OK, I admit it, I slipped

I've been debating about whether to confess this or not. It's not something I'm terribly ashamed of, but I don't want to lose my credibility in your eyes. On the other hand, I'm blogging about my vegan experiences and I'm sure I'm not the only one who's fallen off the vegan wagon.

I was in New York this weekend, watching the Giants on TV with a bunch of my friends. Go Giants! What do guys consume while watching sporting events? Beer and Pizza. And yes, not only did I consume the non-vegan Guiness (see this post for the shocking details on beer - it's not quite what you think!), but I also had the pizza. I know. How can I call myself a vegan? What can I say, I slipped. Pizza was a much beloved staple in my life until recently. So when the pies arrived from my favorite pizza parlor (nothing beats NY pizza), it didn't take much encouragement from the guys for a slice to wind up on my plate. And then another, and finally, a third! And if I'm having pizza, I've got to have beer to wash it all down.

Was it delicious? Yup. Did it make me want to give up my vegan ways? Nope. Did I feel guilty? Just for a moment, but I rationalized...It was a cheese pizza, so I wasn't consuming any animal flesh. (Note: I do not support the factory farming practices of the dairy industry.) Halfway into my second slice I had an indication that maybe my digestive tract and my conscience weren't going to be happy later on. Sure enough, that's what happened.

It's funny, as a vegan, when you're discussing your dietary restrictions, almost every vegetarian will say to you "I'd go vegan, but I couldn't live without the cheese." Jane and I have found that we miss dairy (specifically milk, cheese, and ice cream) more than any other non-vegan food. After six months without cheese, eating that pizza was sublime. So far we haven't come across any vegan product that is a viable substitute for real cheese. But we'll keep looking.

So I had pizza on Sunday. I've forgiven myself. Have you?

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your story! Everytime I’m in the line for food at the dining hall I pass the pizza and have a yearning. In 1.5 years I’ve not slipped yet, but I wonder if will happen one day.

    Keep fighting the good fight, :)

  2. The hardest thing, I think, about being vegan is the lack of convenience food. If I want pizza, I can’t just ring up the local pizza delivery. If I want donuts at 3am, I have to make them myself. It can be frustrating, so I understand the temptation.

    But my stomach made the decision for me with regard to dairy. Before I cut it out, I always had stomach discomfort after eating. I never knew it was the dairy until I started cutting back and realized I wasn’t experiencing the same problems.

  3. I’m so glad you decided to share your story — if anything, it gives you MORE credibility, I think!

    I had a similar slip not long ago, with pizza as well, and boy, was my digestive system unhappy with me afterwards! I’m going to try and keep that in my memory for next time I’m tempted!

  4. Ha! That will teach you to drink macro beer… I only consume beers from craft breweries – they tend to be purists and believe only in the basic 4 ingredients.
    I slipped a few months ago too – nothing drastic, just grabbed a little bit of salmon dip on my way through the grocery store. Darn habits are hard to break! :)

  5. I knew I wasn’t the only one to slip, but I’m glad to hear from you all. It certainly makes me feel better.

    For me, it will always be the cheese that is hardest to stay away from. Usually it isn’t something I even think about, but in those moments of weakness…

    Lisa – are you sure about your craft breweries? Guiness isn’t adding a non-vegan ingredient to the beer itself… it’s actually the way they “clarify” the beer, that’s why you don’t see “isinglass finings” as an ingredient on the packaging. (And some sugar manufacturers use Bone Char to refine sugar; not an ingredient in the package, something used in the refining process – which is why most vegan purists will not use white sugar.)
    – Lane

  6. Thanks for confessing. I slipped a few times, and still do with beer, sugar, and a few other things here and there. It’s a process, you know?

    That’s funny about cheese. I’ve heard a lot of people say how much they love cheese and it just wasn’t that big of a deal for me. I have more of a sweet tooth than a cheese craving.

    When I went vegan I missed convenience more than any, specific food item.

  7. Hi Elaine,
    Yes, it’s a process. For example, Jane and I consider ourselves to be vegans, but until now, we’ve not been sniffing out every last ingredient which might not be strictly vegan (ie – sugar).
    As we learn things, we incorporate them. If the packaging information would tell you about non-vegan ingredients used in processing…
    Finally, yes, convenience is a huge issue. Thankfully things are easier now than back when I was vegetarian 20 years ago, but there’s still a long way to go.
    – Lane

  8. Unless you’re in an environment where you completely control food prep and ingredients purchase, everyone slips from time to time.

    But think of the impact you’ve had by eliminating >95% of your consumption of dairy and other animal products – that’s what you should stay focused on, rather than what mistakes you’ve made.

