Fully engaging with a vegan lifestyle can certainly pose its difficulties.
One of the main difficulties is sifting through the lies and deceit of the modern food industry to ascertain what actually goes into the food we eat.
This can span everything from the location, how it was sourced, and what methods are used to treat the food before sale.
The whole process can be a minefield, and one that can seem laden with dead ends and brick walls for those trying to commit.
One example is sugar – a common ingredient in many of the foods we eat, but one that has a more complex production process than you might think.
What Is Considered ‘Vegan’?
When it comes to what is and isn’t considered vegan, this generally depends on the school of thought followed by the individual.
Within veganism, there are generally two kinds of practitioners – those who do it for dietary reasons, and those who have a more ethical standpoint.
For those following veganism for the health benefits – or due to other health problems – then there might be more leniency regarding certain foods.
While the obviously non-vegan foods – like meat – are easy to avoid, they might make exceptions with less obvious non-vegan foods to facilitate an easier life.
Those approaching veganism from an ethical point of view take a much more hardline stance against food and the way it is produced – and as such they tend to eat a more limited diet of ethical ingredients.
Is Raw Sugar Vegan Friendly?
With regards to sugar, it is perfectly vegan friendly when in its raw, unprocessed form – and there are a few reasons for why this is.
No Contact With Animals
Generally speaking, raw sugar is considered vegan friendly because it does not harm any animals, does not contain any animal products, and does not go through any processes considered unethical or cruel.
This does of course depend on how the sugar is sourced, and where it comes from – as the destruction of habitats can be a real problem in the sugar industry.
No Harmful Processes
Raw sugar is also unprocessed, which means that it has even less chance of coming into contact with the various animal products that are used for processed sugar.
What Is Raw Sugar?
Raw sugar is the harvested material from the sugar cane in its raw and unprocessed state.
This differs from the image of sugar that we tend to have though.
Raw sugar is brown and earthy in color, which differs drastically from the refined processed sugar and its well known white coloring.
To get this white coloring, there are many processes that the sugar has to go through – many of which are condemned by vegans around the world.
What Other Differences Are There?
Of course, there are some other differences other than the color.
The size of raw, unprocessed sugar also tends to be bigger (per grain) than white and brown sugar.
This is because it has not gone through the same refinement process that regular sugar has gone through.
The taste is also different to regular sugar.
Instead of just being a generic sweet taste, raw sugar has a notable caramel taste – creating a richer, more wholesome flavor palette than the refined variety.
Is Raw Sugar Still Processed?
However, store bought raw sugar is still considered a processed food, and as such is not a healthier sugar option.
This is because it goes through various processes to make it safe for human consumption, and the only way to get true, unprocessed sugar is to harvest your own.
Why Is Processed Sugar Non-Vegan?
However, processed sugar is something that is particularly reviled amongst both dietary and ethical vegans alike.
The Dyeing Process
The whiteness we associate with sugar is not its natural color, and in fact this look is achieved through processes that have been condemned by vegans.
To get the white, aesthetically pleasing color, the raw sugar is soaked in something called bone char – that is, powdered bones from dead animals.
While it is not known just how much of the bone char remains in the refined sugar once it goes on sale – the sheer presence of animal bones means that refined sugar is not suitable for vegan diets.
Is Raw Sugar Healthier?
Despite being more ethical for a vegan diet, sugar is still sugar, and it doesn’t matter whether it is processed or not.
Of course, there will still be some marginally healthier traits within the raw variant, too much of any kind of sugar can still cause numerous health issues.
Such health issues include type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, weight gain, heart disease, and obesity.
Brown Sugar & Raw Sugar: The Difference
While both forms of the sugar are brown in color, there is a world of difference between brown sugar and raw, unprocessed sugar used by vegans.
The main difference is that brown sugar is still made with white, processed sugar – instead being combined and mixed with molasses to create the distinctly brown, sweet taste of brown sugar.
This can be a source of misunderstanding for some people, who might think that brown sugar is somehow better or healthier than its white variant.
Brown sugar can come in different shades of brown – with the deeper brown hinting at a higher molasses content, and giving a deeper taste, whereas lighter brown sugar has a lower molasses content.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about raw sugar, and whether or not it can feasibly be introduced into a vegan diet.
It’s true that veganism can be tricky, especially when it comes to sifting through the lies and finding out where your food actually comes from – not to mention how it is treated.
But with a little research and enough tenacity, you too can live the vegan lifestyle with greater ease.
- large pot
- 1 cup Raw Sugar
- 6 tbsp butter unsalted
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tbsp sea salt fine
- Gather all of the ingredients and get them measured and ready.
- Using a large pot (taller is better—to reduce the risk of burning yourself. Wearing long sleeves is also recommended in case of spattering) melt the raw sugar over medium-high heat.
- Whisk infrequently until the sugar begins to melt, then continually until it is completely melted and (pretty) smooth.
- Whisk in the butter until it is creamy and blended.
- Take the pan off the heat and carefully whisk in the cream.
- Whisk in the sea salt until everything is uniformly combined and the mixture is pretty smooth. Caramel should be dark amber in hue.
- Pour the caramel sauce carefully into a heatproof container (such as a glass jar) and set aside to cool completely at room temperature (the container will be hot for awhile due to the caramel sauce, so use caution).
- Refrigerate (in an airtight container) for up to 2 weeks.