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Alicia Silverstone Ate Some Cheese. Is that OK?

Vegan poster-girl Alicia Silverstone told UsMagazine.com that on occasion she might eat a piece of cheese. “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. …It’s human. 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.

And that’s a problem. But not because Alicia sometimes might occasionally/accidentally/drunkenly/whateverly eat a piece of cheese.

Listen, I’m no purist. If you tell me you knowingly scarfed down a pack of Linden’s cookies on a seven-hour flight, I won’t be all, “YOU ARE NOT A VEGAN, MILK-FAT CONSUMER!!! AND HEY, WHAT ARE THOSE SHOES MADE OF? DO I DETECT LEATHER?!” In fact I’m high-fiving everyone, including Alicia, whose lifestyle is mostly vegan or moving in the vegan direction, and mostly not supporting needless suffering, environmental destruction, and the decline of individual and public health. But as vegans trying to proliferate veganism into the mainstream, it’s our responsibility to make clear to an overwhelmingly ignorant public why veganism is the best choice, not treat the subject all willy-nilly-let’s-go-eat-some-mozzarella-sticks. The masses love to pick at what they perceive as inconsistencies in the behavior of people who want to convince them of real, hard facts. I can just imagine some insecure meat-eater saying, “Hey, even Alicia Silverstone indulges in delicious, inimitable cheese! That means she’s not vegan and she hates cows, and therefore all vegans are hypocrites, so let’s pour cow fat on them, light a match, and celebrate by eating steaks wrapped in bacon!”

Alicia, please don’t make us all look like floozies. As a celebrity with wide influence, you more than any of us mere mortals have to make veganism look good and sensical. Do you really need to eat cheese to remind yourself of why you don’t? (When I’m having a weak moment I just pick up Skinny Bitch or visit PETA‘s website and mosey over to the dairy cows section.) Or, hey, if you really need to eat cheese once a month–and I bet you don’t–, how about you just do it in the privacy of your own home where you’re not setting a bad real-life example for other humans who take cues from you like you’re still Cher and not tell a national magazine about it in a poorly veiled attempt to promote your book?

The best figurehead for conscientious eating will keep in mind what’s best for farm animals, the environment, and the vegan movement, and that means making it look easy and right. Alicia, I want you to continue to be that person, so please, bring some Daiya to the next cocktail party. Or maybe a dish made from a recipe in this great vegan cookbook you might have heard of, The Kind Diet.

34 Comments

  1. Comment by

    vegan4life

    on #

    Sorry, Alicia…you’re a loser (and sorry to be so judgmental, but….) I have been a vegan since 1989 and have “cheated” zero times!!!! Sometimes it is hard and sometimes it can be inconvenient, but I don’t want to consume animal products. Period. And I have never published a cookbook or promoted veganism nationally. And if you do cheat, why publicize it? Why not just slip in some meat once a month, Alicia? Not cool.

  2. Comment by

    vegan4life

    on #

    You missed the second part of the quote from US Magazine…

    “Being flexible that way makes more people comfortable. 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.?

    Excuse me???? You eat animal products so people like you and are more comfortable??? You don’t want to be this “icey (Us Magazine’s spelling error, not mine!), rigid thing.” Is that what you really think about your fellow vegans, Alicia???

    She really is an airhead and not doing much of a service to vegans with statements like this. Basically, she is saying that the vegan diet allows you to indulge in animal products whenever you are drunk or whenever you want to have people like you?

    No wonder I have no friends….I am just too icy and rigid!

  3. Comment by

    Mirkat

    on #

    Another thing that bothers me is that Silverstone reinforces the idea that veganism is a diet to be “cheated” on, like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or Atkins. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been at an office birthday party and had a co-worker try to pressure me into having “just a little piece” of the non-vegan birthday cake. No, really, folks–I don’t eat dairy and egg. I just don’t. Even when it’s someone’s birthday–including my own. Sheesh. Thanks for undermining that, Alicia.

