How do you pronounce "vegan"? And why?

A couple of nights ago I was watching a rerun of Top Chef Masters (from Season 1) and heard this word that sounded like "weegan" . It took me a while before I realized that they were talking about or considered themselves "vegans" a word I have always pronounced "vaygens" sort of from "vegetables", I don't understand why the long "e" - could somebody please enlighten me?

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