Like me on Facebook for updates on delicious recipes!  

Diet is not Religion

Pin It!

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

Please don’t ever apologize for eating a cupcake, a Twinkie, a non-vegan food, or any other morsel that happens to categorize you as “straying” from whatever diet you’ve chosen.

Guilt is present in so many areas of our lives. We feel guilty when we spend too much on a shopping trip, guilty when we have to say no to a friend’s request, guilty when we end a relationship. Why, then, are we adding to this by associating food with guilt as well? Food ought to be a source of enjoyment, of comfort. Who doesn’t have fond childhood memories in association with food: making Christmas cookies with Grandma, digging into an enormous slice of homemade birthday cake, or eating dessert for dinner? (Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who did this!)

Kids know how to truly enjoy life! But all too often, adults say, “Oh, I was bad” or “Oh I shouldn’t.” Sundaes are called “sinful” and brownies are deemed “diet derailers.” I’m not saying one should eat these foods every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  But I do believe there is a place for treats in a healthy diet. The problem is that many people are trained to see everything as “black and white.”


If you’re interested in a novel of a post, I wrote more here: Orthorexia: The new Eating Disorder. But for now, I want to switch gears and zero in on a particular sub-topic:

Eating a “perfect” vegan diet.

People often send me emails, lamenting the fact that they could never be a “perfect” vegan. But there is no such thing!

I am not a perfect vegan. Even the so-called “vegan police” (those who point fingers at others, saying their efforts aren’t good enough) do not live 100% cruelty-free lives. The fact of the matter is that it’s impossible to live your life and not step on anyone else’s toes. There’s gelatin in book bindings, slavery involved with the chocolate trade, and some animals are even killed in the production of veggies when they run under the tractors. What I’m trying to say is that one shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling like his or her diet (or any aspect of his or her life) isn’t “cruelty-free” enough; we’re all just doing the best that we can in this life. Unfortunately, if one tries to bite off more than he or she can chew (pun intended), one runs the risk of burning out and giving up on doing anything!

There’s also something to be said for part-time vegans or vegetarians (a.k.a. flexitarians). Truth be told, the plethora of vegan items available in mainstream stores today is mostly thanks to these people. There just aren’t enough vegans in the world (yet!) to provide the amount of demand to get, say, Silk Soymilk at Wal-Mart or Almond Breeze at Costco. But with the help of flexitarians, one can now find non-dairy ice creams, mock meats, Larabars, and other vegan goodies outside of Whole Foods.

Even if you’re not ready now–or ever–to give up meat, you can still make a huge difference. Every little bit helps, and sometimes people are more-willing to believe ot trust omnivores than vegans when it comes to product recommendations. For example, if I tried to pass off my 5-Minute Chocolate Mousse to my relatives, they would balk, saying “Oh of course the crazy vegan thinks this is good; she hasn’t had the real thing in years!”

But if my meat-eating dad were to give them a taste, chances are they’d be more receptive. It’s one of the reasons I don’t fret over honey, nor do I beat myself up for eating a food that may contain traces of milk. Some might call me a hypocrite, but I feel I’d just turn more people off to the diet if they saw me scrutinizing every label for hours on end, trying to decipher if “natural flavors” in a certain product are animal-derived. (I’m unsure where I stand on the “veganism and honey” issue. More bugs probably die in the making of my organic kale or broccoli! I don’t go out of my way to eat foods with honey, but I also won’t flip out if I happen to consume it accidentally.)

No matter what you are or aren’t able to do, feel proud of yourself for even wanting to make a difference in this world. I believe that if everyone does as much as he or she feels comfortable doing, the world will slowly become a better place. When I first learned about factory farming, I struggled with the whole “I’m just one person; my not eating meat won’t make a difference at all. No one will even notice” thing. But if you think about it, all the “one persons” add up. If everyone said that he or she were only one person and no one would notice if he or she made an effort to help change the world, then nothing would ever change. Alone, we’re just one person, but when we all come together, we make a huge group, and every one person counts! Plus, you never know who else you’ll inspire. It’s the domino effect.

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Krystina says:

    Wonderful, wonderful post. I had an experience where I felt guilty over not being 100% vegan. I went out for sushi and ordered vegetable tempura as an appetizer without realizing that the batter probably contained eggs and/or dairy until afterward. I beat myself up about it for a bit until I realized that there’s nothing I can do to change what happened, so all I can do is move forward and not make the same mistake twice. No one is perfect.

    1. The Vegan! says:

      Almost the same thing with me. I made split pea burgers with panko bread crumbs as the binding factor and after having most of them realized that the panko had butter in them. I was semi disgusted that i had been eating butter, and felt like I had “failed” at being vegan. But it doesn’t matter! What happened happened, and now I know to check panko for butter. Like you said — just move on forward.

  2. Ilana says:

    Oh Katie. You ask to hear my thoughts? You said it all.
    People are quick to throw out the “hypocrite” label but everybody is a hypocrite. Human beings are naturally little balls of walking contradiction and it’s all because we so frequently set up these rigid guidelines by which we feel like we have to live for the sake of, I don’t know, balance, sanity. I don’t like living my life in a box, so I don’t. I don’t worry myself over the fact that I wear leather shoes or that my chocolate might have trace dairy…Life is too long and too dynamic and too huge to try to fit it all into chains and four sides and rigidity.
    Fantastic post, my friend.

    1. Ilana says:

      Ps- my honeydew got jealous of your honeydew so you’ll have a hugged fruit from me coming very soon!!

      1. Oooh Mr. honeydew is excited he’s going to get a friend :)!
        (Yes, he told me so. I have the gift of being able to talk to honeydew. Not the coolest gift. But hey, Harry Potter already took that one ;).)

  3. Angelina says:

    Very well said. I have been trying to move towards veganism this year. My struggles include a history of disordered eating thoughts, eating out at restaurants and family gatherings. I’m afraid if I cut out certain foods, then I’ll move back into the restrictive mentality that I fought so hard to get over. I live in a small town in Michigan where the meatless options are extremely limited and often pretty bland. When I’m at a family get together, usually everything except the fruit and veggie trays have some sort of animal product lurking in them. I try not to beat myself up, but it’s hard sometimes because I really want to live as cruelty-free as possible.

    1. struggling says:

      Oh Angelina, I feel the same way! I want to be a vegan, but I also have to make sure my motives are for the animals. I get caught up sometimes in the fact that the vegan diet (if I do it perfectly) makes me feel “pure” and “good” when really one’s diet doesn’t make one a good person or not. I have to ask myself, before I get restrictive, if it’s the best thing for me. I love animals, but if I’m not taking care of myself, who will be there to take care of them?
      Thanks so much for your honesty. It helped me to be honest too!

    2. Me too says:

      I have a history of disordered eating, too — and I noticed that the first three times I tried to transition from vegetarianism to veganism that the same “feeling” in my brain resurfaced — it felt to me very similar to the psychological/mental feel of my former eating disorder. I spaced out the my attempts to switch to veganism by several years apart each time, but the feeling came back each time, so I would decide for the sake of my own health just to stick with vegetarianism.

