Chegan (pronounced chee-gen) is short for a cheating vegan. It describes someone who eats vegan nearly all the time, but deliberately slips up—probably most often in the presence of pizza or ice cream (see: Bill Clinton). Other chegans are stricter about avoiding visible quantities of animal products, but are inclined to say “fuck it” when the substance in question is a food’s nineteenth ingredient. And still other chegans will consume animal products when hungry, in situations that where finding something to eat would otherwise be inconvenient.
Predictably, many Level 5 Vegans view chegans as the worst kinds of heretics, and reserve for them a level of scorn they’d never heap upon someone who ate meat by the cartload (see: Vegan Police). This of course makes no sense, as people who are decidedly on the vegan end of the spectrum ought to be commended for all they’re doing to minimize their consumption of animal products.
Rest assured that the meat industry is at least as threatened by chegans as vegans. After all, the industry as we know it will collapse once the majority of people refuse to make animal products a significant part of their diet. And pragmatists are inherently more likely than perfectionists to sway the outcome of crucial battles.
While there are many compelling reasons to go vegan, a chegan diet is also an important step forward for most people. If a vegan diet appeals to you, but going totally vegan right away seems too difficult, the vegan concept can allow you to make quick progress without any pressure. To begin your journey to chegan and maybe beyond, check out our How to Go Vegan guide and our Easy Vegan Foods pages.
Note: the author is an (only occasionally insufferable) Level 5 Vegan who believes chegans will be decisive in wiping out animal agribusiness.