Chegan (pronounced chee-gen) is short for “cheating vegan.” The word is often misspelled as, “cheagan.”
Chegan denotes someone who eats vegan nearly all the time, but deliberately slips up on rare occasions—probably most often in the presence of pizza or salmon (see: Noah Djokovic and Bill Clinton). Other chegans strictly avoid visible quantities of animal products at all times, but are inclined to say “screw it” when the substance in question is a food’s nineteenth ingredient. And still other chegans will consume animal products when vegan food is hard to find.
Why The Chegan Concept is Beneficial
The reasons to go vegan are immensely compelling, so every step in a vegan direction matters. For someone swayed by the advantages of veganism, but to whom an absolute commitment would be a deal-breaker, the wiggle-room allowed by the chegan concept can deliver a big win.
Yet, perhaps 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. But hating on chegans makes zero sense. Even the most cheating of chegans is still far ahead of 99 percent of the population, in terms of cutting animal products from their diet.
The meat industry is likely more worried about chegans than it is about vegans. Big Meat and Big Dairy will be in Big Trouble once people recognize how easy it is to step away from their offerings. The chegan concept can encourage less-committed people to make important changes without alienating anybody by demanding perfection.
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 possibly beyond, check out my How to Go Vegan guide and my Easy Vegan Foods article.
Note: the author is an (only occasionally insufferable) Level 5 Vegan who believes chegans will be decisive in wiping out animal agribusiness.