      Recently, though, I had a major shift. I was told by a doctor to cut out gluten, dairy, and sugar, and it felt like some of the worst news I could be given (of course, it’s not — but I felt incredibly distressed, deprived, and upset). So, I decided to try to re-orient my perspective and that made all the difference. I found awesome websites like this one and started to get really excited about the gluten-free/dairy-free/sugar-free food I could learn to make, and in that new place of focus, I stopped thinking about the foods I couldn’t have. I was so excited about the new foods I was learning about on blogs that I couldn’t wait to try them out. My food change became about excitement and improvement in my quality of life — rather than about deprivation and determination.

      It’s been a month or two now since I’ve been on this new diet, and the eating disordered feeling hasn’t shown up at all. It might also help that I’m approaching it in less of a black-and-white way; I do allow myself to eat a little gluten/dairy/sugar sometimes. But I think the change in perspective (expansion vs restriction) really was what made the difference for me.

      I’m also taking my own food to events whenever possible so that I can eat and enjoy my own yummy stuff and not need to consider what else might or might not be available there for me to eat.

  4. She-Fit says:

    WOW! Great post. I really do think most people see a diet in black and white… which is why they are so unsuccessful. People need to find that balance

  5. Eric Jaffa says:

    “Orthorexia Nervosa” is a bogus term from a book by a doctor making fun of people for trying to eat healthy.

    The idea is that placing health above taste means one is mentally ill.

    One could argue the opposite (Indulgence-rexia?), if trying to compare the importance taste vs. health to someone made sense, which it doesn’t.

    “Orthorexia Nervosa” isn’t an official term. It’s not in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, and shouldn’t be.

    1. struggling says:

      I disagree with you 100%. As someone who struggles with orthorexia every single day, I can tell you that it IS NOT BOGUS. It is just as dangerous as anorexia or bulimia. The idea of orthorexia is not as you say to “place health above taste.” It is when the obsession with bbeing healthy becomes UNhealthy. Have you read Katie’s post about it that she links to? It’s really a great explanatory post for people who don’t understand the disease people like me deal with.

      1. Been there done that, where's my T-shirt? says:

        I agree about Orthorexia being a true disorder, in fact I KNOW it to be a true disorder! I have anorexia nervosa and I’ve been INPATIENT (yes, in the HOSPITAL) on specialized eating disorder units, with people diagnosed (from a psychiatrist specialzing in eating disorders) with orthorexia nervosa … these individuals were JUST as ill as those with anorexia and/or bulimia!

  6. Serena says:

    Awesome post. I totally agree. I’m 99.99999% vegan at the moment (eat honey) but I couldn’t say I wouldn’t eat goat’s cheese if I go to Paris again. . . also I am not “angry” at people who aren’t vegan. I don’t think that’s a good way to be. . .

    1. Serena,
      Here here! Honestly, many non-vegans I know are WAY better people than I am. I can only hope to someday to be 1/2 as wonderful, kind, and compassionate as they are. (My mom, for example) :).

  7. I’m so glad you wrote this post – I’ve recently bcome vegan, and sometimes I feel I’m not ‘perfect’ enough (a reader on my blog often points out my mistakes, ie the cereal I was eating uses white sugar…) – but I really CAN’T be a perfect vegan – I can’t afford to buy only non-mainstream cereals or bypass everything that ‘might’ have a trace of milk or use white sugar, it’s just not possible in my current life. So it’s gfreat to hear that IT’S OK!!! Thank you 😉

    1. Ilana says:

      it’s always okay! just because a blog reader of yours is too busy picking at other people’s “mistakes” to notice their own doesn’t mean it’s not okay! there is absolutely no such thing as “perfect.” you do the best you can for you, and that’s all that matters.

    2. Wow, tell the reader on your blog that he/she shouldn’t cast stones unless HIS/HER diet is perfect (which, btw, isn’t the case because there’s no such thing as the perfect diet!).

  8. Wonderful post Katie! You made some great points. :)

  9. Rachel says:

    This is a wonderful post, one that should be shown to A LOT of people! Vegans/vegetarians have become negatively stereotyped, but you do have a point that it’s thanks to flexitarians that more vegan-friendly items have become mainstream.

    I’m working towards a vegetarian (and eventually vegan) lifestyle, but granted, orthorexia should be taken into consideration. I disagree with one of your earlier commentors: orthorexia is not officially considered an ED, but it’s as dangerous as one. There’s nothing wrong with eating healthily (that should be everyone’s aim) but orthorexia means spending every minute of the day fretting about only eating “pure”, and restricting as a result. I am currently in recovery from an ED, and can tell you that orthorexia (or at least the obsession with “healthy” eating) is one of the well-disguised traps I’ve fallen into.

    Anyway, thanks for reminding everyone what the true aim of vegetarians should be: to do the best we can to prevent cruelty, in any way we can. No need for self-flagellation!

  10. Jennifer says:

    I think this is a great point. I can’t quite get over the hump into full-on veganism… not so much because of cravings but because I feel GUILTY “imposing” on family and fearing judgement. I therefore eat vegan 90% of the time and the rest of the time I’m just meat-free. I still feel GUILTY about it but by continuing to label myself a vegetarian it somehow makes me feel better – at least I’m not being a hypocrite!

    We’re in a society that trains us to feel guilty about food. Even if I hadn’t learned it from the media and friends and family, just going to the grocery store would teach it to me – if there are three options – “regular,” low-fat, and no-fat, even if I want the regular version I’m going to wonder why I’m not getting one of the others, what the difference is, which is better. It’s sad really but it’s a day-to-day struggle. I feel guilty about my food on a regular basis but I deal with it the best I can (I have a very supportive husband!) and do what I can. That’s all we can do.

    PS. Did you see The Voracious Vegan’s post from yesterday? She was talking about this too. Also, if you look at my post from yesterday you may understand my difficulty in becoming a true vegan.

    1. Thanks Jennifer! I just read her post now. As I told her: WOW it was so terrifically-written!

  11. Great post Katie and we totally agree. We have dealt with those “vegan police” people, and it has made us stop calling ourselves vegan. We eat to feel good. We eat to heal our bodies. We eat because we love food. We do not eat because we want to fit into some category or something. I hate when people give others a hard time about their diets (we get it all the time), and who is to say what way of eating is better. Vegan or not, people really need to learn to respect others more, and be more open minded.

    Oh gosh I better stop there or I will be leaving you a really long comment.

    1. Oh but I love long comments :). Especially when they’re as well-written as yours. Maybe we should just stop using labels. And vegans need to remember that compassion must extend to PEOPLE as well as animals. After all, people ARE animals!

    2. Katrina says:

      Wow, I love this post. SO well written!

