what do you call a cheese-eating vegan?… a celebrity (the Alicia Silverstone saga)

I get a lot of flak when I point out that many of the people the vegan community holds up as heroes aren’t actually vegan.

I am told that they do more for veganism that I ever will (yeah, maybe, but at least I don’t eat animals!)

I am told that nobody is perfect, and then my critics trawl through my life trying to find somewhere that I’m not perfect either (yeah, maybe, but at least I still don’t eat animals).

Cover of "The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide t...

Cover via Amazon

Here is Ms Not So Perfect Vegan Alicia Silverstone advocating CHEESE – again.

Alicia Silverstone Confesses: I Cheat on Vegan Diet!

Even a proud vegan like Alicia Silverestone gives in to temptation once in a while.

The actress and author of The Kind Diet confessed that sometimes she slips up — and dairy is her downfall.

“If I was at a party and there was a tray of cheese sitting there and I had had drinks, then I might have a bite,” Silverstone confessed to UsMagazine.com at an EcoTools event in NYC on Wednesday.

Silverstone doesn’t let her momentary lapse get to her, though. “It’s human,” she said. “It’s a really good reminder that sometimes you need to have what you remember is this good thing. Because then you have it, and you’re like, ‘Actually that wasn’t better than the recipes in my book,'” Silverstone told Us.

“Being flexible that way makes more people comfortable,” she said. “If I’m rigid about it and I’m perfect, then no one is going to be able to be like me because I’ll be this icey, rigid thing.”

Silverstone credits the vegan diet with better health. “I haven’t been to a doctor in 13 years,” she told Us. “I don’t have to worry about calories, I don’t have to worry about how I look because I know that what I do makes me look my best.”

For a start, I’m not sure there is such a concept as “cheating on a vegan diet” that would make it… um – not vegan!!

Like a virgin who cheats on virginity, gets pregnant and says, but I’m still a virgin, I only cheated a little!

Once we start having the concept of cheese-eating vegans, its a slippery slope til the word “vegan” means anything that people want it to mean.

There already is a perfectly valid word for someone who avoids meat but eats cheese….. VEGETARIAN!

Ever tried to define vegetarian?
A coworker told me once there are two types of vegetarian, those who eat meat and those who don’t, no matter how much I tried to tell her that a vegetarian who eats meat is not a vegetarian in any sense of the word, she would not be swayed…
there is the fish-eating-vegetarians, the fur-wearing-vegetarians, the chicken-and-bacon-eating-vegetarians, the vegetarian-3-days-a-week-and-steak-on-the-rest… the word “vegetarian” has become pretty much useless.

I was out to lunch with friends recently, one who is a vegetarian told the wait staff “I’m a vegetarian, no meat in the stir fry vegetables” it came loaded with prawns. She sent it back.

One of the reasons that the word / concept “vegan” was invented in World War 2 was that vegetarians on got rations for cheese and eggs as replacements for meat, and so began a campaign to be recognised as not consuming animals products. There are many other reasons too, but this was one of the earliest fights for recognition, that a vegan was something separate to vegetarian.

No one stands up when people assume that meat=cow/lamb but not meat=fish/chicken/pig.

The amount of vegetarians who eat fish or chicken or pork/ham/bacon is so strange. And people just accept that it is a sub-set of vegetarian.

So, when people praise Alicia Silverstone for her veganism, do we accept it, and think, but she does so much for her diet book, oops I mean veganism – or do we go, “yes, she might do a lot for animals but she really isn’t vegan herself”.

If it is okay for celebrities to cheat – how big of a celebrity does one have to be? Movies? Magazine covers? Is there like, a slide scale of celebrity A-list and B-list can eat cheese, maybe C-list – but once we hit the D-list celebrities they can’t get away with calling themselves “vegan who eats cheese”? When was vegan redefined as – something you do only when you are a commoner?

And as for Alicia’s comment that she eats cheese when she has a drink… Really, when was vegan redefined as – something you do only when sober?

Then there are instances of people who identify as “vegan” (such as this brainless moronic post: Alicia Silverstone cheats on vegan diet with dairy as her downfall which says sometimes a little egg and dairy are good, because it shows others we are flexible, and that the author herself “I end up having bit of dairy or a baked good with some egg in it” – hun, you ain’t vegan!!) complaining about those who forgo all cheese as being “militant”, I beg your pardon – not eating cheese is not being “militant”, it’s actually just plain Vegan.

