Brown horse with big white blaze trotting in green field.

How vegan are you if you’re vegan at all?

Hey there Tuesday’s Horse-ers. This is not a recipe post. It’s a philosophical post.

If you are vegan, has anybody ever asked you, “how vegan are you?” I usually say I am 99% vegan. 100% sounds too much like perfection to me. Can anybody do that? Some I guess.

Still, isn’t there a chance no matter how careful you are that an animal derived product escaped your notice and ended up in your mouth? Or what if the labeling is wrong or deliberately misleading? Apart from being a chemist and testing every product, you must rely on labels. Or what you are told.

Here’s a good example that loads of people starting out as vegans don’t know. I didn’t.

One of the most common foodstuffs commonly overlooked when starting out vegan is sugar. I did. Never occurred to me sugar could not be vegan. There’s not an animal in sight when it’s being made, right? Well kind of, sort of.

There are no animal products in sugar, but companies use the bone char from slaughtered animals to “whiten” it. PeTA explains, “Bone char is made from the bones of cattle who were slaughtered in foreign countries and sold to traders in other foreign countries, who then sell the bones back to the U.S. sugar industry.”

Gross. But I didn’t beat myself up about it. Why should I? Nor should you if something like this happens. Be kind.

There are all types of vegans too. Not just “dietary” vegans. Check out this lady.

I have a vegan friend, super sweet girl, who won’t attend symphony concerts or Opera after learning violin strings are made with cat gut. I told her I didn’t think so anymore. I looked it up and we were both sort of wrong. Some are made with gut but not cat gut any longer it seems.

“Roughly 300-years ago, the strings for most bowed instruments – violin, harp, cello, and some bowed instruments you’ve never heard of — were made from animal intestines. While they’re often referred to as catgut strings, these strings were never made from cat intestines. Rather, most catgut strings are made from the intestines of sheep.

“After being expertly stretched, dried and twisted, gut strings create a rich, resonant and expressive tone when stretched taught between both ends. As gut string engineering improved throughout the decades, string makers all shared the same goal – to yield strings with enough mass to be resonant, but flexible enough that it can vibrate properly. Without the right amount of mass, strings produce a weak and hollow sound; without flexibility, the harmonics won’t be in tune.

“Today, gut core strings are still used, namely by more advanced, and professional players, but they aren’t the best option for most violinists since they are fragile, temperamental, and break down faster than their steel- and synthetic-core counterparts. Your violin string’s post-core production is more or less the same, regardless of which material you select.”


I admit reading the above made me feel a bit queasy. In the meantime, if we are judging by percentages, how many points do I knock off my vegan percentage rate if I attend a classical music concert now—knowing that? See what I mean.

My gentle suggestion is that you eat according to what you have knowledge of. All the rest of it you can discover and work out along the way. Few people make a lifestyle change as big as this overnight. It is a new sensitivity. Let it unfold naturally and peacefully. Please do not allow anybody to judge you or make you feel less than.

Here’s a cool statement from PeTA that sums up dietary veganism very nicely.

“Eating vegan isn’t about ‘perfection’ or a quest for personal purity—it’s about achieving real change for animals suffering in the food industry.”

You see. It’s about them. Not us.

Big hugs, Patsy.

P.S. Please leave me some feedback. I love hearing from y’all. 

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