The 80/20 Vegan Lifestyle, How Do You Feel About It?

By on October 9, 2014
The 80/20 Vegan

I recently had a conversation with a person who described themselves as an 80/20 vegan. His definition of it was that he is a vegan but occasionally  will have a slice of pizza or a shrimp cocktail. He’s vegan for health reasons but over time being exposed to animal cruelty videos has made him more aware of the issues. With that said he considers himself a good vegan. I thought a lot about this during my conversation with him and at first I was taken back by it. This is a topic that I’m sure will rattle a lot of peoples cages in the vegan community. In my eyes there are two types of vegans, the hard core animal rights activists and the folks who switched over for health reasons. Perhaps this gentleman should not be classified as a vegan because he will occasionally eat fish or cheese. However it’s not that often that he does it.  He’s been living a vegan diet for 20+ years and in that time has a slice of pizza maybe once or twice a year. Much to little to be called a lacto-vegetarian in my opinion.

I asked him about his lifestyle, does he wear clothing made from animals or have leather seats in his car. His answers surprised me, he’s a well off gentleman who drives a very expensive luxury car with leather interior. I asked him his thoughts on this and his answer was simply, a BMW 7 series does not offer an option for non-leather interior. I know it sounds shallow, but a nice car is one of my pleasures in this short life we have.  As for clothing he is strictly hard core vegan, because there are more options for him.

With all this said he posed a question to me, “what am I in your eyes”? It was hard for me to answer the question. I’m certain I’ll get mixed reactions on the site, but in my eyes you’re better than most. As vegans I don’t think it’s our place to judge others based on how they classify themselves. Personally I’ve been vegan for close to 3 years and I still own clothing made from animals in my closet from the past. I’m the only one in my family who is vegan, so in my fridge you will find meat, cheese and milk. At this very moment that I’m writing this article my 6 year old son is snacking on chips and cheese in his luchables. Does that make me a shill? I turned vegan for health reasons and will defend my vegan choices but I try not to judge or preach to non-vegans.

In my eyes this fellow is doing his part, he’s lessened the abuse on animals and is living a healthier lifestyle. We just have to do the best we can. So there you have it a new classification, the 80/20 vegan.

This is a somewhat delicate discussion, I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic, please comment below.


About Dean Iodice


  1. Jackie Rose

    November 9, 2014 at 12:23 am

    I figure the closer the better and I have my moments to but I know overall I am still Vegan.

  2. Wendy

    December 3, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    I too am 80/20 vegan. I went vegetarian 6 years ago but in the last couple of years I have been trying to go vegan. I find it hard to be 100% vegan because of where I live there is not much choice and what there is, is pretty expensive. I substitute as much as I can and try to stay away from any animal by product. I use to work for an agricultural vet. clinic so I know the horrors of what some animals have to suffer just to serve their flesh on a plate for humans to eat, those images are burned in my head forever :(

  3. Jim Pilrose

    December 3, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Well, wouldn’t say he is a vegan but would not condem him either. He is doing way more than most to lessen animal cruelty and suffering.

  4. Adrienne

    December 12, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    No one is perfect. We should not judge those who are making an effort.

  5. EmilyB363

    September 3, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I can moderately relate to this. I’m what I would call an ‘ethical eater’. For the most part my diet consists of vegan dishes, whilst still eating meat once or twice a week. But all of the meat I eat is organic and ethically produced.
    I don’t think you’re a bad person if you eat meat or wear leather. In some circumstances, to me it makes sense.

    My aunt gave me some really lovely leather boots last year. Every time I wore them, I felt a horrid guilt in the pit of my stomach. But these boots were passed from my aunt, to my mum, back to my aunt and then finally to me. I didn’t purchase them- they were just a handmedown. And to me, it was more respectful to wear them, use them and enjoy them, than to just throw them away because they’re ‘made of leather’.

    Ultimately, what I’m saying is that I respect the lives that I take.