  12. Mitri says:

    Fantastic viewpoint. :) When I was vegan, I was more like you in that I avoided the “big stuff” (e.g., obvious dairy products and meat), but I was more lenient if a certain granola bar contained honey or a trace of milk. Unfortunately, my veganism became convoluted with disordered eating, so I decided to challenge myself to eat all the things I restricted. In the end I found I much prefer to eat vegan foods, but I maintain a degree of flexibility just in case my grandma cooks something for me that is not vegan. I had never thought about how “flexitarians” really do drive the market for vegan goods. Everyone is playing a role, perhaps, in their own way. 😀

    1. Mitri,
      Kudos to you for your awesome attitude! :)
      Your “in case my grandma cooks something for me that is not vegan” note struck a chord with me. When I was in high school, my mom once made me chocolate chip cookies. She was SO proud that they were vegan–made with dark chocolate chips and all. I looked at the chip bag, and even though they were dark chocolate, they weren’t vegan. But I never told her. ‘Cause I was so grateful for her effort and kindness :).

  13. Hela says:

    great post, katie.
    i totally agree to everything you wrote here.
    this is exactly how i keep it with my diet and i am so happy with it :)

  14. Yes Katie! That is exactly what food is! Life is short, so why waste time eating things you don’t like, or fretting over counting calories… Who cares if you eat a little something indulgent? You will love it as long as you cherish it and enjoy it!

    I think the key is to love everything you eat, and cherish everything. Same thing goes with life in general-CHERISH IT!

  15. Faith says:

    This is so true. I have to be honest, I’m not a vegetarian (high-vegan, but not entirely so) because of only ethical reasons. Yes, they come into play, but the driving factors of my decision were more motivated by health and feeling stronger/my best when I don’t bog my system down with animal products. Isn’t that what life is all about – working to feel your best? Regardless of what you choose to eat (or, conversely, not eat?)

    1. Michelle says:

      I’m like you Faith – my diet is more driven by health and noticing how different foods impact my mood and energy than ethical/animal rights reasons (not that I go around praising factory farming or anything). I find that eating a mostly vegan diet makes me feel good and why would I eat in a way that saps my energy or negatively impacts my moods?

      Great post CCK!

  16. Stefanie says:

    Another great post. I try to adhere to a vegan diet as much as possible but you never can. There can be traces of milk/eggs in anything you eat. When I first went vegan I would beat myself up for accidently eating something that wasn’t vegan but you live and learn. Like you said, all you can do is try your best.

    Thank you! :)

  17. Kittie says:

    Great post! I find that the hardest place for me to be cruelty free is with cosmetics and hygiene products. I check into the companies but sometimes I buy without researching. I can’t have my laptop at walmart! [Unless I got an iPhone…I bet there’s an app for that ;)] And anyways, WALMART isn’t cruelty free. Oh, the conflict!

  18. MaryZ says:

    Love this post…I use to think in the black and white about my diet. It has taken me about a year to realize I don’t want to be a full time vegan or vegetarian. I was struggling to go vegetarian because so many of my friends and family were labeling me as one since my animal product consumption was very little. But then I found I was ‘failing’ because I still wanted that burger on occasion. So, I took the label off of myself and just eat what I crave. I crave mostly veggies, fruit and grains…and on the rare occasion I want a burger, chicken or some other yummy creation, I enjoy it! Thanks Katie!

  19. Thanks for putting this into words for everyone. I think it’s always great to point out that not all vegans are police. Most of us are normal, happy people who understand that life happens; sometimes people slip up or just make different decisions from the ones they used to make, and that’s okay.

    I totally agree with you on the way people interpret a food recommendation from a vegan. I know that my taste buds have changed a lot in the last 3 1/2 years, but I still feel like I can recommend good food. Yet, for some reason, the recommendation from my boyfriend who routinely eats Krystal burgers is worth more to a lot of people. I mean, really? He eats Krystal burgers! He obviously doesn’t know good food 😛

    1. Hahahahaha oh your comment made me laugh… sadly because it’s so true! I mean, you’d rather take foodie advice from someone who thinks McDonalds is gourmet than me? Oh the insult! 😉

  20. kaila says:

    what a great and insightful post! i believe that peoples diets should be based on what works for them… not what society guilt us into, what our friends and family belives in, but what fits with our values, beliefs, and needs as individuals.
    Keep up the great posts.


  21. Lisa says:

    Thank you so much Katie for this post! I feel like it was written just for me! :)

  22. Kiersten says:

    Great post Katie, I love this. I agree that is ridiculous that people say they’re “being bad” when they eat something like cake or ice cream. I used to be the same way. It’s so bad to do that because it does nothing but make you feel guilty and you don’t get any enjoyment from the food you are “sinning” with. Why bother then?

    I am definitely not a perfect vegan. Some of the hair/beauty products I use aren’t vegan. I try to buy as many vegan things as I can, but sometimes I just can’t afford them. I try to weed out as much non-vegan products I can from my life, but I’m still not 100% there yet. I don’t feel bad about it either, I am doing the best I can and just trying to live within my means.

    1. I hear you on the expensive thing. I looooove Urban Decay, but the fact of the matter is that I just can’t afford to buy ONLY Urban Decay products. And the cheaper companies don’t label their products as being “vegan” or not. So I try to do the best I can, making sure to at least buy non-tested products, and I’ll splurge when I can on the UD stuff.

  23. Eric Jaffa says:

    The term “orthorexia” was coined by Steven Bratman, MD whose criteria are:
    “Do you care more about the virtue of what you eat than the pleasure you receive from eating it?… Does your diet socially isolate you?”

    His criteria aren’t the same as a couple of other Commenters used, those being respectively trying-so-hard-to-eat-healthy-that-one-eats-unhealthy or thinking-about-healthy-food-every-minute.

    Most dieters can say yes to Bratman’s to the first question.

    Most vegans can say yes to Bratman’s second question.

    Therefore, most vegans-who-are-dieting would qualify as mentally ill under Bratman’s criteria.

  24. love this post! it helped me understand your stance on veganism much more deeply. as a non-vegan (i’m grain/dairy free but eat meat/veg/raw nuts/seeds) i think you are one of the few that conveys your choice to be vegan as a non-restrictive, all encompassing lifestyle. i think many view “going vegan” as some sort of diet but that’s really not what it’s about at all! a takeaway message for everyone of all backgrounds to be kind and compassionate! very thoughtful and insightful post!

    seriously, i can’t tell you how many times i hear “i shouldn’t eat that” or “i’d feel guilty if i had dessert” and honestly, the words come out of my mouth a lot of the time too (and i know i need to fix that!). food is supposed to be something we savor, not scrutinize. if it tastes good, eat it, enjoy it, and move on with your life.
    besides, a cookie or two never hurt anyone 😉

  26. katie says:

    well said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! gosh i luv u!

  27. erinsloves says:

    I definately deal with guilt that comes from food EVERY day. My guilt is not caused from being a vegetarian/vegan, but from either the amount of food I eat sometimes or how I feel physically after eating certain things. I actually just talked about this on my post.
    But anyways, great post as always (: and you are so lovely!!!!

  28. Daniel says:

    Awesome post! I wrote a nice “essay” post on guilt as well and I also recently wrote one about the gray areas in life and not focusing so much on black and white. You combined so much into a nice little post, I like it immensely! Too many of us (myself included) strive for the “perfect” diet and in the end… are we any better or healthier if we’re spending all of our time letting it control us or creating more stress in our lives?

