Martha Stewart, Honey and the Great Vegan Debate

By Michael dEstries, ecorazzi

According to Vegansaurus, during Martha Stewart’s taping of her veganpalooza special, the 69-year-host caused some in the audience to gasp a bit when she added honey to a recipe she was preparing.

“The honey connection is not obvious to everyone so I think she JUST DIDN’T KNOW,” wrote Megan Rascal. “SO this should be viewed as an opportunity to EDUCATE, not an opportunity to attack her.”

I’ve heard that honey is something of debatable foodstuff among vegans, though just going by the standard definition of “consume no animal products” seems to make it a clear-cut no-no for the lifestyle. Upon further digging, however, and some polling of my vegan friends, it appears that consumption of honey, while hush/hush, does happen in the vegan community. In fact, there are some that believe it’s not as big a deal as others would make it out to be.

Full disclosure: I’m not a vegan – just a vegetarian working his way up to it – but I do own two hives. I love my bees, pamper them, use no insecticides or other chemicals, and always leave them much more honey than they need. I know this isn’t the case with some commercial beekeepers, but for me, I consider being a part of their world a privilege. My hives are also free to come and go as they please – so if they ever swarm in search of greener pastures, so be it.

There’s some interesting debate out there over whether honey should be excluded from the “thou shalt not consume” list. Over on, Keith Akers wrote an article in 2006 arguing in favor of relaxed sentiments towards those vegans that consume honey. On, the general rule of thumb is to always err on the side of not including honey, though they admit that some vegans do not consider insects as “conscious of pain”.  I don’t buy that last part – but to each their own.

So I’m curious – where do you stand on honey? You don’t have to be vegan to answer obviously – and please be respectful of other people’s opinions. I know this can be a heated subject, but let’s try and bee a little sweet, ok? (Bee puns never get old. Never.)

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The Great Agave Nectar Debate
Honey Trouble: Why Urban Beekeepers are Seeing Red
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Elisa F.
Elisa F.1 years ago

My daughter is Vegan and she does not "do" Honey. Thanks for sharing.

susan k.
susan k.2 years ago


Ajla C.
Past Member 3 years ago

Hvala na clanku.

Dale Overall

Interesting to say the least, but I love honey and will always eat it. Maple syrup comes from a living tree but I guess some people will be against harvesting syrup from a tree as well.

Amazing to see how people insult each other so much over these topics, sometimes cult like attitudes of "you are not a true...unless you do such and such or you are simply a vegetarian!" Shocking to be deemed a mere vegetarian! Amateur!

Well, until Mother Nature changes her tune and tells our bodies that we can all survive on a diet of inorganic entities - we all feed on death/ or using honey or whatever from other organic beings on the planet. Until we all are able to consume rock and mineral pate and survive by not relying on plants, meat, fish, seeds, nuts and other organics everyone follow the path closest to your heart and stop trying to change everyone else.

Til then I will put my rolled cinnamon bark in my green tea with a touch of honey and lemon and eat my quinoa along with a touch of organic chicken...and whole wheat crackers.

Jim S.
Jim S.3 years ago

I don't think I want to join your religion. NO PRODUCTS TESTED ON An ANIMAL... give untested products to humans and let them find out if it's dangerous... VOLUNTEERS?

Sue H.
Sue H.3 years ago

I don't get it. Bees give us honey, have done since the beginning. Harvesting honey does not harm the bees. I liked Dale Os' mention of the maple syrup... you have to hurt the tree to harvest it.

KS Goh
KS Goh3 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola3 years ago

Great article!

roseann s.
rose ann s.3 years ago

ty for this valuable info.

Rosie Lopez
Rosie Lopez3 years ago

interesting thanks