the bad vegan

Are you still vegan if you eat cheese to be polite?

Is being vegan like being pregnant: you either are or aren’t, with no grey area?

If I lived in a bubble where I didn’t have to socialise with people in ways that involved eating being vegan would be the easiest thing in the world. But I like socialising with family and friends, and have always loved when it involves food. What has changed is the fact that I now feel this overwhelming desire to not draw any attention to my choice to be vegan*, and if that means that I load up on salads and sides that will usually have some form of cheese in at least one of them, then that’s what I do.

Dinner at a swish restaurant recently saw me eating an average dish of lentils and mushrooms for my main, because apart from pasta which I try to steer clear of, that was the only VEGETARIAN main option. Yes, I said vegetarian. Vegan is not even an option at most places unless you want to order a bunch of nibbles-type starters and call it a meal.   

And what about visiting friends? Initially it was a huge novelty for everyone and some very dear and kind people went out of their way to make completely vegan options just for me {while others made the expected jokes and thought it was all hilarious}, but everyone knows by now that any of the side dishes are going to be fine, and I just hate for anyone to go to that much trouble for me. So how can I not just eat that bit of goat’s cheese or feta that’s sprinkled on top of their beautifully prepared salads? Leaving it to the side of my plate just looks like I’m being picky.

And being the only person to say no to a slice of birthday cake seems a bit too Grinch-like, doesn’t it? (Even though I’m not really a cake person at the best of times.)

No-one expects me to eat meat or seafood anymore, and thank fuck for that. It got boring to keep shaking my head and saying no thanks. And seriously, a lavish spread of baked potatoes, Asian style greens, fried rice {no bacon}, and every kind of delicious salad imaginable is my idea of foodie heaven. There’s no way I ever leave hungry that’s for sure.

So am I really just a hardcore vegetarian who only occasionally eats cheese while avoiding all other animal products including dairy and eggs, or am I just a shit vegan for those same bites of cheese? Because it seems like it always comes down to the cheese. Label something vegetarian, leave out all meat, and add some cheese. Hey presto: vegetarian meals 101.

Is it better to just eat the fucking cheese so everyone doesn’t think you’re being a picky bitch, or do you just keep politely refusing? It reminds me of when I would be doing some weight loss program and trying to steer clear of all the wrong kinds of snacks when hanging out with friends. It’s true that some people would often act as saboteurs who cared little for your good efforts, and back then I never gave in and ate something unless I wanted to. I sure never ate something fatty or sugar laden just to be polite, and that was just about losing weight, a.k.a. looking better, a.k.a. vanity. Choosing to be vegan is about our ethics towards animals and the environment, and I feel so much better about myself when I know I’m making 100% vegan choices. I’m not trying to convert anyone either. Knock yourself out eating that charred dead cow my friend.

I just really don’t want to be “that” person. You know the one I mean. That one, who, when your friend tells you is coming over for dinner or lunch, rolls their eyes and says dramatically, “and she’s a bloody VEGAN, what the fuck am I supposed to make for her anyway?” Cue lots of sighing and wtf’s.

For once I’m not complaining either, but I am a bit confused. Do I need to worry about labels or can I really just do what works for me? It’s not like the vegan police are going to be doing drug/urine/cheese tests after all. Ideally I’d like it to be like feminism, where I get to define what it is for me personally, but unlike feminism there’s actually a proper and accepted definition for what being vegan means.

Maybe I’ll just stick to cocktails instead of food next time I eat out.



*Except when I want to blog all about it.


  1. I am not sure. What I know is I admire you for being able to go vegan. I think I could pretty easily be a vegetarian but I know I couldn’t give up diary.
    So I don’t think you are a bad anything for a little bit of cheese here & there. I have a vegan friend who lives in London and eats out all the time so maybe eventually we will find that in Sydney too.


    1. It would be nice to have more vegan options at regular places, I’m sure we’ll get there!


  2. I have so much to say on this topic and I just accidentally deleted it all!! Instead, of repeating it I’ll say:
    I think you should use the label that you are comfortable with or no label if that’s comfortable too. Maybe you’re a vegan or maybe your vegetarian that rarely eats dairy and it’s up to you which way you want to go or what you want to call it but either way you’re navigating your way through this, it’s still new to you, and it’s commendable that you’ve made this big change in your life for really respectable reasons -nobody should judge you for that. I think it’s annoying when someone who is vegan will compare someone else’s veganism to theirs in a self-righteous way so that they can say “you’re not really eating vegan” and they can say all they want about the supposedly legitimate reasons for their annoyance but I think it comes down to insecurity. You should not be criticized for doing something a lot of people are not willing to do and instead you should be supported while you continue with it and figure out how you’re gonna manage it in your life. In my eyes you are eating vegan. 😃 You’ll continue to figure out how to deal with the social situations in which are having dinner at someone else’s house or attending a party and it will get easier(I think….😁).


    1. Thank you, you are right as usual. But if I’m being completely honest, I like when I’m being a good vegan because it just feels so badass, lol. True.


      1. Because it is badass😎


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