    Do what works best for you !

  29. What a great post! So many people have an all or nothing approach to veganism or vegetarianism. Every little bit counts! I love when you mentioned showing compassion for yourself is part of veganism too. There is no reason to change yourself to fit a label. Eating should be something that nourishes more than just your body.

  30. Justine says:

    I have been considering becoming a vegan for some time now, but could never think to give up my beloved yogurt. Sure I enjoy milk, cheese, and butter but I don’t eat them often enough to where I would miss them too much. (I don’t even know why honey is an issue for vegans, is it because of the bees or something? Also, my family thinks I am strange enough for ‘the things I do/don’t eat’ that if I scratched even more things off the list for the sake of animals then they would just send me to the nutter-house. I have always been struck with the initial thought that I won’t make a difference, but then I do remember that there are so many others out there that are thinking the same thing, and that always puts me back into my happy place. It is a terrible thing that we now have people cutting out so much of their diet because of how animals, etc…are treated nowadays, but it reminds me that the world isn’t full of heartless people.

    Also, I don’t know if it is just where you live or if you were just trying to make a point, but even at the ‘smaller’ (ha) Walmarts, there is soymilk and other vegan products, at least in my city.

    Thank you so much for the post! As always it was fun, informative, and very truthful. :)
    I’m off to work on a Sundae post! Have a fantastic weekend!

  31. BroccoliHut says:

    Great commentary on a phenomenon that is becoming all too common in our culture. As a future nutritionist, I hope to combat the notion that anything that tastes good must be “sinful” or prohibited in some way. No diet is perfect, nor should it be–food is meant to be enjoyed.

  32. AWESOME post! I’ve been vegetarian for almost two years now, but sometimes I do need some marshmallows, gummy bears, and jell-o in my life! There shouldn’t be fine line between what is or is not the “right diet” for you.

    1. Melissa says:

      This is not to police you, just to help!

      They make veg jello, marshmallows AND gummy bears! I was super excited to find all three. 😀 There are multiple veg marshmallow makers now and they are all SO AMAZING. Yummy yum yum.

      Sweet and Sara makes the most amazing delicious gourmet marshmallows. Chicago Soydairy makes a vegan version of the more “stay-puf” sort of marshie. Both are sold at Whole Foods (at least in my region). You can also find boxed vegan flavored jello AND cup vegan jello at WFM – and vegan gummies, too. Oh, some varieties of normal gummies are also veg. I love swedish fish and sour patch kids! Gummies were always my favorite candies.

      Or buy here:

      This is just in case you didn’t know and would prefer a veg option. If not, just ignore me! :)

  33. Brilliant! Great vegan minds must think alike, Katie, because I just wrote a similar post on my blog called Veganism: Where Do You Draw the Line.

    I had amazing, thoughtful responses about how to do the best we can to change the world, but not beat ourselves up our forget self-compassion in the process.

  34. Katie says:

    Great ideas, miss Katie. I couldn’t agree more! I know that personally, if I try to be perfect in terms of food consumption, I’m setting myself up for a lot of frustration, and it usually takes all the joy out of eating for me!! I eat a lot of vegan foods, but I also eat meat on occasion. It works for me, and I think if I told myself “no meat” – I COULD do it, but it would just feel like a self-imposed, reasonless rule that I was holding myself too. Great post!

  35. Tanya says:

    What a great post! This stuff goes through my mind everyday. And I don’t like to label myself as vegan because “what if I make a mistake? What if I eat something with honey? What if one of my pre-vegan days shoes has some leather in it?, etc…..” I seriously ask myself these questions everyday and think I’m a bad vegan. BUT…..I’m trying not to call myself vegan….I think it makes me feel better, or, less guilty for when mistakes happen. Is that wrong?

    My husband would love your post…..he always thinks I TRY to be way too strict and therefore, unhappy because I can’t live up to my own expectations.

    Thanks for making me feel better :)

  36. Saraishealthy says:

    This post resonated with me on so many levels. I’m not a complete vegan, but I am a vegetarian. And people have told me that I’m a hypocrite because “what about the dairy animals and veal calves and treatment of chickens?”
    I have to remind myself that I am doing as much as I can and that’s good enough and I should be proud of it. Especially given my history with disordered eating, I shouldn’t bite off too much or I’ll spiral into a place I don’t want to go. And then I wouldn’t be helping anyone!

    I do have a question for you, and it’s just a curiosity question! In the eight (I think you said eight) years you’ve been vegan, have you ever KNOWINGLY eaten a meat or dairy product, either by accident or choice? I know you said you sometimes eat things that might have trace animal products, but I was wondering about things that have more than just trace amounts. Just curious! :)

  37. Michal says:

    Katie, I love this post. This is one thing that I stress to people who are considering following or adopting a veg lifestyle. There is no such thing as perfect, in ANYTHING. You can chase perfection but it will never be obtained. I am also flexible with honey (while i wont go buy a jar, I do enjoy chai lattes!) and to be quite frank if i didnt buy products that had traces of milk or honey and things like that i dont know exactly what i would eat. Thanks for beinging this up! :)

  38. mapledreams says:

    Your words are so wise! xx

  39. Jessica says:

    I love this post. As someone who just became vegetarian in the past couple of months, I’ve struggled with questions around whether my diet is not good enough because I still eat animal products. I did trade cow’s milk for soy milk, but I haven’t given up cheese and there is gelatin in my vitamins. I’ve had these conversations with people as I’ve struggled to defend my choice to become vegetarian while others point out that there is leather in my shoes and on my purse.

    I strongly believe that any change can make a difference, and your post is a great reminder of that fact. I think that as a consumer, we vote with our money, and I know that by supporting veg products, I CAN have an impact on the market.

  40. This is a fabulous post Katie!! I can relate to so much of what you are saying–especially thinking of foods as either “good” or “bad”. I can also relate to all the guilt when I feel like I have eaten a “bad” food. God has brought me a long way though and I am enjoying things that I wouldn’t have touched several years ago 😉 I love your aprouch to food and eating!

  41. jen says:

    Oh dear, what a lot of self-congratulatory rubbish. If you are vegan, you are so for either health or moral reasons. For the latter, diet IS a religion to some people; the reason they are on the vegan “diet” is because they are prompted by their MORALS. Your moral compass IS your religion if you do not subscribe to traditional Gods. Also, someone above snipes at Whole Foods as “hippie” – well I have not read such a lot of hippie free-love, let’s all get under the “cut yourself some slack” umbrella for a long while. No-one can actually live cruelty-free in the Western world, no matter how hard they try, granted; but to be a vegan for moral reasons and fall off that wagon for the sake of a chocolate bar or whatever is lazy. “I am not sure what is in this, it might be OK, but it might not. I will just eat it” = no self-control. You are not literally starving in the TRUE sense of the word, so put it down and wait until you find something that IS vegan.

    1. Faith says:

      Wow Jenny, how wonderful to be perfect. Share your secrets?

