On Being a Mostly Vegan? I Say – “Right On”

Image from offthemaptattoo.com

By Erin Trauth

In a recent Huffington Post blog post by Sasha Turgman, a student at New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute, Sasha, makes the claim that she is a “mostly vegan.” She explains that she “…decided to become a vegan for health reasons and I promised myself I wasn’t going to feel bad if I slipped up or changed my mind…It’s about listening to my body and being healthy[;] if I eat butter or cheese one night, who cares?”

We posted Sasha’s explanation of her “mostly vegan” lifestyle to the iEatGrass Facebook page and garnered nearly 40 comments from readers, varying from the stance that there is no “mostly” – it’s all or nothing – to a more accepting take on Sasha’s philosophy on the vegan lifestyle…and everything in between (check out our page for the many interesting responses!). We got so much of a response, in fact, that we decided to keep the convo going — here’s my take:

Here at iEatGrass, we are obviously all about veganism, popular culture, and living life to its fullest. For each of us, veganism is a pretty solid lifestyle choice. Whether for health or ethical reasons, I’d guess we’re all strict with our own diets and lifestyle choices on an everyday basis, and I would make the claim that no one writing for iEatGrass is what would qualify as a “mostly vegan.” I’m a 100 percenter, myself, and Ayinde has been vegan his entire life–born and raised.

But, no matter our personal choices for being an “all the way” vegan, what I know we’re even more about here at iEatGrass is spreading the love to vegans in all forms.  Call it what you will for whatever purposes you want – whether veganism is your personal weekly switch, movement, diet, or life-long lifestyle – my take is that vegan eating in all its forms, at the end of the day, is a step in the right direction.

Sasha eating a whole lot less cheese? Cool. I like it.

Schools offering vegan side options to kids, if only but on Fridays?  Dig it.

The “all the way” vegans that don’t touch animal anything? Thumbs way up.

The young woman changing out her daily coffee creamer for almond milk? Good stuff.

The father adding a Meatless Monday dinner  in for his children once per week? Nice.

An older couple going vegan on weekdays to help lower their cholesterol? Bravo.

The overweight teen seeking to try a vegan breakfast options for the first time? I applaud them.

Veganism is a lifestyle and not just a diet. However, not everyone is ready to take the lifestyle on full swing, but that doesn’t mean we should give them a cold shoulder. Whether these people are just trying a vegan switch or partially vegan or mostly vegan or vegan all the way, at the end of the day, all of these choices ultimately mean less animal product consumption, a smaller carbon footprint, and a healthier population.

While there’s some merit to the “all the way or nothing at all” argument, the fact of the matter is that veganism is not yet wholly mainstream. Those new to vegan eating may face difficulty finding available products in their local supermarkets, they might not be able to afford to shop at Whole Foods for the best selection, or they may have family members opposed to the whole issue altogether. They might just find it hard to give up the lifestyle they’re used to. But the fact of the matter is, they’re trying it, and, in my book, that’s a good thing.

One poster made the point that if we were collecting donations for a cause, we would not shun the donator who only had one dollar bill to offer. Would we say to him, “give us twenty bucks or give us nothing at all?” Hell no, we wouldn’t. We’d say, “thank you for your donation. Next time, see if you can give us one more.” It’s called encouragement, people.

So, my friends of the vegan or halfway vegan or trying-it-out vegan kind, do what you can, as much as you can. We’re right here with you, and we like what you’re doing. Keep it up.

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13 Responses to On Being a Mostly Vegan? I Say – “Right On”

  1. Alex says:

    For me, you either are vegan or you are not. I totally respect people who eat “mostly vegan,” but if they just don’t eat meat, they’re really vegetarian and not “vegan.” If people eat a “mostly vegetarian” diet but still eat meat, they’re omnivores but not a “vegetarian.” That’s just the reality of it. Taking the title “vegan” or “vegetarian” indicates you live a certain lifestyle, for whatever reason.

    I support people eating less animal products, but call a spade a spade. I totally encourage them, but not when they go around calling themselves veg and still eat animal products because that, in my opinion, is more harmful than not. I think most veg people can relate when they say they’ve met someone who said something to the effect of, “But this other vegan I know eats fish!” Well, no – that’s because they’re not actually vegan.

