Thursday, January 17th, 2019

10 Sordid Not-So-Vegan Confessions

Published on October 26, 2010 by   ·   43 Comments Pin It

We weren’t all born with a hemp spoon in our mouths.   And some of us didn’t take to being vegan as a slab of tofurky takes to veganaise. In fact, some of us slipped, messed up, and cheated our way to veganism.   I called myself a “pesco-vegan” for 5 years before I finally went all the way and said Sayonara to stinky mercury-and-lice-laden sushi.

So.. we want to know – (feel free to leave an anonymous comment) – what have been your naughty sins? Chegans (cheating-vegans) feel free to purge!

Here are some sins we’ve overheard;

  1. “I still wear my wool sweaters. If someone asks, I say they are vegan.   Nobody knows the difference, and I still buy anything new entirely vegan.   Isn’t that greener anyway?”
  2. “I just bought a shirt I was in love with that was 20% silk.   I couldn’t resist.”
  3. “I cheated while I was pregnant.   All I wanted was an egg.   So I ate one.   Then I ate another. It was anti-climactic.   But I listened to my body.   Not planning on doing it again.”
  4. “While in Italy with my Partner, I ate pizza and loved every minute of it.   I felt guilty, but I sat in the moment with it and enjoyed it.”
  5. “I’m still eating the chicken soup at my Grandma’s house over the holidays.”
  6. “I have no intention of donating or selling my old leather shoes.   I’ll wear them til they have no more wear in them.”
  7. “My wedding dress had a silk lining.”
  8. “I accidentally bought cookies near my office that have egg in them. I ate them anyway.”
  9. “I dream of a big, juicy steak.   Hot dogs still smell incredible to me.”
  10. “I bought sardines for my cat, and found myself eating the whole tin.”

This isn’t AA… just because you fall of the wagon, you don’t need to recount your days or give back your coin! Forgive yourself and move on.   We are a deeply flawed and cheeky species.   It makes sense that we aren’t perfect vegans all the time.   Note the good you do by being vegan almost-all-the-time, how many lives you save and how light your footprint is by default.   Aim towards fewer relapses and more discipline.   When you feel yourself slipping, look at photos of chickens or cows or pigs, or go visit a Farm Sanctuary. This works nearly 100% of the time.   And actually, is recommended as a kick in the tuchus activism refresher   for even the most devoted vegan   All is forgiven.   Move on and keep saving the world.

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Readers Comments (43)

  1. Kate says:

    This weekend at my cousin’s rehearsal dinner I was pretty limited on options, so I went with baked beans (which I was told had no meat). It was awesome – garbanzo, kidney, lentils, pinto…and then I found a piece of bacon. But I kept right on eating. Around the bacon, of course!

  2. Condo Blues says:

    I’m not vegan or vegetarian although if being vegan means that I could survive on nothing but a local vegan bakery’s cupcakes, I’m consider it :)

    Anyway, one of my very good friends is vegetarian who hates vegetables. He eats a lot of beans and rice. Everyone in our circle respects his food choice but gives him a good natured ribbing because as a vegetarian we think eating veggies should be a requirement. He admits it’s strange too :)

  3. Stephanie says:

    There is a McDonalds right by where I work…. so if it is one of those days that I don’t want to sit in the lunch room, I go through teh drive through and order french fries and a Diet DP. Hopefully my 3 dollars and change doesn’t do too much to further the McCruelty dynasty.

  4. Vivienne says:

    I still wear my pre-vegan leather and wool. I know I could donate, but a lot of them are very expensive and very high quality items. I’m an unemployed grad student, so I can’t afford to replace them… I’ll wear them till they’re worn out and replace with vegan items. I feel guilty owning them, but sadly I’d feel worse about going through my apartment, finding every non-vegan thing I own, and replacing it. :(

  5. Sam says:

    I haven’t cheated in 4.5 years and this past weekend while visiting NYC I took one bite of my friends cheese pizza. This place had won awards etc and I just had to see if it was really so much better than the pizza in California. Mental note: Daiya cheese pizza is just as good as the real thing.

  6. elaine says:

    Hmmm…I wrote a blog nearly identical to this last year and got NAILED for being honest. I’m happy to see that Chloe gets to be honest and be lauded for it, though it would have been nice to have been the recipient of that too! (My sin, which I wrote about, was going to a McDonald’s on a hot day and enjoying a small mocha frappe.) My most recent “sin” was eating dairy while at a dinner party at a friend’s house — I had totally forgotten to tell her I’d become a vegan since she last saw me two years ago. EVERYTHING she served had some animal product in it; I chose to avoid the meat but ate the pasta with the cheesy sauce and the veggies covered in yogurt. The world is still spinning and I’m still eating vegan 95% of the time. :)

  7. drwatsen says:

    My 60’s vintage motorcycle jacket. Doesn’t get much wear but has sentimental value, can never part with it.