  42. Rachael says:

    Thank you for this post. A couple of thoughts:
    I want to see words like tempt and sin disappear from America’s food-related jargon. Let’s save big words with loaded meanings for topics more important than cupcakes. A woman’s guilt, if it exists at all, should certainly not exist because of what she ate. How she acts, how she backs up her convictions and lives her life, maybe.
    Food politics, food politics. While I don’t agree completely with the comment right before mine, the statement that no one can live cruelty-free in the Western world strikes me as being pretty dead on. Even vegan diets contribute to such things a deforestation (to make room for soy crops, palm oil and some of the other ingredients common in vegan foods) and depending on the store we choose to shop from, odds are we’re contributing to some sort of societal ill – environment degradation, poor labor practices, child labor, unfair prices for farmers, corporate greed, etc.. Unless you have the privilege and ability to live off the grid and grow all your own stuff, it’s impossible not to tread on something, somewhere. I think it’s important to avoid extremism when it comes to any diet; if you’re vegan for moral reasons and you “fall of the wagon”, I hardly think that this signifies a lack of a moral compass. What it comes down to is being conscious in all of our food decisions without being maniacal about them, and truly, truly attempting to consider the sources, origins and impacts of the choices we make and where we throw our dollars.
    Off the soapbox I go.

    1. Thanks Rachael! I really appreciated your insightful thoughts. You can step onto your soapbox any time you want! :) :)
      And I completely agree about the words needing to be obliterated from our foodie vocab (although sometimes, due to conditioning from the media, I subconsciously slip up and use these words, myself).

  43. Sandi says:

    This is such a great post. Have you heard of the “meat-free Mondays” campaign? I’m not sure of the details but basically it’s a movement to get people to stop eating meat on Mondays, mainly for environmental reasons I believe. When I first heard that, I thought it was so stupid. “Why don’t they just not eat meat EVERY day?” I’ve gone more than half my life without having meat as a part of my diet, and even as a child I never liked meat, so it seems ridiculous that people feel they “need” meat to be satisfied. But then I realized I was wrong. To a lot of people, going one day without meat is a big deal, and it’s an important first step! I generally go back and forth being 75%-95% vegan, and I’m happy with my diet. Sometimes I feel pressured to eat 100% vegan just to make up for all the people all around me munching on their hamburgers and cheese and whatnot, but I don’t think I should restrict myself beyond what I feel comfortable with as a reaction to what other people are eating.

    1. I didn’t know about a meat free Monday movement! But I did start a Vegan Thursday movement:

      So I’m excited to know someone else is doing something similar :).

  44. Thanks for this great post, Katie! I would never claim to be vegan, but I am intrigued by it, and I love vegan food. I always feel better when I eat vegan, and I love cooking that way. I feel like I’m heading that way little by little, but I don’t even like to talk about it because I’m sure someone will call me out if I happen to be spotted with some cheese or cream in my coffee. I try to remind myself that I don’t need a label, but it’s hard when people ask and I’m not sure how to explain why I don’t want to eat what they have out on their buffet. It gets tricky when you can’t just say, “Oh, I’m vegetarian” or “Oh, I’m vegan.” For now, I just tell them I already ate :)

  45. Miss Rachel says:

    Great points you make here Katie. It always drives me bonkers when people saying they’re “being good” when they eat healthy or “bad” when they don’t – argh.

  46. I liked your post, because even though I am NOT Vegan, I do eat clean. And your post can completely pertain to the way that I eat also. I fall off of the wagon, but get back on with the next meal. And not unlike Veganism, clean products are hard to come by but becoming more common in the marketplace.

    I have an issue with putting chemicals into my body that are government regulated but that we really have no idea what are going to do to us years down the road. Which can sometimes result in becoming OCD about reading labels and such, and guilt if I eat something that isn’t a whole food. I used to beat myself up over that, but not anymore! (or at least I try my best, LOL)

  47. Mara says:

    OHMYGOD, you hit the nail on the head!! Excellent points and well written!

    For me, this is the best post you’ve had so far! And I completely agree. =]

  48. Megan says:

    Awesome post. I have had people criticize me for not eating a perfect diet or eating something I said I don’t eat. Maybe I brought it on myself because I said I “don’t eat” said food but at the same time there is no perfect diet. One meal, one day, one week, etc. is not going to make or break a person. It’s about the whole picture over time.

  49. This post was amazing. I never used to feel guilty about eating something before I found out about my high cholesterol. After that, well.. it’s been a guilt trip.

    I always try to enjoy the foods I eat and never eat something I don’t want to and usually end up being guilt-free but people around me seem to want me to be guilty. Whenever I mention eating something really good (ie. something with cheese which I should eat less) some people want to point out that I’m not eating as I’m supposed to. There is no use in telling that I eat low-fat cheese or that if I don’t eat cheese for 5 days a week I can enjoy a piece of full fat cheese once or twice a week. It’s all about moderation!

    And even if I would eat like I used to and not take care of myself (which I do!) it’s really nobody’s business how, when and what I eat.

    1. Oh Anne, your comment is SO TRUE! Just the other day, my friend (who is on a diet because she’s overweight) was eating an ice cream cone–the ONLY one she’d allowed herself all week. Well, wouldn’t you know, someone had to come up and say, “I thought you were on a diet. Do you really wanna eat that?” It’s NOT their business, and it made my friend feel horrible. I was SO angry!

      1. Melissa says:

        What a JERK!!!

        Did you give them a death glare and tell them to shush?
        I’d have had words for that person, let me tell you!

  50. Thank you for this amazing post Katie!!
    Guilt, and the obsession with eating perfectly only leads to regret, restriction and the eventual binge. We need to work to reshape this relationship with food, so that there is no such thing as a bad food, and we aren’t trapped in this eat-repent-repeat cycle. Food should not be a religion and we definitely shouldn’t have to pay penance for it!
    I just started a new blog called I am Guiltless that is centered around that, self love and positive body image ( if you’re interested). And even though it has only been up for a week I’ve been blown away by the positive response of people reading/hearing about it. We need to keep spreading this message!
    so thank you you beautiful lady!

    1. Ooh I’ll definitely check it out :).

  51. Agreed! Nobody’s perfect in whatever “diet” they choose and there’s always room for flexibility..unless you’re like a level 6 vegan that doesnt eat anything that casts a shadow 😉 Oh, and regarding the part about only eating “right” foods- I used to be like that. Celery, fruit, and carrots used to be staples. But yesterday I had a BIG OLE’ thing of frozen yogurt..and they day before a sundae dessert from a restaurant (my first EVER 😀 ) and felt no guilt. I was actually smiling and laughing too hard to feel any guilt! Food gives us strength and reason to ristrict it and ruin a good time.

  52. Melissa says:

    I’m as vegan as possible. If I’m iffy on an ingredient and I don’t NEED to eat the food (which is common) I won’t. It’s partially due to just not feeling good, emotionally, if I eat animal products but it’s also LARGELY due to feeling physically ill if I eat them! I’m so so sensitive to things now, especially dairy. Even a tiny bit in a food will make me feel like death is a gift. LOL. I don’t like feeling physically ill nor do I enjoy feeling sad/upset, so I’m pretty careful!