  4. Comment by

    Rachel

    on #

    I second all of vegan4life’s comments, and I’m glad to see someone calling attention to Silverstone’s lamentable concern with not being perceived as icy or rigid by others uncomfortable with her veganism. Pretty sad in someone publicly championing a vegan diet as a compassionate act.

  5. Comment by

    catres

    on #

    At first read through I was also annoyed, but after thinking about the liberty the media likes to take on quotes and context, especially something like Us or other celebrity/gossip mags, I’d like to hear Alicia’s response. The 2nd time I read this I thought maybe she meant if you do eat something that’s not vegan you realize how not worth it it is therefore it reminds you of your convictions versus “cheating” is okay. BTW, I’ve never purposely ingested any non-veg stuff either, just perplexed by this article-it seems very out of line with what she’s been promoting/saying for years…..

  6. Comment by

    JonG

    on #

    Actually, what the masses love to pick at is vegans as self-righteous purists.

    As a vegan for coming up on 15 years, I’ve gone through several different versions of how to be the best advocate for my diet. The “ZOMG you ate a bite of cheese you suck” approach is self-marginalizing at best.

  7. Comment by

    MJ

    on #

    I like Samantha’s post, but the comments here are whack. It’s cool that you guys can be true “vegan4life” and not break diet for 21 years, kudos to you; But what have you done to promote a healthy eco-friendly lifestyle other than bash people? At least Silverstone is trying to promote a great thing. Who cares if she stumbles even once a month, at least she’s doing better than the 90% of americans that do that shit 3 times a day.

    Some of you here are the kind of people that make non vegans not want to go vegan, just solely on your elitist attitude stereotype. Your comments do more harm than good, and if you really believe it a cause you should think about how you come off before you speak. Else, just shut the fuck up.

  8. Comment by

    katy

    on #

    alicia has done so much for the vegan community and i know alot of people who are trying to go vegetarian or vegan because of her and her book. samantha…the problem isnt with her, its with people who write articles like this. if you want to come across like a psycho vegan you will just alienate people. if you really read the article, read the book, or spoken to her (as i have) you would understand she is mostly talking in the past tense about eating dairy products or cheating now and then and that was mostly on her path to veganism. she is actually a pretty strict vegan amd she wants people to feel comfortable, and that if they cheat or slip up they dont feel like they need to give up. unlike this article which again just makes people feel like it has to be 100% or nothing.

  9. Comment by

    beanmail

    on #

    Bravo, Samantha. Behavior like this exhibited by a “vegan” public figure makes the whole movement seem wishy-washy, not to mention perpetuates the myth that veganism is solely about food/diet. It also reminds me of when Drew Barrymore stopped being vegan because she realized she was too into fashion to have to bow to the pressures of eschewing animal skin fabrics. Boo hoo, my life as a celebrity vegan is so hard! Thank goodness we have stand-up vegans like John Salley as true allies for the animals.

  10. Comment by

    Sam C

    on #

    vegan4life:
    Yeah, let’s talk about the whole cold, icy bitch thing. In my experience (and maybe yours too?), most people respond well to warmth, sensitivity, and sincerity when we talk about why I’m vegan, and as long as I’m all of those things, and also a fun person!, I don’t think they’re running around calling me cold or even rigid, if they can understand where I’m coming from. I think the potential danger of being perceived as inconsistent and flighty about veganism is greater than that of being perceived as rigid (read: sincere and consistent) about it. And before someone reads this thread and starts quoting Emerson, let me say that consistency means to me always being open, considerate, and thinking — not holding to a point simply because I made the point three years ago.

    Mirkat:
    That’s a great point about “cheating.” When we falter on a health- or appearance-driven diet, we cheat ourselves. When we falter on a vegan diet, we cheat a much larger contingency — the planet, animals, and people, including ourselves. And office birthdays, yes! I actually really enjoy them because I am typically the baker, and no one guesses the cupcakes are both vegan and gluten-free. Bringing vegan stuff=sharing and caring. Cheesy, I know. HEY DID SOMEONE SAY CHEESE AHHHH

