Chegan (pronounced chee-gen) is short for “cheating vegan.” The word is commonly misspelled, “cheagan.”
Chegan reference 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 vegan food is difficult.
Why The Chegan Concept is Beneficial
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). But hating on chegans doesn’t make much sense. After all, anyone who dramatically cuts their consumption of animal products deserves praise.
Rest assured that the meat industry is at least as threatened by chegans as it is by vegans. The industry is in trouble once people recognize how easy it is to eliminate most animal products. The chegan concept can encourage less-committed people to begin excluding most animal products from their lives. 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. Many aspiring vegans find the idea of going totally vegan right away too difficult. For them, the chegan concept can encourage quick progress without imposing undue 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.