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I Tried Going Vegan for a Week & Here’s What Happened

Before this past year of my life, I swore I could never be a vegetarian, much less a vegan. I mean, how did people do it? I enjoyed melted cheese and chicken nuggets way too much to even consider switching my diet around.

I decided to challenge myself by going vegan for just a week.

I did this to test myself and after doing extensive research on plant-based diets and their benefits on PETA ‘s website. As if thinking about the unethical treatment of animals wasn’t already enough to change my mind and go vegan, I found out about the effects that the meat and dairy industries had on the environment as a whole. As it turns out, these industries are responsible for at least 51% of greenhouse-gas emissions. By cutting out just meat, I would be helping make a significant change for the environment, as well as the animals.

So, I went for it: vegan for just a week, just to see if I could do it.

I planned out a week’s worth of meals and snacks to keep myself on track. Before this, I was never really fond of tofu, but boy did I come around. I stayed eating a vegan diet for a week, and after it was over, decided that I would eat vegan when I could, but would always remain a vegetarian. I cut meat out of my diet cold turkey (ha!) and it changed my life.

For one, my body just felt better without the additional cholesterol and fats from eating meat.

I felt good running on tofu, fresh vegetables, and fruits. It wasn’t too difficult to make that switch either.

Fortunately, Mason offers a good amount of vegetarian options across dining halls and chain stores.

Panera has veggie salads, soups, and sandwiches, Starbucks has vegan options, the Freshens had ready-made veggie rolls- I couldn’t ask for more from a college campus. In addition, I started packing my own lunches too, and started saving a lot of money on my college-student-budget that way.  Luckily, there’s a Trader Joe’s just down the street form campus, and they’ve got an extensive variety of vegan/vegetarian options- from frozen meals to produce and snacks.

My pickiness when it comes to certain foods has gotten better as well, which I am proud of.

I didn’t used to like mushrooms, tofu, or peppers all that much, but experimenting and trying new vegetarian recipes has helped me come around.

I was surprised by the simplicity of going vegetarian.

It required a lot less effort than I anticipated, and was better for my college budget. For instance, a package of tofu cost me around $2, and would last about a week in my fridge. A package of frozen berries cost around $8, and would last up to 3 weeks. I found that it’s really all about budgeting and planning in terms of finances.

All in all, my diet isn’t tricky or hard to follow.

From it, I have learned that with just a little effort and planning, you can make big changes to your body and to the environment.

Nancy Nyamaa

George Mason University '19

Nancy is currently a senior at George Mason majoring in communication (concentration in journalism) and minoring in conflict analysis & resolution. She's passionate about true crime podcasts, baking, and editing. After she graduates she hopes to pursue a career in journalism and eventually go to grad school.
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