The Cheating Vegan: Defined

Veganism (n.) the practice of abstaining from and adopting a philosophy against the use and consumption of animal products.
I remember in 7th grade someone asked me if I was a prep or a guido. I looked down at my New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) sweatshirt (don’t judge, it was the late 80s) and thought, are those my only two options?
I guess I’ve never been much for labels. And as you get older, the labels just get more pretentious. Are you a vegetarian or a vegan? An ovo-lacto vegetarian? A pescatarian perhaps? How about just a plain old carnivore.
I was a vegetarian off and on throughout college and then I moved to Europe where vegetarian meant not eating red meat. I went with it. I did a stint as a strict vegan: no eggs, no diary, no honey (I never quite figured out what the whole honey deal was though). I’ve learned by trial and error. Truly more error than trial.
Like the time I went in search of non-diary creamer for my sacred cup of morning coffee. Let me say here—for all you soy consumers—that I am a big fan of soy. Beans, milk, sauce. Healthy, animal-friendly. What’s not to like? So, I thought, soy creamer—awesome. With high hopes, I put on a fresh pot, poured in the milk-like substance and…it tasted like a sock.
Do your homework. Make informed decisions. Know what is best for YOU. You don’t have to justify your choices to anyone. I ate milk chocolate today after buying soy milk. I own leather boots but don’t have a mink stole–mostly because I don’t know where I would ever wear a mink stole but also because fur just seems more animal-y to me than leather. It is not.
So, maybe I am a cheating vegan. Or not even a vegan at all. But I have learned that I need to be making better choices for my body and they don’t have to be the same ones you are making for yours.
Who am I to judge? I liked NKOTB. I clearly don’t get a vote.