  8. Allison says:

    I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and had a butterbeer. I HAD to. Its Harry Potter. And it was delicious. But in 3 years that’s really the only slip-up…that I know of.

  9. Suzannah says:

    I have sooo many slip-ups with dessert! I’m a college student and sometimes it’s close to impossible to avoid the nasty ingredients that hide in so many dishes that seem vegan

  10. tamari almond says:

    i still wear the leather and down clothing that i had before i was vegan. most of it was bought at thrift stores so i feel like i am recycling which makes me feel good and some of the items were hand me downs. i wouldn’t buy leather now but i also don’t like buying plastic either. consumerism is confusing… but i like the idea of recycling.

  11. Krysta says:

    booze. Booze is my weakness (or used to be before I got pregnant and had a baby). I often didn’t check to make sure the wine or beer was vegan that I would drink when out for dinner or at a club. Now I can go to to check :)

  12. Anonymous says:

    About once a month (around that time of the month) I crave eggs but can usually squash it. However, I have to admit that probably 5 times during these past 3 years I’ve caved and found myself in the McDonalds drive thru ordering an egg and cheese biscuit. :-(

  13. Gaby says:

    I don’t label myself as strictly vegan but I try to be, and when I’m not, I’m uber conscious about it. I’ve purchased several wool sweaters from the goodwill store. I won’t buy anything leather, but wool, I’m still iffy on and at least it’s used. Plus I despise being cold!!
    Also, a few months ago I got a huge craving for eggs. Totally random. I went to my farmer’s market, talked to this cute little old man who showed me pictures and told me the names of his hens. In that situation, I’m totally okay with eating eggs. And it really only took one egg to satisfy that craving.
    I can’t handle dairy at all so I’m really careful about butter and cheese being in my dishes, but I’ll admit to having eaten chicken broth in one or two dishes while traveling. Some countries really have no concept of vegetarian at all!

  14. Anon says:

    It’s one thing to keep something around you had before you were vegan, but when you cheat, who wins? Not you. Not the animals. I don’t get the point of this.. is to make people thinking cheating is OK?

  15. Marie says:

    Every year for the holidays, I travel to my boyfriend’s family house out of the country, for a nice and relaxing 2 week stay. While the whole family is vegetarian they are not vegan. His mom always has this most amazing goat cheese and I always just have to have 2 bites, once and then I am a good vegan.

  16. Sharon says:

    This is a great post, not just because the 100% Vegan tee is my design! :) Ok, so it would be totally lame of me not to confess. Forgive me Vegan Police, for I have sinned, I recently had a bite of a VitaMuffin…contains egg whites…eek!! It was that time of the month and there was no other chocolate around and I didn’t buy them for myself, I bought them for my sister because she wanted to try them. She didn’t like them and neither did I. It was a ting little bite too. :-/ Love to all, even if 100% is rounded up from 99.999%

  17. Kirsty says:

    Ew this post is disturbing haha I don’t cheat. I am a vegan because I want to be!

  18. Jane says:

    I’ve been otherwise totally vegan for an entire decade, but there’s absolutely no way I’m going to drop silk any time soon. I love the way it looks and feels way too much. When someone can perfectly replicate all the qualities of silk charmeuse or silk satin or silk velvet, then I’ll gladly say goodbye. Till then, I can’t do it.

  19. Dianne says:

    I don’t think keeping old wool or leather shoes counts. That’s just being responsible with your materials! It would be terrible to just throw them out!

    I’ve cheated twice (knowingly, at least) in the past year with some random sh*t. A blueberry sweetbread at the shelter I work at and an Amy’s Bread brioche almond toast a friend brought for me. I didn’t have any deep connection or craving for either; but they would have been thrown out anyway and I knew I had to have them. Weird, right?

  20. Sidney says:

    I was vegan for 3 years without any slip ups, then depression struck, I moved back in with my non vegan parents, it was the worst thing I could do. I barely ate any chocolate, but I couldn’t cope in that house as a vegan. Amongst my friends I went with a don’t ask don’t tell policy, so I wasn’t publically busted down to vegetarian.