I respect what Alicia has done for animals, and if people go vegan because they read her book, good for her, but people also go vegan when they visit PETA websites too, and many, many vegans don’t like PETA, and compare that to the hatred directed at Sea Shepherd for not being vegan, and people change because of SS too, so why the double standards? I really hope it isn’t because she is young, blond, white and famous.

How many vegans out there don’t eat cheese, or any other dairy, and find ways to get alternatives.

In this post Alicia Silverstone goes Vegetarian, Alicia describes her eating of BK Veggie Burger, its “yummie”, that Burger King burger also contains egg and milk.
That original twitter comment is found here http://twitter.com/AliciaSilv.

Why do people go through all sorts of contortions to redefine vegan. It is simple – not animal products. Not just sometimes, all the times. If you accidently eat something, then you move on, but for Alicia, it doesn’t seem to be an accident, it seems to be a pattern.

Take a look at her answer here:

What do you do when you crave non-vegan foods?

Alicia Silverstone.: Well, I never crave non-vegan foods, because vegan foods are so delicious. When I’m out and there are no vegetarian foods available, then I just make the best choices I can. Sometimes, it’s to eat nothing at all, or I’ll have the least offensive thing. Maybe there’s a salad with goat cheese, or potato salad with a little mayo. That’s what it’s about — making the best choices under all circumstances.
Alicia Silverstone Quit Counting Calories – With Her “Kind Diet”

Actually… NO, veganism isn’t defined as “making the best choices” – it is In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.: Vegan

But, at what point do we stop watering down what “vegan” actually means, people call Bill Clinton vegan in the exact same interview he discusses eating fish (He actually seems to be making a lot of changes to his dies, it is “almost vegan”) – vegan has a meaning, do some people want that label so badly that they will ignore its meaning? I could call myself anything I want, doesn’t make it true, calling yourself “vegan” when you clearly aren’t doesn’t make veganism flexible, it totally strips all value and meaning from a word that has a specific definition.

… how would ordinary (by that I mean, Non celebrity) vegans who don’t “cheat” (which I find a silly word, its not “cheating” its eating cheese) feel going to a vegan restaurant being served cheese, honey, eggs, once that happens, the people who actually are vegan might have to explore a new word.

Meanwhile comments such as:
Brent Phillips (on facebook): Someone call the vegan police! Revoke her vegan powers

People who make comments like that, are they vegan themselves? I know how hard it is for me and vegans I know to live a vegan life, someone who doesn’t encounter difficulties occasionally, maybe there is a reason.

And as for “revoke her vegan powers”…. um, do you consider cheese and egg to be vegan? If you think there is something wrong with pointing out that Alicia Silverstone is a vegetarian, not a vegan, then there is definitely something wrong with your definition of vegan.

Portia De Rossi (DeGeneres)

Image by Pulicciano via Flickr

Portia de Rossi’s Aha! Moment

I had no appetite for meat sauce. Giving up beef wasn’t just some fleeting idea. Over the next year, I stopped eating all animals and animal products. I always thought going vegan would be difficult, but I genuinely don’t crave meat or cheese. And I feel happier, like I’m contributing to making the world a less violent place. Before that morning on the farm, I ranked an animal’s value based on how “human” it was. Now I don’t judge other beings that way—every animal has its own intelligence and sensitivities. They’re all lovely, worthwhile, and deserving of our respect.

Comparing the words used by both Alicia and Portia, and how they see veganism:
Alicia uses words like: “recipes”, “calories”, “look my best” and the words “Losing Weight” are in the title of her diet book
………. compare that to Portia de Rossi : “intelligence”, “sensitivities”, “respect”, “deserving”, “worthwhile”, “contributing to… the world”

And yet, Alicia is seen as a true champion of kindness and veganism, and Portia is just a bimbo lesbian.
Portia de Rossi, probably doesn’t get enough respect for her awareness.

For more on this topic – whether it is a good thing for vegans to expand the definition to include cheese and eggs like Alicia Silverstone does
What Lines Do You Cross on an ETHICAL Vegan Diet?

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Articles copyright 2010 ‘Vegan Animal Liberation Alliance’. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Written by RedGlitter of VALA https://redglitterx.wordpress.com/


Feedback welcome.

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30 Responses to “what do you call a cheese-eating vegan?… a celebrity (the Alicia Silverstone saga)”

  1. I think the virginity analogy is rather dramatic.

  2. Its interesting to note that vegetarian used to mean vegan means now in the 19thcentury. There was a number of things that no substitututes could be easily found in the supermarket and made it more difficult to be vegan/vegetarian then ans they started becoming vegetarian but…

    Also much less was known about nutrition.

