What is "Plant-Based"?

The BE Hive is committed to supporting a healthy community; that’s why we’ve been working hard to increase your plant-based food options throughout the city of Nashville and Middle TN for the past 7 years. Thanks for joining us in that mission. We hope you’re savoring the new options you’ve helped create. Go forth and eat good food!

You may have noticed that The BE Hive is also helping increase access to hemp products in TN and surrounding states. Some of you have had the fortune of enjoying our cBEd oils and tinctures as well as the full spectrum hemp-infused food and beverages we offer at the weekly deli. Delightful, right!? We thought you’d like that.

As a plant-based business, it’s our mission to make plant-based living easier, delicious, and more accessible to everyone. Look forward to regular updates from us addressing curiosities around plant-based lifestyles. We hope to increase awareness around the full scope of plant-based living and how it can impact our lives and our communities, from health to economy. Feel free to contact us with questions, topics of interest, testimonies, opinions and facts as we attempt to learn and share more about being plant-based through conscious conversations. 

So what do we mean by “plant-based?” Simple. Whatever it means to you! For some, “plant-based” is a basic description, for others it’s a full-fledged lifestyle. You may hear people use “plant-based” in lieu of (or interchangeably with) “vegan” or “vegetarian,” as the latter terms tend to be burdened with preconceived notions, which - in many cases - are loaded with strongly held beliefs but with which not all vegans/vegetarians fully relate. 

At The BE Hive we think of “plant-based” as a larger umbrella of consciousness which encompasses many plant-based perspectives. There are probably as many plant-based practices as there are people. It’d be impractical to try and address them all here, so -for now- let’s stick to what many consider to be the purest (and often most controversial) form of plant- based living, veganism.

Vegans generally don’t eat animal products (for a variety of reasons, some of which we will discuss in a later episode); however, some vegans are surprised to learn that certain - seemingly vegan - foods can actually contain animal products, use animal products as a part of their processing, or are considered animal by-products themselves.

Consider honey. Honey is produced by bees from nectar through a specialized digestive process and is used by bees as a source of food and energy; as such, honey is considered an animal by-product (think milk), so it’s technically not vegan. 

Most vegans, at some point in their journeys, have been chagrined to discover that they have been consuming condiments, beverages, breath fresheners, and supplements that they assumed were “animal-free” but actually contained animal stuff, even though the products didn’t directly say so in the list of ingredients on the package. Something like Worcestershire sauce is a give-away, as it’ll likely say anchovies in the ingredients list if they’re used, but if you didn’t already know that, you might not think to look. Some things can be even trickier though. Marshmallows, jams, sodas, and vitamins can contain inconspicuous animal products, such as “gelatin” and “dyes” that you may have never associated with animals. Gelatin is made from the collagen found in animal parts and some dyes are made from insects! So yeah, there’s that. 

Ok, you may need to sit for this next part. Certain beers, wines, and sugars use animal products as a part of their filtering processes. We’re really not trying to bum you out here… promise. The good news, there are loads of resources on the web that can help steer you toward completely animal-free products that are often just as tasty as their counterparts (and often better). They’re not hard to find, so we’re not going to reinvent the wheel here. But if you want to know more, are having trouble, or have specific questions about anything vegan, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll do our best to help you find the answers.

Interestingly enough, not all “vegans” go the route of complete and strict animal abstinence. Some vegans eat honey. Other vegans are careful not to consume food with animal products in their ingredients yet don’t bother researching how the beer they’ve just been handed is filtered before taking a swig. We know some vegans whose only consumption of animal products comes from a vitamin capsule and others who maintain a diet entirely free of animal products in their day to day lives, but who will eat what is served to them (even meat) if they are a guest in someone else’s home. One could probably split hairs here and try to come up with inventive names for these different varieties of veganism (oooh. . . that actually sounds fun!) or we could say “how you eat is your prerogative” and forego creating further labels and divisions. Whatever you choose and however you go about understanding it, we hope you do so from a place of freedom, fun, and respect rather than a place of shaming and judgment... but that too is your prerogative. 

We didn’t discuss vegetarianism, pescetarianism, or the array of omnivorous diets, which can all be considered plant-based. We consider plant-based practices to include almost any practice that involves the intentional or meaningful inclusion of plants in your life. When people who eat loads of meat decide to start meat-free Mondays - that’s plant-based! When you start adding more vegetables to your plate than usual - plant-based! Dining at plant-based restaurants... experimenting with plant-based meats and cheeses… there are many ways of enjoying and contributing to a plant-based way of life. 

Stay tuned for more! Next we’ll address some reasons why people choose plant-based. BE.