  9. Hi John,
    You’ve made an excellent point. And our philosophy is that we do the best we can. We know that, most likely, we’ve inadvertently eaten animal product while eating out (how much can the waitstaff really know about the ingredients which comprise your meal). We make the most logical choices we can. What troubled here, was that this was a conscious decision to eat cheese. But I’m human…
    I’m actually researching a post on the impacts of not eating meat, versus other behaviors which claim to reduce global warming. I’ve touched on it a bit in this post.

  10. The last time I slipped was 2 years ago, at McDonald’s. Oh my, am I not proud of myself! But since then, no mistake (which I have been aware of, at least). I am “only” a vegetarian but I am turning vegan at home. It is socially difficult to be a vegetarian in France, and when you turn vegan, you get quite violent reactions from other people. They call you crazy and they really think you are going to die. Oh my.

  11. Wow, McDonald’s… I think the only vegan thing there is the coffee! :-)
    I’ve been told I’m crazy too. And EVERYONE asks me if I’m getting enough protein. It gets a little annoying at times. But it’s a very different way of eating than what most society practices, so I guess it makes sense that others would look cross-eyed at what we’re choosing to do.

  12. Yeah people slip. Dairy is like crack so it can be so hard for people to give it up.Also some people don’t seem to know that dairy is more cruel than meat.

    I never tried a soy cheese I didn’t like. I feel horrible eating it since all soy products are tested on animals. I found this out recently. I’m shocked yet at the same time I’m not since so much cruelty happens in this world.

  13. Hi Dawn,
    Yes, I’ve been reading the China Study and there’s a lot of truth to that (dairy is like crack).
    Interesting that you enjoy the soy cheeses. We’ve heard a lot of conflicting reviews. Personally, I’m starting to like them more the longer I’ve been away from real cheese.
    I was not aware that soy products are tested on animals. I’d like to do a bit more reading on the topic. If you don’t mind, would you send me link or book title? Thanks

  14. Actually, most cheeses have rennet in it. So when slipping up with the cheese pizza, you are actually consuming animal gastric juices, stomach and enzymes! Yep, that’s right. People misunderstand that cheese is just not a dairy product.

  15. Hooray for Wanda’s point, which I was just about to make. I’m not going to congratulate you, Lane, for coming clean, or offer some platitude about how “everyone fucks up.” These “slips” can be serious if you don’t immediately go back to your strict vegan diet. It’s a “slippery slope” if you will–and suddenly you’re a mere vegetarian again.

  16. Hi “B”
    I’m not asking you to congratulate me. I’m blogging about my experiences as a vegan. Obviously you and I come at this from different points of view and you are certainly entitled to your opinion. I believe in being compassionate about slipping up.

  17. i slipped for the first time today.

    I HAD A CROISSANT. i ordered my coffee this morning and really wanted something plain to eat. so i asked the waiter if there was egg or dairy in the croissant, and he just looked at me like i was a freak and laughed, completely un-helpful and rude. they couldnt even reccomend anything else to eat. it was so upseting and dissapointing.

    so i had it anyhow hoping there wasnt any animal products even thou i had my susspicions. i dont know why i did that but i feel really bad and i wont ever do that again.

    was i weak in my decision. ?

  18. Hi tina,
    Jane and I feel that it is impossible to be a perfect vegan if you live in today’s society. If you drive a car, your tires have animal byproduct. The sheetrock in your house has animal byproduct. Crayons contain animal byproduct. We strive to do the best we can.
    More than likely, your croissant contained animal product (butter). Should you castigate yourself over this? No! You feel bad, you’re not going to do it again. But more importantly… you’re vegan 99.99% of the time. One step off the path doesn’t mean you’re not vegan. (And it’s not like you had a steak!) Now other people don’t agree with our philosophy. Basically, you have to decide what works for you.
    We feel that we are doing more by being vegan all year with the exception of our two slices of pizza when we’re in NY, than most of the rest of the population. We’re comfortable with our decision. It’s your life, you need to decide what works for you!
    You do the best you can, and that is all you can do. Hope that helps.

  19. thank so much for your response. i do feel im giving it 100% of my effort so, i feel good all the time, i love the way i feel as a vegan and thats what matters.

    cheers and great day to everyone!

    tina <3

  20. I slip about once a month.I don’t make a lot of money to afford cheese substitutes and other vegan luxury items.I try the best i can, but sometimes we run out of grocery’s and or i feel an urge and i give in.

  21. Hi Daniel,

    If you have the time, many of the vegan “luxury” items can be made at home for a fraction of the cost. Cashew cheese, seitan, even vegan ice cream. But it’s not always practical or convenient.
    You have to do what is right for you. We save pizza for our trips to New York. They aren’t that frequent, so it doesn’t start us down a slippery slope. I think if I had it more frequently, I would give in to temptation more often, and ultimately wind up being an omni again.