    JonG:
    I think we mostly agree, but perhaps where we don’t is on the reception of the masses. I know a few of my coworkers are just waiting for me to so much as TOUCH a cookie of unknown origin to point fingers and tell me I’m a BAD vegan who doesn’t really believe or live what she claims. That’s not everyone, of course; some people respond to the flexitarian diet, but I can’t believe that’s what helps most people understand the advantages of a vegan lifestyle. In practice, though, like I said, I’m so glad more people are moving away from a meat-centric diet, and the awesomeness of that alone cannot be over-emphasized.

    katy:
    You really think I sound like a psycho?
    If Alicia wants people to remember they can falter without falling off their path, then how about she says that? Or she could tell a story, like this: “One time while I was drinking at a party I slipped up and ate a piece of cheese. But that reminded me that I don’t need cheese because there are so many amaaaazing vegan foods that are better in every way.” Instead, she said she occasionally eats cheese, universal tense. Maybe she just didn’t say what she meant. Possible! Retract!

  11. Comment by

    Dylan Roberts

    on #

    In reference to the newly added picture: AWWWWWWWWW SNAP!

  12. Comment by

    Heather

    on #

    Get over it. It’s not like she eats a whole steak every once in a while.

  13. Comment by

    Imright

    on #

    First off, you are absolutely out of context as much as US magazine was. You are taking a gossip magazine and using what they “wrote” about as evident that she is not vegan. You are comparing fox news to being their in person in that chair and interviewing her yourself. I believe if anything us magazine has taken something far oun of context to grab ratings and buzz with their name.(which they do often) and caused all you vegans to have an uproar so you won’t support her anymore. You are as much a bigot as a person calling Obama a Muslim. Dot be self rightist and know you shit first before you go off the high wire from a gossip magazine.

  14. Comment by

    colorform

    on #

    i find the claim that she said this crap reeeaaaallly hard to believe. i subscribe to her website and she is pretty hardcore vegan. she posts frequently about all things vegan and recently posted and article about the horrible dairy industry and doesn’t even believe in using bee products. that just doesn’t sound like someone who would say, “oh yeah, i eat cheese for the hell of it every once in a while!” oh and her cookbook is by far the best vegan cookbook out there in my opinion.

  15. Comment by

    Lulusoccerbabe

    on #

    There is way too many finger pointing as to who said what or did what or who’s this or that. Unless any of us know Ms. Silverstone personally, then we cannot say for sure as to whether she did or did not cheat with cheese. This article was not to demote her in any way but to show that we, as a vegan community, need to be careful in how we present ourselves and what our actions convey; and sitting here bickering amongst ourselves is not the smartest or even the kindest way to go about this.

  16. Comment by

    gagaforlulas

    on #

    I’m so grateful the Vegan Police responded pronto on this emergency! Really, what on earth would we do if we didn’t have people sitting at home, blogging about how someone’s not 100% vegan?!?! Those awful 99% vegans, gah! Good thing we called her out on it, right?? Phew, that was close.

    Alicia Silverstone has probably made more people go vegan than you ever will, and a post like this makes vegans look like total assholes. Yes, total assholes. If I weren’t vegan yet and checked out Supervegan.com to find a restaurant and saw this article, I would have probably brought up the militant tone of it the next time someone mentioned veganism. What a turnoff. It’s not like she’s Anna Wintour, using fur in a fashion line.

    Articles like this make me want to throw a moldy burrito out the window at someone. This condescending attitude doesn’t give us an “edge” or make us look like we care about animals. It makes us look like a bunch of jerks who want to talk shit, and I really hope Supervegan stops publishing lame articles like this. There’s plenty of positive material out there to write about. Good grief.

  17. Comment by

    Laura Leslie

    on #

    Stop gnashing your teeth about how we look to outsiders. SuperVegan is by and for vegans. It’s one of the rare places where we can have a conversation with each other without censoring ourselves in case the omnis might overhear.

  18. Comment by

    Alessandra

    on #

    There are enough people always picking at Vegans and Vegetarians, they are the ones who make themselves uncomfortable, who stress about it. I don’t want to judge or to stress about it, I just want to live with my choices, in peace :-)

  19. Comment by

    Carol

    on #

    I came to this site to learn more again being vegan but i am finding it a little too judgmental!

