I get messages quite often from people who ate something and then afterwards realized it wasn’t vegan. Usually the people who write me these messages are fairly distraught, and looking for advice on what to do.
“Do I make myself throw up? I feel sick…”
“Has this ever happened to you?”
“I can’t believe I didn’t realize!”
“Am I still vegan?”
My answer is always the same. NO do NOT throw up! Yes it has happened to me, it happens to everyone. Yes you are still vegan!!! If this has ever happened to you, you know that sinking feeling followed by a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. But here is my advice: forget about it.
Take a deep breath, realize your mistake, realize nothing bad has happened, realize you aren’t dead. The world is still turning. You can still call yourself vegan if you want. Nothing has changed. Of course you can learn from this and try not to make the same mistake again. But we live in a non-vegan world, and that means we will never fully know the full extent to which the food we eat is actually “vegan”.
I don’t believe there is such a thing as being 100% vegan. It’s simply not possible. I eat foods that are made in the same factory as non vegan foods. I eat snacks that are made on the same equipment as their non-vegan counterparts. Could they have traces of non-vegan ingredients? I guess so, but I have to eat something! All we can do is try our best, and that means not worrying or beating yourself up over eating something non-vegan.
It has happened to me a few times over the years and when I does I shrug it off. Of course I am mad- but not at myself. I am mad that companies sneak modified milk ingredients into things that shouldn’t have it (lime-flavour corn chips I’m looking at you). I am mad that companies brush hamburger buns with egg wash. I am mad that certain restaurants consider fish sauce a valid ingredients in a “vegetarian option”. But a main value of veganism is compassion, and that extends to yourself as well.
So please, take a deep breath and move on. You are still doing so much good for this world, and a slip up here and there doesn’t mean a thing!
All my love,
This is why you are the best <3
I needed this
Thank you so much for this its really empowering and helps with my strong guilt of eating something that contained milk products like mcdonalds hashbrowns i absolutely love your compassion and love. Much love to you take care.
Yes, its not worth beating yourself up. I’ve become an avid ingredients list reader but, here in Australia, anything under a certain percentage doesnt need to be on the label (weird, huh?), so there’s always that vague doubt. Its best to try and eat very low on the food chain here but accidents do happens. We have a really nice kimchi here but I noticed it has fish sauce in the ingredients even though its stored in the vegan section. The supermarket doesnt care. But on the positive side, it got me into making my own fermented veggies and pickles which are delicious, healthy and addictive.