Could you be eating dead bugs for dessert?

Fruits and vegetables are a staple of the vegan diet. While avoiding all animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs, vegans often supplement their meals with plenty of fresh plant varieties.

But there's one pesky fruit, the fig, that doesn't exactly fit into the "vegan-friendly" category. Or, at least that's what some vegans claim. Read both sides of this discussion to decide if you consider figs vegan or not.

Why Some People Argue Figs Aren't Vegan

The pollination process for fig trees is unique. It involves the death of wasps, which some would say goes against the vegan ideology. Here's how it happens:

Figs begin as an inverted closed flower. This shape prevents the wind or bees, common pollinators for other fruit trees, from spreading the fig's pollen. Instead, pollinator wasps are key to a successful fig tree.

At the end of her life cycle, a female wasp will crawl into the tiny opening of the fig flower to lay her eggs. During the process her antennas and wings will be broken off, causing her to die shortly afterwards. The fig then digests the wasp's body using an enzyme. Her eggs will hatch, the larvae will mate, and then crawl from the fig with pollen attached to them, continuing on with the species' lifecycle.

So for every fig consumed, it's likely that a wasp died for it to come to fruition, a fact that some vegans are uncomfortable with.

And Why Others Say Figs Are Vegan

While plenty of vegans avoid figs, there are just as many who eat them. The fig tree and pollinator wasps have a symbiotic relationship that's mutually beneficial for the insect and the plant, relying on one another to reproduce. Some view this as a natural process that's very different from a man-made operation that goes against vegan ethics, such as factory farming.

The bottom line: Depending on how strict you are, your veganism will influence whether you consider a fig to be plant-based or not. It's up to each individual to draw their own conclusions on whether to include figs in their vegan diet. But at the very least, you can always remind everyone enjoying a delicious baked fig dessert, that several wasps died for that treat. It's sure to start a fun conversation.

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