  20. Comment by

    gagaforlulas

    on #

    Laura, for me, being vegan isn’t about talking shit amongst other vegans. For me, connecting isn’t about talking shit about someone’s purity level and about how perfect we are. Its about reducing suffering and encouraging as many “omnis” to give veganism a try as possible. Its not about who “overhears” things. We shouldn’t be acting with arrogance in the first place about our veganism. Veganism itself isn’t perfect, as you know. Do all vegans purchase local goods made with fair labor practices 100% of the time? Absolutely not. So why rail on someone because of a slight rumor that they taste cheese once in a blue moon?

    If you really cared about animal suffering, instead of being self-righteous and judgmental, you would recognize the value in wanting to appeal to the masses of people who are not yet vegan.

    Alessandra, yes, the general public sometimes picks on vegetarians and vegans. Since we are still the minority, and more animals are being slaughtered for food each year, we need to avoid stooping to their level, and we must take the higher road in acting respectfully when it comes to situations like this, especially when we’re talking about an activist like Alicia. If its J.Lo or Anna Wintour, by all means, they deserve to be publicly humiliated for knowingly promoting fur. That’s a totally different scenario.

    Just consider how the animals would want to be represented. To outsiders, AND many fellow vegans, blogs like this are embarrassing when many of us work so hard encouraging others to make the slightest of changes, trying to convince others that you do not have to be an angry vegan who thinks they’re better than everyone.

  21. Comment by

    Roseann Marulli

    on #

    I understand what everyone is upset about–when there’s so much work to be done out there in the world, it would be nice to be able to present a unified front and always be supportive of each other. But I do feel the criticisms here are justified. First off, I thought Sam was very measured in her response, somewhat gentle even, but she has a right to her opinion. And I agree with her. Yes, it’s preferable that people eat and live vegan as much as possible rather than not at all, but I think the way Alicia phrased things is the problem. (And unless she comes out publicly and states that US twisted her words, I’m going to presume that what’s in quotes in the article is what she said as she said it.) She sounds more encouraging of eating cheese than apologetic for her slip-ups, and it’s not remembering animal suffering that brings her back but the fact that cheese just doesn’t taste as good to her anymore. (While that may be a tactic to show omnis that their palates would change and they wouldn’t miss cheese as much as they think they would, it’s just not clear enough.) What bothered me most, though, was her line about not being likable and being perceived as rigid and icy. People are going to judge and be threatened by us even if we are gentle and compassionate with them, as I always try to be. Food is a loaded issue, and omnis will always get defensive about it, whether we are “perfect” or not. I find the suggestion that being liked is more important than living by one’s principles absolutely absurd. And I certainly don’t equate sticking to a vegan diet and not slipping up with being icy and rigid. I’ve always been a fan of Alicia’s, and I know she’s inspired a lot of people to change their behavior. But if the point was to make the idea of a vegan diet less intimidating or scary, she could have phrased things very differently instead of making it seem as though going vegan will cause people to ostracize you and result in your losing your friends. We all know that can and unfortunately sometimes does happen, but why put that in people’s minds in the first place, and why suggest that giving in to that fear and betraying your ethics is an acceptable choice?

  22. Comment by

    because_its_realistic

    on #

    Sam: You said you were regarded with warmth and how good people are about responding or whatever- but then you mention your coworkers are waiting for you so much as to TOUCH a cookie and tell you you’re a BAD vegan.

    Laura Leslie confirmed that we arent exactly regarded with warmth (probably due to the above vegan elitist mentalities)- so much that we have to “censor” ourselves.

    atleast she’s raising awareness- and she’s being HONEST. she has that right.

    She never signed up to be the vegan spokesperson, and she has a right to draw the line somewhere.

    More importantly, you do know all the plastic ending up all over and in landfills and fields of soybean grown in response to a vegan diet has killed an infinite amount of animals and ecosystems. You’re not as vegan as you think, unless you’re growing your own vegetables.

  23. Comment by

    vegan4life

    on #

    I just have to comment one more time….