    I know I’m not perfect, it’s impossible to 100% vegan in a very non-vegan world! I do, however, feel like vegans should try very hard – as much as practical or possible – to avoid animal products. If you’re routinuely eating gelatin or eggs, or sometimes have some cheese a couple times a month, please don’t call yourself vegan.

    I ask this not due to being the vegan police but simply because you’re making it harder on folks who are truly vegan. We’ve all heard of the people who say “but my friend is a vegetarian and SHE eats chicken.” while being offered a “vegetarian” dish that contains meat. We need to make sure the term “vegan” means something so that we can trust it when we see it on a menu or product, yanno? Also, the folks who eat vegan but use leather, animal tested cosmetics, wool, etc. should be calling themself strict vegetarians or dietary vegans – for similar reasons. It’s not a judgment, it’s a matter of *clarity*.

    I’m not vegan police-y about the beegans who eat honey (honey is one thing I always forget to ask about at restaurants, it doesn’t make me feel sick and I tend to have less of an emotional/ethical issue with it. I feel bad that I am not more viligent.) but I choose to avoid it when I *know* it’s in something.

    If I eat it accidentally a) I won’t notice (no sickies!) and b) don’t feel like a bad person if I DO notice. Honey is the only non-vegan thing I’ve intentionally eaten in the almost seven years I’ve been vegan. I’ve done it four times, all four to make things easier on a host at a meal – they *almost* had it vegan, they just missed honey. To be fair, all noticed it and went “crap! not vegan!” so they won’t do it again. :) Honey is one thing I’ll compromise on, in limited situations. I’ve also been known to eat mono and dyglyerides when offered food by my mom or other ones that are tiny tiny things that can go either way and won’t make me ill. I’m not a ‘sugar’ vegan either. I buy non-bone char sugar for my baking but I’ll eat white sugar that’s not vegan. I drink water that’s filtered that way, so avoiding sugar seems needlessly nitpicky. *waits for vegan police!*

    I won’t compromise on meat, eggs, dairy or things like gelatin though. I’m absolutely diligent about those things and do feel bad if I eat them accidentally. It’s a strong ethical stance, if you break it you feel bad. That’s not like feeling that eating cake on a diet is bad. More like you feel like kicking a puppy is bad. I don’t feel like it’s unhealthy for a vegan to feel bad when they slip up. It wouldn’t make sense if we didn’t! Especially for the longer term vegans, there is a sense of disgust with yourself when you eat animals – especially if you just forgot to check a label, etc.

    Oh, and Katie, FYI. Traces of milk/eggs/nuts/whathaveyou just is related to the machinery. Most vegan places can’t afford their own machinery so they share. Even though they are washed like whoa in between batches, they must label that way for the benefit of the incredibly allergic. I think I’ve only “met” one vegan in all the ones I interact with online/in forums who wouldn’t eat a “may contain traces” thing. They are still vegan and no one jumps on anyone for that. 😉

    1. Great, great insight, Melissa! Wow, you really know your stuff :).
      Oh, and I am right there with you 100% on the honey issue (Why not use agave at home?) AND in feeling gross when I eat non-vegan. I once had a stir fry and later got a SERIOUS tummy ache. Turned out the stir fry had a little bit of yogurt in it. :( :( I guess my body has gotten used to not eating dairy. Hey, that’s ok by me!

      1. Melissa says:

        Wow! Yogurt in stir fry? Who’d even ever think that ask about that?

        As for knowing my stuff, I’m a voracious reader/researcher with very little in the way of a social life. Ha. I get interesting in something and I go all out – learning about it as much as I can. You should hear me talk about rats(!) LOL. I go into lecture mode on rattie stuff, animal behavior, running, veganism … it’s just I’m so excited about these things that I read a lot and then want to share. And bore people!

  53. Jennifer - jcd says:

    GREAT post! Wonderful! I avoid non-vegan things as much as possible but won’t freak out if I accidentally eat dairy or eggs in something. Unless you are allergic to eggs or dairy; traces are fine. Honey happens, but I’ll never buy it to use at home. Sure, dairy will give me a bad stomach ache, but it’s a good reminder for me to always ask about ingredients. Really, the best way to be vegan (or a compaaionate person, for that matter) is to try your best, be reasonable, and never beat yourself up. Katie wrote it so beautifully in her post, there’s no sense in me re-writing my thoughts. I’ll say it again, great post, Katie!

  54. To be honest, I don’t know why there are labels. Food is just one part of life. Wake up and eat, play, live, love,laugh the way you hope to and that is within your capability that day. Food does not define a person.

  55. shesarunner says:

    I’m always so confused when other vegans are so quick to judge people. It doesn’t make sense to me! I’ve met vegan people who are very holier-than-thou and always criticizing others and nitpicking about people who call themselves vegan but still eat trace amounts of this or that. I just want to scream that veganism is about compassion! And they are not being very compassionate towards others at all by being so critical and rude. It really bothers me, because they accuse people of being hypocritical…but aren’t they kind of being hypocritical? Where is their compassion for other human beings? There is no reason to be so judgemental and nasty.

    I think this topic is so important…I have spent my entire life feeling a need to be perfect in every way and I refuse to feel that way about veganism. Like you said, no one lives a truly cruelty free lifestyle, so we all just have to do the best we can. Thanks for this great post!

  56. Lisa says:

    Yay Omnivore Flexitarians!!!!! Thanks Katie, for spreading your words of reason.

  57. Sherri says:

    Thanks for the amazing post.
    I have been doing all I can to be as vegan as possible the last 6 months or so but it’s hard. I have cut out everything except cheese. I do end up with traces of in my food sometimes but it is very difficult to find vegan friendly options here. Plus my husband is not supportive of all ( I wasn’t a vegetarian went we got together), which makes meal time hard. I still make mac and cheese every couple weeks and we will have pizza about once a month. But whenever I can avoid cheese I do.
    Your post made me feel not so guilty about it. Every little bit helps and none of us are prefect. Just mabye some day I will find a good cheese subsitute.

  58. Miss Rachel says:

    Sherri – Have you tried Daiya? It’s a great vegan cheese, but I’m not sure if it’s available “everywhere” yet. I highly recommend it; it’s great on pizza and tortillas.

  59. Great post Katie!

    It is so easy to get caught up in being the ‘perfect’ vegan… on my cross-country move from DC to San Diego, I was not very vegan… I knew that the drive would be hard enough without worrying about where I could find vegan food. We stuck to vegetarian and did our best. I was simply not in the mood to make cooks mad and have something I was scared to eat by requesting anything that was not on the menu.

    Thanks for reminding me of what I already knew… stress is not healthy. Do your best and move on. :)

  60. Kim says:

    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for writing that piece. I sometimes felt like an imposter, daring to subscribe to your blog when I’m not a vegan, or even a very successful vegetarian! But I try and I’ll keep on trying to reduce my impact and try not to feel guilty for not succeeding 100%!

