Charity Morgan Explains The Meaning Behind Being Plegan - Exclusive

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As seen in the documentary, "The Game Changers," Charity Morgan is well known for inspiring her husband, former footballer Derrick Morgan, to go vegan in order to try to help some of the health issues the athlete was experiencing. Soon, many of his Tennessee Titans colleagues had done the same. But, when word got out that Morgan had converted some of her husband's teammates to veganism, she and the organization began to garner national recognition. But not all of it was good. 

In an exclusive interview with Mashed, the chef told us about the surprising negative messages she received on social media, with many vegans criticizing her for not talking about animal welfare and also attacking the team for still wearing leather shoes and playing with a leather ball. "It was so absurd, it pissed me off. I'm already a rebel at heart, so it was kind of like, 'You guys, I'm taking my ball, and I'm playing elsewhere,'" she said.

And she did, coming up with her idea of "pleganism," which she describes on her website as "a transitional space that refers to people that eat grains and animal-free diets, avoiding meat, fish, dairy, and eggs, but who may still use animal byproducts, such as leather." With the ongoing criticism, Morgan felt that she didn't fit into the vegan world — often scrutinized for not using enough whole foods or always cooking everything from scratch — and she wanted a term for those similarly looking to adopt a plant-based diet that maybe didn't fit into the fully vegan lifestyle to let them know they were included. 

As she adds on the website, "The term plegan is an inclusive space for people that have a non-animal-based diet. But it's also a non-exclusionary term for people growing in their awareness and consciousness, making an effort to discover the healthiest and most sustainable diet available."

Plegan is all about inclusiveness for anyone wanting to try eating plant-based

At times, the relentless pressure from the "do it or die" vegans made Charity Morgan want to quit being a plant-based chef. But, she realized that the athletes needed her, and her mission wasn't just about her anymore — she wanted to be a voice for people that felt they had to defend what and how they were eating. 

In her just-released cookbook, "Unbelievably Vegan: 100+ Life-Changing, Plant-Based Recipes," she explains that, in today's society, it is almost impossible to be 100% vegan. Products that we use every day, like fabric softener, tires, perfume, and even some gummy candies, can have animal ingredients in them. And Morgan doesn't want anyone to feel judged for being unable to fully commit to the full-on vegan lifestyle. 

"That's why I came up with plegan," she told Mashed, "because I wanted a place where people grow with their food knowledge, where I'm meeting you, and it's not a one-size-fits-all." There are absolutely no animal products in Morgan's recipes, but that doesn't mean she feels authorized to tell people how they should eat or live. "I'm here to inspire you, and empower you to eat more plant-based."

Charity Morgan's debut cookbook — "Unbelievably Vegan: 100+ Life-Changing, Plant-Based Recipes" — can be purchased on Amazon. And, Treeline Cheese is currently offering a special promotional package combining "Unbelievably Vegan" and eight plant-based cheeses, available now on their website.