Last year, November began with World Vegan Day.

Now, the high priests and priestesses of veganism have decreed that the whole month will be World Vegan Month.

There’s real wind in the dried pineapple-leaf sails of the not-actually-radical idea of not eating or using animals, and I suppose I’m a case in point, having joined the meatless party last August after reading a Guardian article (how very millennial of me).

The only thing possibly holding veganism back now is the name. Because when even Linda McCartney buries the word “vegan” on its vegan supermarket bonanza, emblazoning them all with “vegetarian” instead, you know the term is seen as dead weight.

Maybe they should go with “plant-based”. To vegans, it's clear code for the green light to put the sausages straight in the basket without having to scour the ingredients list. For everyone else the cerebral warning sirens induced by the fear of the dryness that beset vegan products of old (so, around 10 years ago) seem to stay silent. Everybody wins.

Of course, the vegan police will remind me that is all well and good for food, but what about leather, Saharan camel rides, fur coats? And they’ll have to haul me to the cells because I don’t have much of an answer for them. Other than that, vegan leather can be made from things like apple peels. Aka plants.

But I know not all of veganism is about plants, and the word won’t always suit. So, what else?

The best potential answer I can come up with is that the vegan movement should remember the elephant in the room. That just like our tried-and-tested approach towards elephants, we don’t think it’s very nice to eat cows, pigs or chickens either.

Maybe if we labelled food “animal free”, more people would reach their own conclusion that they aren’t entirely at ease with eating animals either.

It would paint a dichotomy that reinforces the simple truth that pork is a word for pig that distances itself from the idea of it being one, and beef is an actual dead cow. Quite where those euphemisms came from, frankly I have no idea. Presumably "cow" sounded too unedifying in people’s minds.

But if the animal eaters can craft words that gloss over what it actually is they’re eating, I’m sure vegans can find some new term that sounds less hideously vacuous.

The word vegan needs changing not least because no-one seems to know what it means. I

t contains “veg” but then so does vegetarian, and that’s the full sum of the information that can be gleaned. Research for cake brand Bells & Whistles found that the second-most common Google search for “When can vegans …” is “… eat eggs?”. A popular finisher when researching “Is veganism …” is “… a religion?”. For the removal of doubt, the answer is “err, never?” for the former and “no” for the latter.

But for the dairy-free icing on the eggless cake of how meaningless the term is, some people even search “Do vegans eat meat?”, to which the obvious answer is, of course, “only very rarely when we really, really want to and when precisely no-one is watching”. I’m glad we cleared that up.

The word will naturally have come about in order to have a pithy term for a concept with clear parameters. Unfortunately, the succinctness it offers also forms a stick with which to beat veganism’s adherents. My family and I stumbled upon a restaurant calling itself a “Vegan rehab center” in South Carolina this summer, and much of social media relishes a bit of vegan-bashing too.

It may just be that an “animal product-free rehab center” would start to show how silly the hostility is.

If veganism is to continue to take off, we have to ditch the dirty label it’s come to be, even among the foremost vegan businesses. Vegans should remember it must be the concept behind it that we’re loyal to, not the V-word itself.

There’s something I’ll call the Schrodinger’s cat of veganism. It’s that non-vegans simultaneously hold vegans to be super healthy – to such levels that what they eat could only possibly be void of any of the joy and comfort of eating – and worryingly unhealthy.

I get my protein from plants, in case you are wondering – it’s really that simple. Did you know two slices of bread have eight grams of it? Now you do. The word simply puts people off, that much even the most hardcore vegan can surely admit.

Far better we focus on winning people over through blended cashew-nut-and-almond-milk cheesy pasta sauce and juicy vegan steaks than cling to a tainted word.

There are healthy vegans and there are unhealthy vegans, just like in the rest of the population. How liberating. You can have a diet consisting purely of Oreo cookies and still be vegan, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

The key to a person’s heart is through their stomach. If vegans are going to get a groundswell of regular meat-eaters to view the idea with fresh eyes – neither as inherently unhealthy nor healthy to the point of joylessness – they need only focus on the love affair with food that many experience when first overhauling their diet to focus on the versatility of plants.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Just don’t eat one.

Five fantastic animal-free treats ... just don't mention the V-word

1. Oreo: Lick it, twist it, dunk it in milk ... almond, of course.

2. Most spirits: While wine and beer can be a label-free non-vegan minefield to navigate, the hard stuff has you covered. Cheers!

3. Betty Crocker Devil Cake Mix: Just mix with a can of coke and a dash of baking powder. It sounds outlandish but it works.

4. Salt & Vinegar crisps: You may have to fall out of love with the cheesy crisp flavours, but at least this national favourite has your back.

5. Penne arrabbiata: If you steer clear of some of the more costly pastas, which sometimes include egg, this simple dish with its tomato and chilli sauce will fill you up.