    1. Aw Kim LOL probably at least 70% of the people who read my blog aren’t vegan! And like 99% of the people I know in real life aren’t either! 😉

  61. Marianne says:

    That’s why labels are bad – if you don’t fit into the “standard definition” of the label, someone, somewhere is going to say you aren’t truly representing the label. I realize they make it easy to describe you way of eating to someone who doesn’t know you don’t eat x, y, or z, but at the same time, they force you into a black and white world, which doesn’t exist – there are always shades of grey in everything!

    And a random note – not all white sugar is non-vegan. Not all sugar refineries use bone char in heir operations. So if anyone says that by eating white sugar you aren’t vegan, they are uninformed.

  62. Ally says:

    I totally agree with this post and your general philosophy on food, which is why I was a little surprised by the new heading for this website (“where healthy tastes naughty”). I love your site and am not trying to be critical at all, I just feel like maybe I don’t understand what you mean. “Naughty” to me has a bit of that guilty/sinful connotation, and since I’ve never had the impression that you view certain foods as “naughty”, I’m a little bit confused as to why that’s in the heading? Just wondering if you could set me straight :p. Like I said, I LOVE your blog. You are a fantastic writer and it’s so fun to read a blog that’s witty, articulate, and personable. Keep up the good work :)

    1. Hey Ally,
      Hmmm… yeah, I guess I am kinda a hypocrite with my wording, huh? It’s sometimes hard to express oneself in writing to convey what one truly means! I really don’t mean anything negative by the term “naughty.” I don’t say “where healthy IS naughty,” rather “where it tastes naughty” as in you’ll FEEL devilish when you eat delicious food, but really you are NOT.
      I strive, through ALL my posts, to show people that they can and SHOULD eat the foods they really crave. Every single day. I hope I’m explaining this well… I do not mean to say that you would be naughty if you ate UNhealthy food; all I’m saying is that you’ll THINK you’re being naughty when you eat the recipes on my blog when really you’re not!

    2. Ok, I think I figured out a better way to explain it! I don’t mean “naughty” as in evil. It’s more like as in “r-rated” or sexy! I even thought about saying “healthy is sexy” but LOL I decided it was too risque for a header! 😉

  63. Marie says:

    Though my input is nearly a year late, this seemed interesting in retrospect:
    “There just aren’t enough vegans in the world (yet!) to provide the amount of demand to get, say, Silk Soymilk at Wal-Mart.”
    Nowadays, even Wal-Mart carries Silk soymilk! While I’m not vegan, I love the stuff and even prefer it over cow’s milk. Perhaps some progress has been made on the vegan front, after all. :)

  64. Ande says:

    I really appreciate this post. This really inspired me to keep on with my diet changes, and to live a healthier lifestyle. Being a vegetarian has really helped my health turn around. I now realize, though, that I’m more of a flexitarian… haha. I don’t feel guilty about eating chicken for protein anymore!

    I linked you in my most recent post for my blog readers to take a look at:

    I enjoy your blog so much, and I’m glad you’ve decided to make it your current career!

    1. Aww wow, thank you so much! I don’t have a google/wordpress id, so I can’t comment on your post, but I’m honored by your words :).

  65. Denise says:

    I have pondered this topic so many times! I am a Veggie, though I’m not a super strict veggie, I tend to occasionally eat sushi..confession time lol. I do not eat fish on a regular basis, by any means, nor do I feel it is good or bad to do so, I just can’t kick sushi! Anyways, there are many people out there who would then say: “Well now you’re a ‘Pescetarian'” I am not worried about that, as I work so very hard to maintain a healthy balanced Plant based diet 98% of the year.

    I believe you should do what feels best for YOU, not to be cool, or popular or whatever, but for your own bliss. I am definitely a people pleaser, and thus tend to feel remorse when I don’t measure up (something I am slowly getting over!). Thankfully I am surrounded with people who could frankly care less if I eat meat or not (though at first they were not so supportive, as I lost a lot of weight when I changed my diet, and they felt I was doing it for the wrong reasons) which makes it so much easier to just live my life however it pleases me, your food choices should never be torture, or feel like deprivation.

    Anyhow, great topic, it’s one that is so relevant to everyone, what you put in your mouth is your business, and when you try to justify your choices to people who just don’t get it, you’re only setting yourself up for disaster.

    1. Ella says:

      My parents sometimes force me to eat sushi. I’m a vegan on my own but the rest of my family is paleo:/

  66. Coila says:

    I first saw your blog from something pinned on Pinterest. I’ve seen so many things here that I loved, so I added you to my reader feed and now I’m starting to read your blog more. I really like this post and your attitudes in general. They’re very much like mine, so that makes it pretty easy. . . Anyway, you sound like a sweetheart, I like your recipes and I love your blog. :)

  67. Pooja says:

    Hello Katie,

    I found your site a few days back and while I found most of the desserts really yummy looking, I am yet to try any. I am an Indian and a vegetarian by religion as well as choice. Though I am mostly vegan I do occasionally consume items with milk or honey and am not paranoid about it. I must confess that I was a bit skeptical about your site/recipes initially because I have often felt that people who are not exposed to vegetarianism as a way of life just don’t get it. It is indeed a way of life in India and no one would make you feel weird about it. But I came across this post today while browsing through your archives and I think I should take a bow to you. Your thoughts are so beautiful and I realize now that of course, you do get it completely. I am your biggest fan now and am madly forwarding your site to all my friends. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful recipes and I will start trying them right away.


    1. Aw Pooja, thank you so much for such a sweet comment! It really means a lot to me that you’re sharing the site.

      Chocolate hugs! :)

  68. Jennifer says:

    Thanks so much for your awesome site! I’ve made quite a few of your treats so far. In my case, I have a 9 year old son who has a severe sensitivity to cane sugar and high fructose ‘crud’ (candida sensitivity) and a mild sensitivity to gluten (that’s less of an issue). We also want to eat healthy. Poor kid, though, it’s hard to be 9 and have to avoid sugar. We loved all the recipes so far….and I have to say that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your writing style. This post in particular (although it’s older) really spoke to me. At almost 41, I’m finally learning that life not supposed to be about the quest for perfection. Glad you’re learning that lesson earlier! Yea, Katie! (Oh, and by the way – my sweet 13 year old daughter is named Kathryn and I call her Katie Bird….so great name too.) :) Keep writing and cooking!

    1. Wow, thank you! And haha Katie Bird… what a cute nickname!

  69. Katie says:

    I have to be honest, I teared up a little reading this. I’m not vegan, but I’ve been trying to eat healthier for almost a year now. I’ve lost a total of 85 lbs and never would have been able to do it without some of your recipes. I love feeling good about myself while eating your German chocolate fudge bites, or getting compliments on your deep dish chocolate chip cookie (I just took one out of the oven). I now understand that to make yourself healthier, you have to commit to making the change permanent, not a temporary “diet”, and one cannot do that without splurging just a tad now and then. This is a very well written, well said article. You’ve been a life saver!!