    I am totally with you on this article. Vegan is vegan. No animal products.

    If a word is this but could be that it loses its meaning, in this case a meaning that is dependent on the intention as to why no animal products. If you are doing it cause its cool, or looks good on the press, then thats posturing. If you are actually committed to the goals of veganism based on the rights of non-human animals then you can say Vegan

    You don’t simply chose to be vegan, you do it because you are compelled if you consider yourself compassionate, responsible, and capable of not living hypocritically.

  3. Its interesting to note that vegetarian used to mean what vegan means now in the 19thcentury. Certain things were difficult to find in the past to mantain a balanced diet in the 19th c compared to now…
    Also much less was known about nutrition.

    I am totally with you on this article. Vegan is vegan. No animal products.
    If a word is “this” but could be “that too” it loses its meaning, in this case a meaning that is dependent on the intention as to why no animal products. If you are doing it cause its cool, or looks good on the press, then thats posturing. If you are actually committed to the goals of veganism based on the rights of non-human animals then you can say I’m Vegan
    You don’t simply chose to be vegan, you do it because you are compelled if you consider yourself compassionate, responsible, and capable of not living hypocritically.

  4. THANK YOU for this article. Bottom line: if you eat cheese, egg, etc., or products that contain them, YOU ARE NOT VEGAN!! I don’t care if it’s once in a blue moon. Either you eat them or you don’t. If you do, you are not vegan. Same with “vegetarians” who “only eat meat at Thanksgiving”. Sorry, but if you eat meat you are NOT a vegetarian.

  5. I subscribe to Alicia Silverstone’s blog at TheKindLife.com and keep looking for a post addressing this debate. With this story spreading like wildfire throughout the Twitter community and green-geared media, a thoughtful response from her could help put a positive spin on this. Her silence speaks volumes to vegans and non-vegans alike. Think she’ll address it?

    • I don’t think she will address, she really doesn’t need to… I’m looking to see if I can find anywhere that she specifically calls herself “vegan” or “vegetarian”, I think she just has a great life (good for her), she does have a “kind” diet and is doing great things – it is the rest of us that get worked up about labels… it honestly does not bother me too much if she occasionally eats cheese, what does get to me is that people insist that eating cheese is irrelevant to her being vegan… I think if she called herself “mostly vegan” the controversy would die away
      thank you for the comment – I was inspired by your piece, which I have a link to in the post

  6. I agree! Thank you so much for sharing it.

  7. How is she advocating cheese when she specifically says that one benefit to occasionally tasting it is that you realize that vegan food is better?

    • Sigh… she didn’t say vegan food was better, she said the recipes in her book are better… like perhaps page 208 “Egg salad sandwich” or page 192 “Mixed berry cheesecake” or page 207 “Cheesy, oozy Guacamole Bean dip” or page 157 “Chorizo Tacos”

      and then there is the cheese and egg in the BK Veggie Burger, which she describes this way:
      if you are in a crunch and need a super quick yummy flirt meal, the burger king veggie burger is so yummie…

      and then there is her frequent reference to the cheese she eats, yet continues to call herself a vegan, what if there are young impressionable vegans out there that follow her example, and think a little cheese now and then is fine?

      btw… I wonder what Gary Francione thinks about the whole cheese eating vegan thing, do you think he would agree?

  8. Her point is that we make the best choices we can at the time. Would you starve to hold up you belifs and pricipals? We have our priorities but if you are doing good for the animals and the environment then you are a good person in my book. Even if you eat cheese or chocolate once in a while. I would like to know how perfect the author is by judging others or maybe they wouldnt like to be under the microscope either or maybe he wouldnt like to be criticized either. Leave Alicia alone.

  9. I doubt any of you are vegan or triied to be. It is very tought to be out in public and find something to eat that has no animal products in it. Bread has milk in it even if you find a veggie burger. I myself try to find something with protien. The options are not always offered where you are and we make the best choices we can. For myself it is a decision between health, being animal friendly and being environment friendly in that order. I guess us vegans should pack a lunch even if you have the money to eat out. I try to give up caffiene and white sugar as well but that too is tough and most of the time need to prepare it yourself.

    • What a load of lies, because you cant handle being vegan without eating animal products, so the rest of us actual vegans cant be? Im not quite sure if you know what “vegan” actually means, it means NO ANIMAL PRODUCTS, not just if youre poor and cant afford to eat out.

      Many vegans will say, I dont do it for my health, I do it for the health of the animals, and if you eat animal products as a trade off for your health, you arent Vegan!

