When I first saw them, I couldn’t believe it.  I had been searching so long for them.  Well, maybe not them per se, but something like them.  I excitedly grabbed them and, after double checking the back, ran full speed to buy them.

I couldn’t wait.  I told the cashier that I didn’t need a bag as I handed her my money.  I ran a hundred different scenarios in my head, trying to remember of all the ways that I had previously thought of if I ever found them.  Did I have everything I needed?

I walked outside the store and looked around.  Could everyone tell how happy I was?  How greedy?  As I walked to my car, I used my teeth to open the sleeve and pull out that first delicate piece and took a bite.  I was in heaven.

I polished off the first sleeve even before I made it home.  Once I arrived however, I immediately grabbed the jar of peanut butter.  Oh, this was going to be good.  As I slapped the first “sandwich” together I kept thinking how strange I had never seen this brand before.  I’ve been seeking out these for such a long time, to come across them so easily- well, it was odd.

The rest of the day and night passed with me in a wonderful, almost childlike, exuberance- polishing off sleeve after sleeve of deliciousness.  It wasn’t until the next morning that the bliss I enjoyed the day and night before came unraveled.

I was making lunch, something healthy after my over-snacking from the day before, and I opened the cupboard to grab something.  The box of goodness, ripped and crumpled from use, had been thrown in there from the night before and now rested on it’s side.  As I reached passed it, something caught my eye.  What was that, why do they print words so small on boxes?  I looked and did a double-take.  I grabbed the box, looked at it with regret, and dumped it straight into the trash*.

Now what?  I’m an ethical vegan.  Do I tell people?  I run a vegan website, are they going to find out?  Are people going to think I’m dumb?  That I did it on purpose?  Should I have wasted the food?  What is an ethical vegan to do when they find out they’ve unknowingly ate part of an animal?

You learn, grow, and evolve.  Remember that veganism is a journey and that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s easier to make mistakes than it is not to.  The important thing is that you never give up, never stop trying, and never stop learning.  And don’t forget, if you do make a mistake- let other people know.  Vegans need to share information so we all can benefit from it.  Talk about it on Twitter, talk about it on Facebook.  Veganism is not about perfection, it’s about compassion- it’s also about unlearning a learned behaviors.  You are still a vegan if you make a mistake and eat a non-vegan food, promise.

So, what did I eat?  New Morning Cinnamon Graham Crackers and they contain honey.  Honey comes from a bee, which is an animal.  Honestly, I read the box, looked for honey- it’s common in graham crackers.  But this time, this time I missed it and I nearly polished off an entire box (we’ll talk about my eating habits later, thank you very much) before I realized what I was eating.

Confession, I am an ethical vegan and I [unknowingly] ate honey and liked it.  But now that I know [and since my taste preferences do not define my morals or ethics], I learned from my mistake.  And because I did, I’ll never buy New Morning Cinnamon Graham Crackers ever again.  They are not vegan.

Feel free to leave your own confession below.  There will be no judging, no berating- just learning from each other.

[Update] *As evidenced above, I ate nearly the entire box of graham crackers before I realized my mistake. I threw 2 graham crackers in the garbage in lieu of eating them. I felt then, as I do now, that I didn’t want to consume any more animal products than I already had.  The folks who are mentioning not throwing away food are right. I should have given them to the birds or friends.  Which just further demonstrates the point of this post- mistakes happen.  We learn from them and move on.  I continue to evolve in my veganism, this story is only one example of that.