocados, almonds, and other products susceptible to migratory beekeeping such as Chinese pumpkins have for what to have arisen from said practice.

In the case of almonds (and their derivatives, such as almond drink) and avocados from California, given that their labor shortage (bees) is well known, they would be a problem within a strict vegan diet. But not everyone could and should not fit in the same bag.

On the other hand, some experts have already wondered if insects in general, and bees in particular, can really suffer the same as other animals. Some work, like the one carried out by NC State University in 2016, has already suggested that at least physically they do: migratory beekeeping damages the health of bees and reduces their life expectancy.

On an ethical level, it would depend on the reason for choosing to be vegan: to avoid harming animals, to want to equate their rights with those of human beings or to minimize their suffering and / or killing. All these arguments go against migratory beekeeping, so choosing to be vegan for any of these reasons would imply not consuming food from this practice. Although, being objective, avoiding eating products derived from migratory beekeeping would not be by far what would reduce animal suffering the most. But in part, it would help.

On the environmental level, on the other hand, this practice has a significant impact. In addition, this practice is known to have negative effects, such as the spread of disease, which can further decimate the native bee population.

Regardless of the origin of choosing foods suitable for vegans, the reason is indifferent, but being strict is not always the best idea.

Some experts speak of the need to “draw a line”, a limit, in the fact of being vegan: the goal is not to be totally strict, but enough. That is, avoid animal damage as much as possible through food, but not always to the last consequences. Because, being objective, the more limits are set within a lifestyle, whether it is ” only ” vegetarian or even vegan, the more complicated it is to follow it in the long term, and the easier it is to fall into some temptation that may lead to abandon said lifestyle. lifetime. Moderation may be the key to follow.

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