    There’s plenty of space to encourage people to eat a more healthful vegan diet, but we don’t need to let people delegitimize our lifestyle by co-opting the terms we use to identify ourselves as followers of a certain set of principles, regardless of our reasons for being veg. This is not just a black-or-white issue.

    • I totally agree. I support anyone who minimizes their animal consumption, but they probably shouldn’t call themselves a vegetarian or a vegan unless they have fully committed, just because I think it trivializes the movement. It’s fine to say you “try to follow a vegan diet most of the time,” or “eat vegetarian as much as possible.” I also have family members who eat vegan about 90% of the time and call themselves “conscious eaters.” When they do eat meat/dairy they are particular from where it is sourced, etc. I really like that phrasing.

  2. Pingback: Editorial: On Being “Mostly Vegan” «

  3. Julie says:

    In our home, my husband and kids and I eat vegan. When we’re out, at friends or families houses, or at a restaurant chosen by friends of family, we sometimes eat some cheese, or some pasta made with egg. We feel it’s rude to not eat at someone’s house, even if it’s just the green beans with parmesan. Soooo, what would you call us? “Mostly vegan” makes prefect sense to me. It means we mostly choose vegan meals, but we’re not going to be martyrs about it. BTW, making it black and white only alienates people. Erin has it right. imo :)

  4. Leila Taha says:

    Seems to me like Zoe and Alex are more fixated on the identity politics behind the veganism “movement” as oppose to the actual moral, envioronmental and health related benefits of choosing to consume less animal based products. Meh. Only in America.

  5. Emma says:

    Love this article! I’ve been “mostly vegan” for about a month now, because of ethical reasons. But because I’m a teenager, there are some small things that are difficult to avoid. Refined sugar possibly in my cereal? That’s okay. Mono-diglicerides in my cereal? It’s not great, but that’s okay too.

    I don’t eat anything that has “egg” or “cream” or “milk” on the ingrediants list, but I’m lenient with the by-products. I had a friend say, “well, you eat sugar – so you’re not vegan”. Such a black and white description makes a vegan lifestyle hard to follow. It would be great if nothing was made with animal products, but that’s not how the world works.

    Thanks for this post!

    • Ayinde says:

      You’re welcome. That’s not how the world works and your label reading helps to show companies there are people who are consciences about what they buy and will make another choice when the option is presented. Keep making better choices, Thanks for reading!

  6. Lindsey says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I have been vegetarian for a little over a year. I have received comments from both meat eaters and vegans about what I eat and honestly I got the worst comments from vegans.
    “You’re not an animal lover”
    “We don’t want you” As if it’s a kind of special club. And of course lots of lectures about airy cows, etc.
    I wish they could read this and realise that everyone’s journey isn’t going to be the same. Not everyone can go vegan as easily as others. Some people don’t even want to go full vegan and that is their choice.
    Any way, thanks for the great article. I do enjoy vegan-ising my meals when I can. It’s delicious and satisfying.

    • Ayinde says:

      You are welcome!

    • Yvette says:

      I so agree with you. I just walked away from meat. I’m nervous. I’m going cold turkey. I like the idea of Mostly Vegan, but that is probably what I’m going to be for awhile. Since I’m giving things up like Jello and Milk and other similar things I am leaning in that direction, I just feel like I would welcome more support than criticism. Hope you are able to find people who can do that for you.

  7. Kerri Leach says:

    I don’t know what to call me, Mostly Vegan sort of fits but not really. I haven’t eaten meat beef, lamb, pork etc for years, I eat the occasional prawn or fish mainly at social events with eggs for breakfast sometimes. At home my meals are Vegan but I have to cook meat meals for the rest of the family which I find very difficult and about a year ago I gave up my job as a cook as cooking large quantities of meat made me feel ill. I am allergic to all dairy products so this made giving up my love of cheese easier and I haven’t drank milk in years. Will I become a complete Vegan, I don’t know, it just feels really difficult when surrounded by family, friends and society that are meat eaters.

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