Can you eat meat and be a vegan?

DietandNutrition_2015Oct13_AIt sounds like a trick, right? There’s no way a person can eat animal products and still consider themselves a vegan, or is there? The answer is no, unsurprisingly enough, but that hasn’t stopped dieters from embracing a cheating vegan or “chegan” approach, where meat and animal byproducts such as eggs and milk are mixed into a normal vegan diet. You might even be surprised by just who is a practicing chegan.

When pop icon Beyonce recently announced she was a vegan but still enjoyed meat from time to time, there was a backlash from vegans around the world who claimed this as heresy. In fairness, they are totally right. There is only one rule to being a vegan – not eating any animal product or byproduct – and if you can’t follow it you probably shouldn’t go around proclaiming yourself as one.

But challenges to logic aside, Beyonce is actually just one of a growing number of people practicing this cheating vegan, or chegan, fad. You’ll probably recognize some of the more notable names who practice this diet; famous chegans include Venus Williams, Jared Leto, J.J. Redick, and even former US president Bill Clinton.

You’re probably wondering just what the point of a chegan diet is. Many people are of the mindset that, when it comes to dieting, you should either get on the horse completely or not do it at all. However, that almost always leads to a diet starting strongly, only to flame out shortly thereafter. That’s why this diet trend is starting to pick up steam.

Being a chegan before you turn completely vegan gives you time to better understand just what it takes to cut out meat and animal byproducts from your diet completely. You’ll also learn what the dieting process takes on a daily basis, as well as getting to know many of the recipes and food alternatives available to you. It is almost like the dieting equivalent of studying for an exam.

Being chegan also doesn’t force you to give up your favorite foods forever. One of the biggest drawbacks of the all-or-nothing vegan approach is that it leads you to the depressing end realization that you won’t be able enjoy a nice cut of steak or bowl of ice cream ever again. The chegan diet is less likely to result in a binge-eating session because you’ve deprived yourself of the food you love or have craved for an extended period of time.

There are actually a few different types of cheganism you can practice. One popular chegan fad is the Vegan Before 6 (VB6) plan that requires you to eat vegan before 6pm and lets you open your diet up to anything after that. Another notable chegan method is to set aside a certain number of vegan days each week; for 3-5 days you go full vegan, and the other days are left open.

However, the most practical way to utilize a chegan diet is to be vegan when it’s convenient. The reality is, that even in today’s world of increased vegan awareness, for many of us it takes too much time and effort to do it 24/7/365. Not only that, but it can be easy to annoy your friends and family with your restrictive dietary needs.

Instead of constantly fretting about what you can and can’t eat on a near-hourly basis, a chegan diet offers a more relaxed approach to a traditional vegan plan. You won’t have to turn down office cupcakes, meals from family, or dinner with friends because they don’t mesh with your strict dietary requirements.

You’ll have the flexibility to plan your vegan meals in advance and then go with the flow at other times. As time progresses, you will probably see yourself increasingly phasing out animal products as you become more comfortable with veganism.

Want to try a new diet but don’t know which one is right for you? Contact one of our nutritionists today for advice on how you can eat better.

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