    First, the attacks against me and my comments are so mean-spirited. I have seen so many jump aboard the trendy vegan band wagon and then jump off when it got old, tired, or just too hard…these people make it hard for those of us who don’t want to “cheat”. How many of us have heard and have to fight with family members, friends, co-workers, etc. when they argue, “why can’t you just try….?” or whatever other pressure they put on you. Imagine a new vegan at Thanksgiving having to hear someone say, “Well, Alicia Silverstone eats cheese once in a while and is still a vegan…blah blah blah”

    As someone said earlier, Ms. Silverstone did not correct her statement (which she didn’t have to make at all in the interview), so one can assume it’s true. Remember, this is a woman who is making GOBS AND GOBS of money from selling her vegan cookbook. She is not donating every last penny of profit to charity. Thus, she can be held to a higher level of accountability. She has the right to eat what she wants, but when you write a book as she did, then there will be judgments made when you come off sounding like a hypocrite (sorry to be so rigid and icy). In short, she shouldn’t be promulgating negative stereotypes about vegans and perhaps she should lay off the booze (is what she is drinking vegan??)

    @MJ–you asked, ” But what have you done to promote a healthy eco-friendly lifestyle other than bash people?”

    I have served as a role model in the school I work in, started vegan clubs in the school (I am a public school teacher) and raised awareness among both my students and my fellow workers….in the most mellow and positive way. I am not a scowling, rigid and icy person. What have you done?

  24. Comment by

    Roseann Marulli

    on #

    because_its_realistic: With regard to your comments about plastic, I agree, it’s horrific what we’re doing to the planet. I think most of us here are conscious and concerned enough that we Freecycle, bring reusable bags to the store, buy bulk instead of packaged, etc. But you do realize that a huge percentage of soy and other crops are grown to feed animals farmed for food, don’t you? While it may be impossible to live an entirely cruelty-free life because there will always be some collateral damage along the line, eating as low as possible on the food chain will always result in infinitely less suffering than indulging in animal products.

  25. Comment by

    Laura Leslie

    on #

    Laura, for me, being vegan isn’t about talking shit amongst other vegans.

    Sam isn’t “talking shit”–she’s asking a serious question about the ethics of a prominent vegan’s public choices. You’re saying that vegans can’t have a debate in public about what is and isn’t acceptable in a vegan diet because an omni might see us from outside and think we’re weird? Newsflash: most of them already think we’re weird, and are going to keep thinking so no matter how how hard we try to appease them.

    If you really cared about animal suffering, instead of being self-righteous and judgmental, you would recognize the value in wanting to appeal to the masses of people who are not yet vegan.

    Is the people behind SuperVegan didn’t care about animal suffering, we wouldn’t be spending hundreds of hours of our lives running a vegan blog.

    Most vegans spend their lives surrounded by omnis and censoring themselves accordingly. It’s not easy being vegan in a non-vegan world, and part of the reason we made SuperVegan is so that vegans have a site that is by and for them and not about catering to the omnivores who might be reading.

  26. Comment by

    yehadut

    on #

    I’m totally with Alicia on this one. I encourage people to publicly say they eat an occasional piece of cheese, because it’s *good* for our cause.

    Veganism is not a religion, and coming across as super-rigid just alienates people. Veganism is a boycott, and eating a piece of freegan cheese from a plate at a cocktail party isn’t hurting any animals. On the contrary, it lets people know that veganism isn’t something severe and ascetic and rigid, that is, something unappealing to most people, something most people think they couldn’t do. Coming across as “normal” rather than “rigid and absolutist” gives others the better impression of vegans.