    1. Aw thanks, Katie. And congrats on such an incredible weight loss… Obviously you’re doing something right! :)

  70. Lauren says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I am a vegetarian and occasionally run into vegans who stick up their nose at my lifestyle, like what I’m doing isn’t good enough. I do what I feel I can do right now, and I think it makes a difference, even if it’s a smaller difference than a totally vegan lifestyle. Love your attitude and your recipes! <3

  71. Rebecca says:

    I agree with you, whole-heartedly :) Best thoughts on veganism I’ve read or heard. I go to the Peta website a lot for resources and recipes. It’s a great site, but I find that a lot of Peta members (certainly not all) tend to be very hardcore activists ready to condem any and all slips ups. This article shows just how compassionate you really are, to animals and people, mind and body.

    1. It’s true… they need to remember that when they throw red paint on someone it is NOT going to make that person feel compassionate towards their cause. If anything, it’ll make the person want to be even LESS kind to animals! :(

  72. Amanda K says:

    I LOVE this post, and completely agree. I am not a vegan (actually not even vegetarian)….I will eat meat when I know how it’s been raised and killed (preferably wild meat)…probably twice a week. I don’t eat / drink any dairy, but I do eat eggs from the hens in my yard (they are like pets, and we don’t have a rooster, so they have not been fertilized…ie. they could never be a chicken).

    Anyway, in the past I have felt guilty for NOT being vegan. I am an animal lover, and have been involved in animal rescue for the past 15 years (well, I should say forever, as I always rescued animals as a child too)….I felt guilty for eating meat…I felt like I needed to explain my diet choice to people….and felt that if I love animals and have a true compassion for them, then I would find a way to become vegan.

    Okay, I don’t know the point of my rant….I guess I just wanted to agree, and tell people it’s not an all or nothing thing. It’s about finding a healthy, balanced diet, and showing compassion in every area of you life.

    Thanks for this post (even though it’s a couple years old).

    – AK

  73. Anna Banana says:

    I love this post. It’s so refreshing to see other people agree that it’s possible to make a difference, even without being militant about it.

  74. Sandy says:

    OH I JUST LOVE LOVE LOVE what you have written here!
    Thank-you for sharing this
    I also one of those vegans who is ‘meh’ with honey and yep you got it – the vegan police get right on my back about that!
    Its nice to know there is someone else out there who does what they can to be vegan but doesn’t over re-act to every little thing! :-)

  75. Alex says:

    Katie, you are awesome. You pretty much just described my frustration. Although I keep a mostly vegan diet the transition is VERY difficult as I have never been a vegetarian and went straight from eating meat and animal products to all vegan (after a disturbing movie on animal cruelty in the food industry mind you). Occasionally I do cave, I still will eat meat or have milk and cookies or maybe I will put an egg in my salad. I’m young (19) and I’ll go out with friends to eat, and they’ll poke fun saying “that’s not in you’re diet, that’s not vegan” and it really sucks. I can eat whatever I feel my body needs, and sometimes I will probably give in. I think I have been doing this for all of 3 or 4 months. But I just wanted to say I’m really glad that there is someone out there who knows that your diet is NOT your life! Just made me feel much less guilty about whenever I give in to my cravings. By the way I love love LOVE your healthy chocolate bars and I intend to try EVERY recipe of yours :) Cannot wait to get baking.
    P.S. You are just darn gorgeous. What do you do on your runs?

    1. Aw thanks, Alex!

      Not sure what you mean by the last question… If you mean “what do I think about” the answer is “everything!” Recipe ideas, post ideas, current events, things going on in my life, etc. :)

  76. Alex says:

    Haha, when I say what do you do I mean, do you just run until you can’t run anymore, or do you have, like, a running agenda? I want to start running again because it seems like the best kind of “me” time :) was mostly just curious!

  77. SaintAnne says:

    You just inspired me. :-) Thank you.

  78. Kayla says:

    Thanks for saying all if that. Almost as long as I’ve been vegetarian, I have felt guilty for not being vegan yet. You’re right, I need to chill out and stop being so hard on myself. Plus, your blog is perfect for me- a sugar (and chocolate) addict who wants to lose weight. Plus everything is vegan, which makes me very happy. Keep on truckin’!

  79. brittany says:

    One of the most radical animal rights groups (ahem…starts with a P and ends with an A) has the same stance on being a “perfect” vegan. Trying your hardest to be a vegan and showing other how good it can taste is doing more good than scrutinizing every detail. Most people will walk away from you when you sound too preachy anyways.

  80. Heather says:

    I loved this!!!!!!!!! Guilt never inspired anything great. We do way better in life when we build on our “wins”.

  81. Anne-Alexandra says:

    Oh, you just (well, just may not be the right word since you wrote this in 2010 but that’s not the poin…) got the words out of my mind. I cannot agree more with you for sure !

  82. Olivia says:

    Seeing as you’ve got over a hundred comments on this post already and you’re just so darn popular in general (hehe), I know you get this a lot but I just wanted to say kudos to you for voicing your opinions. You’ve got a really great way of sharing your thoughts – and you’ve got great ones, at that -; never provocative, just humble and honest. So thank you! You speak my mind :)

  83. Trajayjay says:

    I think all vegans need to take a nice long look at this post. Some (not all of them) just irritate me. The ones that are self-righteous think that they’re so much better than us because they never ever eat meat ever. And they think that we’re going to adopt their diet when all they do is criticize ours and tell us that we’re going to hell and result to name calling. They give other vegans a bad name, and we’ve synonymized vegan with stuck-up @$$hole. The world would be a better place if all vegans had your views on food.

  84. S says:

    Great post, Katie! We, too, are 99% “vegan” & have been for about a year now. I couldn’t have said it better.

  85. Charlotte says:

    There is a principle many of us in the social work and public policy fields adhere to called “harm reduction.” It is mostly applied to working with people dealing with major substance abuse issues (and other harmful behaviors), but in applying it to my work, I have also found myself applying it to my life in almost every way (the wikipedia article on harm reduction is actually quite good if anyone would like to learn more). There is almost no way to live on this earth and be a part of 21st century first-world society without in some way contributing to practices that are unethical at best and immoral at worst. Like you said in this post, taking a black-and-white view of things just makes people stressed and overwhelmed, and will make some people choose not to bother altogether. For example, I’d love to only buy clothing that was sustainably made by people being paid a fair wage. But doing so is incredibly expensive, and I simply cannot afford it. I buy clothing at thrift stores as much as possible so that I am not contributing to sweatshop labor and exploitative business practices, but sometimes I just need a new button-down or a decent-fitting pair of jeans (and I have NEVER found a good bra in decent condition at Goodwill), and so I hit the mall and buy them. I do feel guilty, but I also know that most of the clothing I buy actively supports charitable organizations rather than sweatshop labor, and even if I’m not perfect, I am practicing harm reduction by minimizing the amount I spend at big-box stores, and that does matter. All of us are more conscious of some things than others, depending upon what has touched us personally and where our own priorities lie, but the point is not to be perfect. The point is to be open-hearted, open-minded, thoughtful in our choices and kind to ourselves and others. The point is to try, and to give ourselves a break when we need one. Because we all need one sometimes.

  86. Cassie says:

    Amen to that, Katie!