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.