What I Learned Going Vegan for a Week

Last semester, I took a Buddhism course that related to the environment. For one of our assignments, we had to change something about our daily routine and be mindful and observe how my life changed because of my decision. I decided to use my week to be a vegan, which proved to be shocking to most people I told.  But I actually enjoyed the week (although finding food on campus wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be). Given that I eat on-campus, I figured finding food options would be easier and that it would also force me to try new foods.  But following through on that was pretty difficult.  In our dining hall, we have a section for Vegan/Kosher options (Kove), but I learned quickly that it’s not always open.  I ended up eating the same meals over and over. For lunches, I usually stuck with our sushi option, and for dinners, I’d eat whatever it was that was offered at the Kove.  If there was nothing that sounded appealing, I would resort to a salad.

I learned that being vegan is a lifestyle that takes lots of patience and mindfulness.  I remember on the first day I messed up when I chose a salad that had feta cheese in it. It took some time getting used to micromanaging my diet like I’d never done before.  I found that I enjoyed the repetition and lack of variance in my diet because I always knew what to choose to eat, making things faster and easier for me. Interestingly enough, the hardest part about the experience was going back to my normal diet. I hadn’t eaten dairy products for some time, so going back to that affected my body for a while. After this mindful observation, I wanted to go toward more of middleground: I decided to cut meat out of my diet.  Although I chose to go back to dairy, I’m proud of the ethical decision I made as a result of an experiment in my Buddhism class.