Vague-an: (n) A vague vegan. This is how I’ve come to describe my dietary preferences. I used to think I couldn’t marry a man who didn’t appreciate a medium rare New York Strip. Now I find myself at parties discussing the differences between tempeh and processed soy. How did this happen? I’m a 20-something asking questions, exploring my options, and taking control of my health. That’s what happened. Here are the struggles of a vague-an:
1. The pressure to choose a side.
Being vegan comes with a hardcore reputation. Once this term is introduced, you are grouped with PETA protestors and argumentative hippies. People who don’t understand your loosey goosey vague-an rules will group you into this category based on a stale stereotype. But try and tell a hardcore vegan that the seductive smell of cheese makes you cave every now and then. Yeah…not going to fly. YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US.
2. The price of organic strawberries essentially cancels out the money you are trying to save in health care.
Sure your immune system will be a force to be reckoned with. It better be- you sold your soul to Whole Foods. Wait, what about Trader Joes? They have reasonably priced almond butter, right? #ThatLineTho
3. The Night Ham Effect.
This one requires a bit of personal anecdote indulgence, so bear with me. Every budding vague-an has a guru. Mine happens to be my best friend from high school. We always had a joke that if we were hungry, I would crave a scone and she would go for a roast beef sandwich. Homegirl loved her deli meats. Her transition started the summer before our junior year of college. She called it “The Vegan Challenge” and would go from week to month long periods at a time experimenting with kale and quinoa. But if she had enough Bud Lights at a house party, the likelihood of finding her hunched over a turkey carcass in the kitchen corner late into the night, was high. If we were getting crunk in the comfort of her home, she could be found in the soft light of the refrigerator with ham hanging out of her mouth. Night ham happens. As we transition from our carnivorous ways into our new enlightened identities, temptation can strike when our decision making skills are inhibited. Your best defense in these situations will be the girl you converted to the vague-an cause in line for the keg. This beautiful individual will recognize you don’t, in fact, want to suffer from the dreaded Meat Sweats and wallow in regret…and hopefully close the fridge in your inebriated face.
4. Your body will put you in check the minute you cheat.
Congratulations! You made it a full five days without harming an animal or eating processed crap. Your poops are as reliable as your local bodega and everything is right in the world. One little cookie won’t hurt, right? And maybe an egg sandwich for dinner because you got home late from work and it’s literally the last egg in your fridge. Can’t waste a perfectly cheap ‘n easy meal! Welp, hope you have some Metamucil on deck because your body can and will give you the silent treatment for messing with its new groove. Think about it.
5. Public food choices with acquaintances.
Let’s say you are out to dinner with co-workers, or your significant other’s family. “Hey guys,” the sadistic jerk of the group says, “why don’t we get a bunch of things off the menu to split?” Now, when you want to make sure you have a few options, you are exposed for what you really are. Even if you make it past the ordering stage, someone at that table is going to insist you try their chili rubbed pork because their limited creative abilities can only describe it as “heaven in my mouth.” You try to politely decline and mumble something about trying to eat right. Suddenly the questions come in like wrecking balls. “You don’t think we were born to eat meat?” “Do you do it for the animals?” “I don’t get why vegans feel the need to make fake meat.” A slow, thick bead of sweat forms right between the boobs. You don’t have your facts on deck just yet because after all, you are only a vague-an.