Today I met with the owner of the Original Pizza Cookery in Woodland Hills to talk about advertising their new vegan menu. While talking to the owner about my own vegan challenge he informed me that he himself was also vegan, and we went on to discuss the various things we have learned since making this dietary change. It was very refreshing to be able to have a conversation with someone about what I have been learning and what they have learned in turn, without having to worry that they will be sick of hearing about it. He went on to tell me that like some alcohol, many brands of refined sugar is also processed using animal products.
Animal products are not actually in the product, but it is still processed with animal bone char. So in an ingredient-based definition of vegan it is still technically considered vegan, since there are no animal products included in the ingredients. The process of using animal bone char uses the charcoal to filter out the color, impurities, and minerals from the sugar. So on the other hand by a process-based definition of vegan, refined sugars would not be considered vegan. But if you follow the processed based definition of vegan there would be a ton of other products you couldn't buy such as steel, some types of rubber, certain types of filter water, and the list goes on. By following the process based definition you have opened Pandora's box, and it would be really hard to find products that would be considered truly vegan under that definition. So here is where you ask yourself, where do you draw the line?
If you choose to go the route of avoiding refined sugar that uses animal bone char here are some labels to look for indicating that it is in fact vegan friendly sugar: vegan, raw, unrefined cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, beet sugar, raw sugar
Some vegan sugar brands:
* Wholesome Foods
* Florida Crystals
* Hain Organic Powdered Sugar
* Jack Frost
* Country Cane
* Southern Bell
* 365 (the Whole Foods house brand)
If you do choose to avoid refined sugar altogether, here are a few alternatives:
turbinado, succanat, date sugar, fructose, barley malt, agave, nectar, stevia, maple syrup, molasses, rice syrup, fruit juice, corn syrup