      And how lazy does someone have to be, when they say “options are not always offered where you are and we make the best choices we can”, and so you eat animal products because someone doesnt OFFER them to you? are you kidding me? what, you cant bring your own food/products, or eat before you leave home (in the case of food).

      Vegan is not about the best choices of what someone OFFERS you, if you rely on someone to OFFER you vegan products, you will be waiting a LONG time.

      Anyone who eats animal products out of laziness – is not a vegan in any sense of the word.

      • Are you Vegan or are you talking out your ass? You sound like you one who likes to judge. I just want to smack you upside the head. Bread has butter and somtimes milk. So because we choose to be vegan we must bring our own food everytime we step out the door. 3-4 meals a day. Yes we do what we can when we can. I guess we are not perfect but you sound like your far from that. I have a job so if I slip its not out of laziness fuck face. Go stick an umbrella up your ass and open it. I hope you starve.

      • Wow, go take your B12, (but then you eat animal products, so you probably arent lacking) such an inspiring example of how vegans are superior to non vegans in every way.

        As Torry said… If you eat any animal products, you are NOT vegan.

    • Chris, are you saying that you do eat animal products if you cannot easily find a vegan option? Then I’m sorry, you are NOT a vegan! You may be making better food choices than many people but being vegan means NOT eating animal products. It doesn’t mean *sometimes* not eating animal products, or *most of the time* not eating animal products, or *only eating animal products when I can’t easily find something that is vegan*. Sure, finding vegan options can sometimes be a challenge. But it is your choice what to buy, where to buy, where to eat, or to NOT eat at places you know are not vegan friendly. And yes, it’s also your choice to bring your food with you if you know vegan options won’t be available. Being vegan means making vegan choices even if it’s not convenient or easy. And YES I am a vegan, ALL the time, not just when it is easy.

  10. So if you say your a recycler but throw away a pop can one day then you are not. If you say you care about the environment but drive a car and not ride a bike then you don’t. I find this stupid. People are taking this to a whole new level and who cares. Kinda pregnate or not is one thing but Vegan is what you view it to yourself so opinions are like assholes……..everyones got one. It doesn’t make a difference and you just have an inferority complex that you feel you need to express. If you brought a kid into this over populated world then that is something that makes a difference on the environmental footprint. People like to pick apart the celberties to make themselves feel better about their medioarker lives. Get a life! If you eat cheese once in a blue moon in my book your still a good person. If you buy material goods, drive an gas guzzling vehicle, keep having more kids and never consider adopotion, keep taking from this world, are racist and basically an all around crappy human being then the world can do with out you. Alicia hasnt had any children and I bet thats a lot more than I can say for a lot of you. Go ahead and eat cheese once in a while Alicia if it makes you feel happy. Vegan cheese needs improvment anyway.

    • You have a lot of anger in you. And you seem to be taking Alicia Silverstones lack of being completely vegan very personally, I think that is slightly odd.

      Eating a mostly vegan diet with occasional cheese, does make you a good person, but it isnt vegan. Vegan has a specific definition, and if you start changing it to suit your own personal diet, why dont you invent your own word, instead of taking someone elses. People who call themselves “vegan” yet continue to eat animal products, wear animal products, use animal products, seem to want the label of being vegan without actually doing anything to BE vegan.

      I could call myself anything I feel like, but it doesnt mean I am that.

      There is something very strange about you, the anger, the insults, the violence, and the fact that somehow Alicia Silverstone eating cheese is tied in with your own personal identity.

  11. Chris, you eat 4 meals a day? Wow! And you buy all of them away from home? Vegan or not, it would probably be better for you healthwise if you didn’t eat so many restaurant meals. I thought you said you choose your health first? If that’s the case you might want to consider making some healthy (vegan) food at home instead of putting yourself and your health at the mercy of whatever some unknown cook chooses to put in your food.

    In any case, for some reason you seem determined to hold on to the title of “vegan”, even though you have clearly stated that you eat animal products. Being vegan seems to be important to you, and yet you are not willing to make the extra effort it takes to actually BE a vegan. “Bread has butter…” well, yes, if you put butter on it! Yes, many breads have milk products in them. That is why I don’t buy those. I buy Food For Life bread which is organic and does not contain animal products. I also now have a bread maker and plan to make my own bread so I’ll know exactly what healthy, vegan ingredients are going into it.