    I sympathize with the arguments being made on the other side, but my suggestion is that you show her statement to some meat eaters and ask them if it makes vegans seem like hypocrites, or if it makes them seem more reasonable.

    letting people know that this isn’t some

  27. Comment by

    BankBank

    on #

    cheese is fkn nasty

  28. Comment by

    Ben

    on #

    I randomly arrived to this blog by searching “Cheese” and a few other words out of a fit of random googleness, and I have to say, you people are insane. I didn’t even know that she was a vegan. I vaguely knew that vegan meant “vegetarian without dairy or eggs” and that’s about it. Apparently it also means that you’re free of common sense or basic decency. Maybe you ladies need to eat some animal protein some time so you can see how absurd this argument sounds. I am not even slightly interested in becoming part of your community. I’ve been learning a lot about vegetarianism lately, and it’s somewhat compelling, but I’m seeing now why so many vegetarians talk badly about vegans. If the 27 comments here are anything to go by, about 75% of vegans are grade A loonies. I’ll consider myself forewarned. I’m trying to figure out why it’s wrong for me to feed my kids eggs from the chickens that are running around behind our house, eating bugs and such. Apparently, it’s because some people are crazy.

  29. Comment by

    Marc

    on #

    Ben,

    Don’t judge vegans or tell them they need to eat animal protein.

    We are entitled to our opinion, just like you are entitled to feed your children the eggs from the chickens that you are keeping as EDIBLE SLAVES in your backyard

  30. Comment by

    Laura

    on #

    Alicia has actually made me want to try veganism because I can relate to her. I was vegetarian for 6 years and had thought about veganism, but everyone I know who follows a vegn diet, labels themselves and are very pushy. Now I understand It’s for a great cause, however some people find it hard to just completely stop everything they’ve ever known. For anything in life. Veganism is more than a diet, it’s a whole way of life. People like Alicia make it seem easier because they talk about steps. Or that it’s ok to not be perfect And label yourself right away, that the changes won’t happen over night and that we are human. It is your fault if you look at a celebrity and think they are super human and make no mistakes, not theirs. Her book has encouraged me to start in steps and feel comfortable that I don’t have to label myself. And if I slip up in the beginning, I don’t have to give up. I have been looking for a great, supporting website to help me along with this and this is where I stumbled. I can tell you, websites like this, with this sort of attitude will not help people become vegan. You just make yourself sound stuck up and too good for the rest of the world. And no one wants to become that.

  31. Comment by

    Kayla

    on #

    This is stupid. Alicia isn’t destroying the entire purpose of her lifestyle and diet regimen by saying it is OKAY to eat a piece now and then. She started her Vegan journey because she was on a quest to solve her skin issues – she has helped many people by telling them to avoid dairy and eat healthy. Why must you knock that? Jesus, I am a vegan but there is nothing more annoying than a vegan extremist. In order to co-exist you need to accept that other people will not live their lives EXACTLY how you live yours.

  32. Comment by

    shane

    on #

    ” In fact I’m high-fiving everyone, including Alicia, whose lifestyle is mostly vegan”

    there is no such thing as mostly Vegan. you are vegan or you really just do not understand equality

  33. Comment by

    Jessica

    on #

    Eating dairy is wrong. Posting up an article telling Alicia Silverstone not to raise awareness that she sometimes might eat cheese (and thereby raise awareness of exactly that) is stupid.

  34. Comment by

    Sally_mae

    on #

    Hello! Wow, what a turbulent thread. I know it is pretty old by now, but i think this is a really important issue. I am vegan, and i have been for over two years now. Alicia silverstone’s the kind diet is actually the book that inspired me to try veganism, and i wasn’t even a vegetarian before. That’s right, i went straight from an all you can eat chicken buffet eater to a vegan. At first i was going to try it just for 30 days, and at the end of thirty days, i decided to do it a little longer, and i am still vegan now- no cheating. And at first, the health benefits were my main motivation, but now that i have been vegan this long, i have to say that the ethical reasons are way more important to me than i realized before. For me, being a vegan is about compassion. And, it is NOT EASY. I am not still a vegan by accident. It is hard. It is a lifestyle choice that i am choosing to make, each new day, because i choose to live each day in a compassionate way. Slamming alicia for eating cheese off a platter at a party is NOT compassionate, nor is holding her responsible for veganism in general, simply because she has made money from the kind diet. I find many of the negative comments against her here truly uncompassionate and would urge vegans with these kinds of strong feelings to take a look at what really matters to them in their own lives and see if maybe something is missing. Because being vegan today is hard, and that does not give anyone the right to judge anyone else.

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