I’m planning to do these Vegan Q&A posts on Mondays, answering questions from my followers as well as questions I hear regularly from family and friends. You can post your questions in the comments below, or PM me at the Orthodox and Vegan Facebook page!
Today I’m addressing a question I’ve been asked several times: “Do you ever have a cheat day?” By this, people are asking if I occasionally make the conscious decision to eat foods that aren’t vegan (meat, eggs, dairy).
Short answer: No.
I think people usually assume I’m vegan strictly for dietary reasons (which might explain why they’re shocked to see me eating, for example, a bag of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos…). On a diet, it’s normal to treat yourself with a cheat day once in a while; however, I’m not on a diet. I care about my health, but that’s a totally separate issue. Let’s look at the actual definition of veganism, coined by The Vegan Society in 1979:
“A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
For vegans, a cheat day isn’t simply taking a break from a diet – cheat days mean taking a break from an ethical stance. One friend likened it to being asked if she and her spouse ever have a cheat day 😀 (NO!!) More than anything else, a cheat day would make me feel like I’m cheating the animals.
I also have to admit I no longer see animal products as food. I’m like the kid from The Sixth Sense, but I see dead animals. It may not be so simple for others, but my brain automatically classifies animal products as inedible, so there’s no temptation.
What do you think about cheat days? Comment below!