  22. its real hard to find a decent looking pair of shoes or boots that are VEGAN, in Melbourne. can anyone point me in the right direction?

    tina x

  23. Hi Tina,

    There’s always mail order…. It might take a while, but here’s a link that you may want to browse: women’s pumps

  24. hey not bad. thanks lane.

  25. I had ice cream yesterday with a massive amount of peanut butter sauce on it and it was delicious.
    Ahh…I feel better getting it off my chest.

  26. Rebecca Bochenek says:

    Daiya works really well on pizzas, grilled cheese(ya gotta flip it easy), broccoli cheddar soup and even unmelted in salads, tacos, etc. And I love it when I can find it for under $4! Can’t wait for it to hit WalMart and Meijer stores in Michigan.

  27. No, honestly, I never do that knowingly, I’ve been vegan for so long, dairy/eggs/meat don’t call my name anymore. I formed new habits, and my cravings are all vegan now. (wasnt always the case!) But accidents happen, just keep moving, everyone makes mistakes. It’s important to see it for what it is: a mistake, not a defining moment for your morality. Anyway, I don’t know how it is where you live, but it’s so easy for me to order vegetarian pizza without cheese. I love pizza and always ask for extra veggies instead of cheese- so maybe thats something you can do when youre out with your friends? If they are extra accommodating you can ask for a splash of olive oil over your veggies,for more flavour if you want something ‘heavier’, or extra spices. Don’t be afraid to ask and be detailed (like what veg do you want) because sometimes people just don’t know what to put on pizza besides cheese and meat. Maybe it depends on the place, but I find that I usually get what I want if I ask politely. :)

  28. What is wrong with being lecto-vegetarian? God gave so much milk to cows and it can be shared with humans – as the calf can’t drink all of it. Now if milk suits someone is another thing – but in Indian society milk has been consumed for 1000s of years and cow revered as holy and considered like mother.

    Cows have traditionally been a part of the family and taken care of real well. Commercialization of milk is a modern phenomena. In India it is not allowed to slaughter Cows.

    There are rennet free cheese and some pizza companies use that. One can find out about it from the company.

  29. Hal, as for your asking, for ME I personally think that eating eggs and milk products would be fine if we lived in a perfect society. But we don’t. Yes, if i had my own little farm and had cows and chickens, sure i would eat the left over products they produce! (I hate to waste things) But that isn’t the case with the dairy and eggs we buy. These animals are given hormones to either make them lactate longer in the case of cows (the artificially inseminate them so they are pregnant all the time, more than what’s natural) Chickens are fed hormones to make their breasts so big they can die of heart attack or break their legs because they cannot support their own weight. Also their beaks may be clipped very short so they cannot peck each other. I could go on, but if you want to know more their are plenty of websites and documentaries you can watch. Plus it is a bit healthier if you do it right. :)

  30. kate skwire says:

    Lane,
    I’m sorry but I have to agree a bit with B. I’m not sure it’s helpful to share your “slip” as I feel it encourages a dangerous mindset. Most of the commenters here are supportive and encouraging, yet note that most report that they have “slipped” too. I want to point out that slipping is something that happens to you. You’re walking down the street and accidentally slip in a pothole or you slip on a wet floor. Eating dairy is not a slip. It’ s a conscious decision and a choice you made. I am not saying that it negates all the other vegan eating/lifestyle that you follow but take responsibility; own it as your choice and not as something that just happened. If one of your friends said he slipped and raped his wife or slipped and beat his kid, you wouldn’t tell him it’s okay, it happens to the best of us and to try not to do it again, I hope. You would tell him that it’s not okay and he has to be strong, get support, find help, whatever it takes for him to avoid the violent behavior. Eating animals ( and their secretions), whether you hunted and murdered them yourself or paid some immigrant working in unsafe and unsanitary conditions getting paid minimum wage to do it for you, is violent. In the latter case, you’re not being violent towards animals only but towards humans as well and large scale animal agriculture is always violent toward the earth. I understand your use of the word slip in this context but language is important. In this case, it can really help us to minimize and downplay and deny our own agency. It’s easy to minimize a little exploitation when you and your family and loved ones are not on the receiving end of it. And it’s far easier for us to swallow our selfish decisions when we reframe them as missteps rather than the choices we made. Yes, veganism is radical and extreme, almost as much as carnism, but it is radically kind and loving, radically fair, radically strategic and far-seeing, radically wise and radically ethical. And it’s true-none of us can claim that our lives are completely cruelty free because if we ride in a vehicle with tires or even just walk on grass or eat conventional produce, we’re killing someone or using some animal product but we should always strive to do the least harm and most good, whenever we have any say or control over the matter. I do not support your decision to eat cheese. There, I’ve spoken my peace.

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