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Can I call myself vegan?: For anyone struggling with judgmental vegans


(Found here)

Are you vegan? Good question!

I asked myself this a lot last year when I was going through my vegan-transition process. Could I really be called a vegan if I sometimes cheated? What if I regularly cheated? If I let myself eat vegetarian when I went out to restaurants on weekends? If I ate eggs when a friend made me dinner?

Here’s how I dealt with it: I used a lot of mixed terms. I called myself a vegan-in-transition, a vegan/vegetarian, a half vegan, a 3/4 vegan…whatever I felt comfortable with.

I did worry the “more serious” vegans would disapprove of me if I called myself a vegan. And probably some people would. I mean, I read/watch/hear these people on the internet (like Freelee the banana girl).

But that’s just how social dynamics work. I don’t think they should work that way, but I sure remember in middle school (when peer policing is very strict) the worst thing you could be called was a “poser”.

But we are not in middle school anymore. And these  individuals on the internet (or Peta) do not represent us all.

Eventually I became much more strict, because I was ready for it, I had the drive and the information I needed (or knew how to find it).

As a vegan, I don’t go after people for “cheating”. We are all human and any step in the vegan direction is improvement (in my opinion). Sometimes I tease my vegan or vegetarian friends if I see them indulging in something non-vegan or non-vegetarian foods, but I wouldn’t want to alienate open-minded people to the movement.
In any case, to be vegan is an identity, and people perform it in various ways. I know vegans who eat honey, who own/use leather, wool, beauty products with animal byproducts…I believe it’s important to strive to cause as little harm to other beings as possible, but I believe in encouragement and kindness. So I try not to buy products that contributed in the harming of animals, but I make mistakes sometimes. Does that mean I get my vegan superpowers taken away from me?

No. I keep striving to take care of myself, other beings, and this planet.  It’s a process, something I’m still working on and this blog is helping me to think through.

In my opinion, you are vegan if you strive to minimize the suffering of animals, improve your health, and/or save the environment) by avoiding animal products and byproducts.
Don’t listen to Freelee the banana girl if you don’t want to. From what I’ve heard, she’s not a very nice person anyway.


5 thoughts on “Can I call myself vegan?: For anyone struggling with judgmental vegans

  1. I really appreciate this post. I just became vegetarian and want to transition to being vegan, but I’m concerned it will increase my food-related anxiety, especially when I’m eating out. I worry I’ll be a “poser” if I try to be vegan but can’t manage it 24/7. I like your definition of veganism, though, and agree it’s the intention that matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have worded this incredibly well! I was really worried with the reception at first, but seeing that I have found somebody else that completely agrees with my standpoint – that any change is GREAT – gives me great confidence and encouragement. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think vegans need to stop shaming each other. I’m done with hipster smugness all together.

    The thing is everyone who calls himself or herself a vegan does it for a different reason.

    My mom tells everyone she’s vegetarian but eats soups with animal broths. But, it eliminates awkward situations in restaurants and at dinner parties, so she plays that card.

    I consume a strict vegan diet (including no honey or confectioner’s glaze or casein or anything else that comes from an animal), but have a leather couch (I also have three boys who would destroy a fabric sofa.) Why? Because I’m more concerned with what passes my lips rather than what’s under my ass. I’m vegan for the health benefits, not (entirely) to be kind to animals.

    I can’t bring myself to eat eggs or drink milk because, quite frankly, they gross me out, but that’s me. That’s my deal. You have your own and so does everyone else. Worry about how you feel, not how you perceive others are making you feel. Only you can choose which labels to use to identify yourself.

    But don’t go eating a cheeseburger or anything, okay? Because if you do, you’re out of the club. 😉


  4. You are doing good! I know it’s easy to say “don’t care about what everyone else think” but sometimes that’s what is needed. Life is difficult enough as it is! If a longer transition means you are comfortable with your choice, then that is what is working for you! I encorage everyone who eat one vegan meal every now and again, it’s a start! Every little drop of water…

    Liked by 1 person

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