  21. Simone Reyes says:

    I think this piece humanizes us in a way….we are often seen as sooooo untouchable, righteous (well, hey we ARE more evolved ), perfect that to kind of let down our guards and talk about this is healthy, whether or not we cheat or crave something every once in a blue moon. For the most part being vegan isnt a sacrifice and what we gain FAR outweighs what we give up…for me the most important thing the ability to sleep at night with a clear conscience.

  22. Melissa Brooklyn says:

    Amy’s makes a great frozen VEGAN Mac & Cheese (made with Daiya!) that I like to bring to work for lunch. One day I heated it up and thought it looked different. When I tasted it I realized it was the NON-VEGAN kind. Unfortunately the boxes are identical and I had picked up the wrong one. I ate it any way. I thought that it would be foolish to throw it away and although I felt guilty, it actually helped me realize that my decision to be vegan is wholeheartedly my own. And for that, I am glad I made the error.

  23. YnNeJ says:

    Gosh, reading this was so cathartic! :)
    Just a couple of days ago I was staying over at a friend’s & she told me she had pieces of two cakes her mum had made her; one was “lenten”, no eggs&dairy, the other was “normal”. When I woke up the next morning, I took one slice of cake to eat for breakfast, while my friend was still asleep… I had eaten almost all of it when I realised, it was the one with the eggs!
    The most fascnating thing to me was, though, how my body has gotten used to doing without all these…after one hour,more or less, my stomach was twisting and turning and I fel like I would be sick!So I don’t think I would consciously make a choice like that in the future.And it’s funny seeing other,female, posters above, saying they get non-vegan cravings “those” days of the month, cause I feel the same; not always, but definitely around those days.Wonder if there’s an explanation.
    I have kept the leather and wool items of my pre-vegan days too,which are limited,and try to avoid these materials in my new buys, like my winter coat and bags and accesories.Shoes are much harder, cause it’s almost impossible to find decent vegan shoes around here :(
    The hardest thing to quit,food-wise, for me,was honey,though, as surprising as it may sound; harder than dairy or eggs.I used to love it and none of the vegan substitutes really does it for me and my family is buying it from a small-range local producer&family friend so..These two years I’ve been vegan I’ve succumbed to it maybe 5 or 6 times; the last being a couple of months ago,when he gave us a big piece of honeycomb. I couldn’t resist cutting a piece and feeling the honey coming out of it,in my mouth,as I was chewing.I felt very guilty afterwards,but I just couldn’t.

  24. Mara says:

    I agree with “anon.” I don’t understand either. Just thinking about eating something animal puts me close to vomiting.

  25. Urban Vegan says:

    This is a very important post–thank you. Humanizes us. We ALL make mistakes. No one is perfect.

    The point is, improvement is a personal journey. I have slipped, just like we all have.

    Say no to the vegan police and to those who criticize other vegans/wannabes for not being perfect (How I wish they would project that naggy energy onto more appropriate targets!). Say yes to helping raise awareness of animals’ suffering and of the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet.

    • Karla says:

      Whenever someone asks if I’m a vegetarian I always respond “I follow a plant based diet”. I stopped saying “I’m vegan” because of the oh-so-perfect-vegan police people and vegan preachers that annoy the hell out of everyone. No body is perfect! :)

  26. Anonymous2 says:

    I ate sufganyot while I was in Israel. I had 3 of them. I also had some pita with a huge spoonful of something creamy and some spices. It was good.

  27. Anon says:

    I struggle to give up salmon sushi and have made exceptions for Yum Cha. And chocolate. If it’s dark chocolate, I don’t check for milk solids. Or if I’m really starving and the only thing to eat isn’t vegan, I’ll turn a blind eye. But I’m determined to give it all up by the end of the year… promise!

  28. I don’t think I’d ever willingly eat something that isn’t vegan. Even if I rationalize it, I just couldn’t do it because it goes against my morals.

    I have accidentally eaten non-vegan stuff – this summer I ate what I thought was an Arnold’s Sandwich Thin but later I saw the package and it was an off-brand that had milk in it. :(

    But the other night I did have a dream that I ate M&M’s without even thinking about them not being vegan. I was happy when I woke up that it was just a dream!

  29. Ann says:

    As someone who grew up in an evangelical Christian church where it was pretty much nothing but rules and judgment and who has now given up the evangelical part of the deal (I call myself a “recovering evangelical”) I have a real problem with vegans who judge each other if a co-vegan slips up and eats or wears the occasional animal product. We’re all human, we’re going to mess up every once in a while. The point is, that by being vegan, we are still making a difference, even if we sometimes cheat. Instead of judging each other, we should be encouraging each other.

