I Tried Being Vegan for a Week...

Last week, I was scrolling through Netflix and just out of interest, decided to watch the new film documentary, The Game Changers, and oh my gosh….it didn’t disappoint! It’s about the benefits and effects of living on a plant-based diet. It doesn’t try and brainwash you into veganism; there are no horrible videos of animal farming abuse and no guilt-tripping tactics. James Wilks, a UFC fighter, travels the world and showcases elite athletes, special ops soldiers and scientists to reveal the truth about meat and protein. I could get into all the research and facts, but I will resist. Give it a watch and I think you’d share in my surprise and fascination. 

So, I thought I’d give veganism a go for a week. I wanted to see how hard it was and if I felt any changes. I cut out all foods from animal produce; dairy, eggs, meat and fish. Firstly, I did actually manage to complete the full week! I thought it was going to be a lot harder. It was a bit more effort to cook, in terms of having to plan in advance what I was going to eat because the majority of what I was eating was fresh food and would go out of date. 

However, a great bonus I found about being ‘vegan’ was how much cheaper my weekly shop was without meat and dairy. I didn’t buy any alternatives like Quorn because I wanted to see if I actually craved it in the first place. I mainly ate vegetables which are cheap when you compare them to the prices of meat and poultry. So, a cheaper weekly shop is always a plus for a student!

For the first couple of days, I found it difficult to come up with meal ideas and stay away from meat, but there are so many easy recipes to follow online and it did help that my housemate is a vegan, so she did help in showing me the ways. I had smoothies, pasta, sweet potatoes, quinoa, salads and fajitas (all of which were very tasty)! I realised meals like fajitas which I always thought HAD to have chicken in, are just as tasty, with vegetable alternatives (perhaps even better). 

I felt satisfied after a meal and I felt good; I didn’t feel over-full or bloated, which I find I sometimes get after eating meat or dairy. Also, I know it has only been a week, but I have found that I do not actually crave, nor want meat. I mainly eat chicken, and so I thought it would be hard to cut this out, but I have realised that having meat in my meals is more of a habit than a want. I automatically would think ‘chicken and salad’ for dinner, or ‘chicken and pasta’; but it turns out, you can eat a meal without chicken!

I can’t say that I massively noticed any changes in my energy levels, but that would probably come if I stuck with it for an extended length of time. Overall, I have enjoyed my ‘vegan week’; but will I stick with it? 

I have to say, I think I will carry on with not eating meat because I do not particularly miss it or crave it! I can quite easily live without dairy products because I don’t eat / drink a lot of them anyway. However, I do think I will have to return to eating eggs, because who doesn’t love a poached egg on toast? 

Ultimately, this week has definitely shown to me that it is a lot easier than you think to cut down on foods which are derived from animals. And even just cutting down on our meat intake by a little has a positive impact on the environment, animals and us. There are plenty of alternatives, it is just breaking the habit of incorporating meat into a meal. However, I do believe that you shouldn’t be too strict on yourself. I am going to continue on with a decreased intake of meat, dairy and fish, but, if I do fancy something, I will have it!