“Me-gan” is a term that describes someone whose diet is allergy free-ish, healthy-ish, fun-ish and restricted. No, “-ish” there. It is just plain ol’ restricted. How fun! (Said no one, ever).
No, you have not heard of a “Me-gan” before because my husband coined the term in the privacy of our kitchen about 2 years ago as a means of punning me out of a food depression. Things had gotten frustrating for me, the cooker of all allergy-friendly food and the provider of all melt-downs in a house filled with toddlers.
At it’s core, a me-gan diet is one that uses recipes from traditionally strict, healthy, and often ethical diets and then slightly bastardizes them for the good of the palate of the reluctant healthy eater.
Me-gan-ism is built upon five wobbly pillars:
A me-gan does not generally choose to be a me-gan. Most of us eat a restricted or specialized diet because we need to for medical reasons. We do it kicking and screaming, or at the very least, complaining about it all the time. We also talk way too much about the things we miss from our pre-diagnosis life.
A select few of us are me-gans because we want to be trendy without having to actually follow-through all the time. You know, kind of like that one guy you know who says he is vegan and then eats a whole bunch on brie at your dinner party. You know him.
This leads me to the incredibly crucial second point: a me-gan is NOT a vegan. Vegans are magical food-unicorns or “FooNicorns” who are driven by a deeply-held and passionate ethos that we applaud loudly. We, on the other hand, wish we cared about anything as much as a true vegan does. We have close friends, children, hot partners, vibrant communities, and we are passionate about the things we are passionate about but we do not have the capacity to care that much. About anything. It’s just how we’re hard-wired.
That is why a me-gan does not want anyone to think that she is a vegan or that she is pretending to be a vegan. No sir. A blogger, for example, who wanted to disrespectfully jump on the trendy vegan bandwagon might call a her site something like “The Christmas/Easter Vegan” (shout out to the Catholics in the back) or “The Half-Assed Vegan”. But she believes that even using the term “vegan” at all is disrespectful to an belief system that is so robust and strongly held. The term is, rather, a heartfelt homage to those who have saved my sanity in times of food-crisis.
A me-gan is the appropriate amount of lazy. She cares more about her mental health than her physical health any time the two are at odds, like when she stops at the gas station to buy that stale donut because it’s on her way home and she needs her pj’s, a treat and a good cry asap – and the co-op with the vegan cheesecake is an extra 20 minutes away. She needs a break and she takes one without an ounce of guilt. Yeah, girl. You are my kind of lady.
A me-gan is stingy. She does not have the money (or the time or desire) to be super trendy or super healthy. A me-gan’s moral compass is incredibly rickety and she will cut corners any time it suits their lifestyle or her credit card bill. Instead of buying vegan icing or spending an afternoon whipping up batches of coconut whipping cream, she buys the cheapest, diet-compliant Pillsbury frosting she can find and smothers it all over that nummy, succulent gas station donut. Well, who are we kidding – it never makes it on the donut. Mmmmmm. Finger frosting.
She’s not all bad though. A me-gan knows where her food comes from and cares about the treatment of animals – until it’s time to put ‘em in her belly, that is. She believes that commercial farming is amoral and definitely does not think that it is ok to keep animals harnessed to milking machines or in over-crowded cages. But she also doesn’t give herself a hard time when she doesn’t have ten minutes to defrost the ethical pork she got from the farm a few months ago and instead buys her chicken that day from some sort of drive thru. Something has to give sometimes. It keeps her from going postal.
A me-gan also cares about the treatment of the farmer and the farm laborer. Gasp. Who even cares about humans these days?! Freak. She tries to buy most of her meat and produce from local farms and her coffee and other accoutrements from fair trade sources. Maybe she makes her kids accompany her to volunteer farm clean-up days so they can see where their food comes from. She probably grows her own large vegetable garden and talks about grass fed shizz all the time. You might see her grow light shining its purple-hued beacon out of her dining room window on a lovely spring evening. Don’t get excited, it’s just pepper seedlings. Truly.
So if you are a lazy, stingy, reluctant, not-all-bad person who is being forced to eat a certain way because of a medical diagnosis, jump on the bandwagon! I’m so glad you are coming along for the ride!