Firstly, this is a really well-written article and I admire & applaud your honesty. I do however, feel the need to respond on a few points.
I would like to say that I can honestly state that I have never cheated on my vegan diet. I’m not saying this to brag of moral superiority or anything, I am only saying this because I feel that the examples you used where “vegans” cheated on their diet were totally unjustified reasons.
‘Drunk pizza’ happening, “the inability to resist a non-vegan cupcake,” and “no one was looking” are completely morally unjustifiable reasons to directly contribute to the rape, torture, kidnapping, and murder of cows.
Yes, I know that language is extreme, but seeing as non-vegan pizza and cupcakes contain dairy, I feel it’s completely fair to not hide the truth.
I have been out late, drunk, with no vegan options available. Some of those time I just went home to eat, some of those times I just had to wait until breakfast. I’ve traveled to countries that you would never consider vegan-friendly, like Kenya, and still never had to contribute to animal suffering with my food choices.
And none of this was ever particularly hard, because as a vegan I can’t justify hurting and abusing an animal simply for taste pleasure or because I was bad at planning.
The human body can go 30 days without food, and in most parts of the world, especially the western world, you won’t have to wait more than 8 hours to get access to humane food again.
You're right, “Veganism isn’t about perfection,” because the only way to completely eliminate all and any harm to other animals, would be to kill ourselves. And that’s obviously not practical.
That isn’t to say that those individuals who cheated on their “vegan” diet arent trying, trying to consume and contribute to suffering less, I’m not here to diminish their or your efforts.
But it is to say that if they ever felt that it was okay to simply ‘cheat on their vegan diet’ then they were never vegan, to begin with. They were plant-based.
If you can ever justify contributing to the suffering of an animal for; taste, pleasure, convenience or societal pressure, then you really shouldn’t call yourself vegan.
P.S. For the individuals who simply don’t have access to fruits, vegetables, grains or legumes & beans due to economic or geographic reasons, it is justified to eat animal products. Because that is for survival. (I would, however, argue that a vegan diet is inherently cheaper and with the right education those individuals could get a better nutrition-to-dollar ratio with a vegan diet.