You may or may not have experienced this. You take a bite of a new food at home or out and about and something doesn’t feel quite right. You check the ingredients and Bam! You’ve messed up and eaten something which isn’t vegan. What do you do?
A great rule of thumb for life which works well here too. As much as you might want to throw up, shout, cry or even throw your dish of surprise non-vegan food across a busy restaurant, (please don’t do this!) the damage is already done. It may be tempting at this point to get angry at yourself or someone else but this really won’t help either.
If a restaurant or café is at fault (I recently had the unpleasant surprise of a very non-vegan latte at Costa) try to stay calm when explaining their error. Moments like these are great opportunities to be good ambassadors for the vegan cause instead of conforming to the negative “angry confrontational vegan” stereotype.
You’re Still a Vegan
Don’t worry, despite slipping up, you’re still a vegan! The Vegan Society defines veganism as “.. a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” The key word here is practicable. Veganism is a constant practice, not something we can master and then move on from. One slip up doesn’t mean that you’re no longer a vegtan or your months or years of abstaining from animal products has gone to waste.
Confession time. A few months back, I saw a wave of posts on social media celebrating a certain supermarkets doughnuts being vegan. “Great!” I thought. “All supermarket doughnuts are vegan!” (big mistake) The next time I was food shopping I gleefully picked up a bag of jam doughnuts and joyously scoffed them down when I got home. (I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth)
Fast forward a couple of weeks, I was reaching for a sugary doughnut fix when a vegan friend said “Will, these definitely aren’t vegan!” I’d been living a lie. Did I feel ashamed and like a right royal plonker? Absolutely. Am I still a vegan? Of course. I’ve learned my lessons and moved on, I’ve now even told the whole internet about my mistake so I no longer feel ashamed!
Keep Calm and Carry On
Every failure contains within it the seed of success. Chances are, if you’ve slipped up with your veganism there’s a lesson you can learn to prevent it from happening again. Take my doughnut story, what’s my lesson? Don’t believe everything you see on Instagram and not all doughnuts are created equal.
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How about the sneaky suprise latte? Whilst this one wasn’t my fault, what I eat and drink is certainly my responsibility. Now, when I’m out and about, I make doubly sure to make sure that my request for vegan food and drink has been heard and understood. Fingers crossed, it keeps working for me!
I hope this blog helps you avoid the same mistakes as me! Have you ever been caught out or slipped up? Leave a comment below!