    Why do you feel the need to call everyone ELSE non-vegan when it is clearly YOU who are the one not willing to make the effort to be truly vegan? Sounds like guilt to me. Do you think you are the only “vegan” who works? That’s right, the rest of us just stay at home and never venture out into the world. Sorry, but that’s just not true. We are well aware of the animal products in various foods at stores and restaurants because we do our research. We also make the choices to only buy vegan products (they ARE out there), to only eat in vegan restaurants, or to make our own food so we will know exactly what is in it rather than “hoping” some cook who has no knowledge or interest in our vegan beliefs will somehow happen to offer us some vegan food. Yes, it can be a pain and sometimes it’s hard, but it is a choice that TRUE vegans make. It is the ONLY choice I can make because being vegan is essential to my beliefs and I’m not willing to just hand over my life to someone else and hope for the best.

    No one is judging you; it sounds more like you are judging yourself and trying to slam everyone else in the process who doesn’t concur with what you say. You of course are free to make the choices you feel are best for you. But calling yourself vegan when you in fact eat animal products is not correct. The two things are mutually exclusive.

  12. I never once said I eat out at restaurants four times a day. Also I never called anyone non vegan. What a bunch of maipulators. I said I eat 3-4 meals a day like normal people. Also if you eat out and get a veggi burger and choose not to eat the bun cause it probably has milk products in it then the burger was probably cooked on the grill that had meat on it prior plus you ate crumbs from the bun. So technically then you are not a vegan. I never said I was vegan and dont care what word you have for it. My point is that I make the best choices at the time and am not sick in the head about it. If you want to call me vegitarian then I really dont care. 98% of the time I eat non animal products. 98% of the time buy non animal products. Your no better but the animals and evironment are and maybe your health. I drink almond milk so I get enough B12. Red Glitter should learn to judge yourself instead of constantly looking and judging others and pointing the finger. Some one needs to put you in your place and you found him. This blog seems to be about who is better than who for choosing a vegan life. I also make my own bread and bring my own meals usually because it is difficult to eat out and find vegan meals close to your work / when you go to a restaurant with your frineds and family or if you work outside of the city limits and the many other cercuumstances that can occur. I dont feel guilty about my choices. All you do is look for a weakness and exploit them. I like Alicia for the good she does and many other celeberties that choose their popularity to do none selfish acts with it. I also subscribe to the Kind Life and meet many interesting people, recipies, restaurants to eat etc. Unless you grow your own food and are in complete control of everything then there is no guarentee. Organics are questionable and I seriously doubt that even if a person really tries to be 100% Vegan they probably slip knowingly or not knowingly. Allow yourself the freedom to mess up cause your human. Its no wonder people make fun of Vegans when you act this crazy about it.

    • Why should someone like you feel you need to put me in my place, because Im an opinionated woman, who doesnt take your violent threats quietly? because that is what you have done on my blog – been abusive, threatening and violent.
      Grow up.
      Exactly what point are you trying to prove by continually returning to argue insignificant points?

  13. Oh my god! I can’t believe she calls herself vegan. I flicked through her book, nothing special there. Just faux-meat-and-cheese type crap. You don’t really need a cookbook for that.

    Natalie Portman says she is “vegetarian at home, vegan when out”, I guess because she can’t tell where the cheese/eggs came from if she’s in a restaurant. But pretty sure even she usually says “I’m vegetarian” in terms of her diet.

    Ruby Rose calls herself “veganese”. As in a vegan who eats fish and cheese… yeah, I know.

    Just stop using vegan in the name! That word has no relevance to your diet if you consume animal products.

  14. I feel like she is promeoting peole to have only small amounts of dairy products but to most of the time to live a vegan lifestyle. Isnt this good for her to promote? Would you rather her to say to just be a vegetarian and never be aware of how much animal by products one has?? Try and look at the positives in her story and book..stop judging no one is perfect 🙂

  15. I decided to become a vegan recently. It’s not been too hard so far because I live in Italy and next to a wicked market. But, and I know I’ll get some shit for this [because Jesus are people being jumped all over here] I don’t honestly think I would tell most people I was a vegan because of the crappy stereotype that most people writing here help to enforce. I know vegans who are normal non-whiny and non-judgmental people and then I know the kind who attend barbeques and complain about the smell [AT A BARBEQUE!] I believe I read ‘vegans are superior to non-vegans’ in one comment. Just no. I don’t believe you can really believe that. Even if you believe your DIET is superior, which I wouldn’t argue, you cannot seriously believe that as a person this is true also. And if you really do believe that, I’d say that’s a pretty decent case for allowing everyone else to believe the opposite. Nobody is perfect.Live and let live.

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