Over the past few years I’ve hit many crossroads and had to ask myself, “Which way do I go?” Unfortunately, or fortunately, I tend to have an all or nothing attitude. Meaning if I choose to do something I dedicate myself to it and there’s no question about it. Sometimes this makes life’s decision tough, but at the same time I live with my choices.
One such decision, do I drink alcohol or not? To be quite honest, in the scheme of things this wasn’t a huge issue. As with meat, alcohol has never played a huge role in my life. To put it into perspective, on average I would have an alcoholic beverage once or twice a month. Still, I thought it was important for me to decide whether I should allow alcohol into my life. I’d like to share my research, how I came about my decision, and obviously my final decision.
Question 1: Is alcohol vegan?
Did you know that many alcoholic beverages contain animal byproducts? Say what? ‘Tis true. Some ingredients are in plain sight, but I found the non-veg items to be something I never thought about. I’m talking about fining agents. Per Wikipedia, Fining Agents are: substances that are usually added at or near the completion of the processing of brewing wine, beer and various nonalcoholic juice beverages. Their purpose is for removal of organic compounds; to either improve clarity or adjust flavor/aroma. Specifically, the removed compounds may be sulfides, proteins, polyphenols, benzenoids, or copper ions. Unless they form a stable bottom sediment in the final container, the spent finings are usually discarded from the beverage along with the target compounds that they capture.
Once I figured out what fining agents do I wanted to know what was used, making them non-vegan. Come to find out animal byproducts are often used in the process. These include: egg whites, blood, milk, casein, gelatin, and isinglass (obtained from swim bladders of fish). With that being said, it’s clear why many products aren’t vegan.
Question 2: Is alcohol a requirement to survive my life? Is it healthy? Why do I need it?
Considering I’ve never acquired a great taste for alcohol I think it’s safe to say alcohol is not a requirement to survive my life. And if it is a requirement for anyone I think there is an issue and something needs to be addressed.
As for the question whether it’s healthy, I know many health studies have shown that drinking a glass of wine once daily is good for your health. I won’t argue against that given I have no reason to. However, let’s be honest, many Americans aren’t drinking alcohol to help their health. They’re drinking to get drunk, which definitely makes it unhealthy.
My decision: Having a family history of alcoholism and seeing what it can do to yourself and those around you, along with the knowledge that it’s not vegan sealed the deal for me. My thinking is, if I’m trying my hardest to be healthy and happy why should I put something into my body that is considered a toxin, effects your mental ability/awareness, contributes to weight gain, and is a depressant? Yep, I’ll take my banana high over alcohol any day. Alcohol free is me!
Keep smiling and be grateful =)