  30. Kylie says:

    I still wear my wool winter coat. It is eco, recycled wool, but I still feel bad about it…

  31. Traveler says:

    I was at a BandB and hadn’t planned on eating the breakfast which I knew would not be vegan. I was traveling and was starving that morning.
    Also, my partner and I were the only people staying there, so I felt very guilty just sitting there while we were served raspberries in vanilla yogurt and scrambled eggs with tomato and peppers. I picked around the yogurt. Then I caved and ate the eggs. My excuse is I had already paid for them with the room for the night, did not want to waste the food, and should have told them sooner about my diet needs. It was all my fault. But man did those eggs taste good. About a month before this I got an unexpected egg roll with some Chinese take-out. My main dish was safe as I’d checked, but I didn’t know I was getting an egg roll until I was half way home. Again, I hate waste, so I ate it.

  32. Allison Tray says:

    As for clothing, I am 100% fine with wearing my pre-vegan down and leather shoes. I have made the commitment to replace those items as I am able to w/ cruelty-free items. Thank g-d for Cri de Cour and Matt & Nat. All of my cosmetics and skin care is cruelty-free now. The only craving I have is eggs. I have friends in Brooklyn who have a backyard full of chickens. They raise them and love them. The chickens lay eggs and I see no moral reason why they shouldn’t eat them. I haven’t eaten an egg or “cheated” but, that’s my temptation.

  33. Fallopia Tuba says:

    I have leather and silk items that I haven’t given away, and although when I first became vegan I gave my much-loved motorcycle jacket to a friend, I can’t part with certain of my leather shoes, which wouldn’t fit anyone else anyway—my left foot is wider than my right and I usually have to have my left shoe stretched.

  34. Ms Johnson says:

    I liked this post so much because normally vegans are associated with a “holier-than-thou”-attitude that is very detrimental to the vegan community.
    My grandmother turned 85 this summer and made meatballs for all of her 12 grandchildren and their children with her arthritic hands. Yes, I had some and I will not beat myself up about it. At least I know the meat was organic from a small local farm in the Finnish countryside where she lives. (Where the animals actually do spend their summers outside in the meadows.) I enjoyed the moment for what it was and my childhood memories. This was over six months ago and I haven’t touched meat since. I didn’t particularly enjoy it and if anything it just reinforced my belief of how my taste buds have changed and how my body doesn’t want meat. But it was totally worth it for the love of my grandmother who I see way too seldom and I will most probably not be able to have her cooking again.
    (But it has to be said, my main reason for going vegan was ecological, the ethical part of it sort of followed.)

  35. Nancy says:

    I don’t see wearing/using leather/wool/down/silk products that one had before going vegan as “cheating.” I would never contribute with my money to these industries but keeping the items isn’t contributing. I simply tell people I bought them before I went vegan. I see no reason to hide it. I only buy vegan items now though- even at thrift stores.

    I cannot eat animal products even if I accidentally find it in food I thought was vegan. Just watch ‘Earthlings’ or think of the animal. It’s also unhealthy and eating the hormone release of an animal about to be killed is not something I want to do. I’d be just as likely to continue eating after finding some human flesh in my food. (Meaning I wouldn’t do either.)

  36. Rikki says:

    Bacon at Burning Man. The uber-hot, arid desert environment demands fat, salt, and protein. Bacon provides.

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  38. Dana says:

    Judgemental vegans make me ashamed to be vegan. No one is prefect. So what if you forget to read a label once? So what if you took a second bite of something made with cheese? Should you have done it? No, of course not. But hey, people mess up. Just get up, dust off your PETA shirt, and keep on going. As a vegan (who has accidentally slipped) I try to be forgiving and kind. Being rude and snobby isn’t going to help get others to convert to veganism. Does the thought of meat make me ill? Yup, it sure does. But I won’t harass my coworkers for eating a burger at their desk, and I won’t judge any vegan for really wanting to take a bite.

  39. Vanessa says:

    I bought a coat online late at night that’s final sales and not returnable. For some reason I thought it was vegan (it was really late, and I was tired). When I first got it, I actually returned the coat because it was defective. If I had bothered to check the label, I’d have seen the 30% wool listed as one of the materials. But it was late, again, so I asked customer service if I could get a new one shipped to me. When I got the replacement, I did check the label, and now I’m stuck with a coat made of wool. Lesson of the week: don’t shop online late at night when your wearied eyes may deceive you.

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