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I’m sure everyone has heard of the vegan diet, but let me remind you. Vegan: a person who does not eat or use animal products. That means no meat, milk, cheese, butter, or eggs. After a week of going vegan, I’m going to share with you my favorite recipes, products, documentaries, and how I felt after seven days on this lifestyle.

Getting Educated 

Before I started my week, I wanted to make sure that I fully understood the purpose of the vegan message. For most of us, myself included, the idea of eating a predominately carb based diet can be terrifying. However, after watching some of the vegan documentaries on health, I understand why carbs are actually good for you. After a few documentaries in, I started to realize that veganism isn’t just about the food. There are so many reasons why people go vegan, and if you watch some of these documentaries you just might find your own reason to try the lifestyle. 

Here are some of the incredible documentaries I watched:

            1. Cowspiracy 

            2. What the Health

            3. Forks Over Knives

            4. Earthlings 

If documentaries aren’t your thing, then maybe check out YouTube for some vegan vloggers. Their “What I Eat in A Day” videos are pretty addicting, and you can’t deny they look aesthetic AF! They’re a great resource if you need some easy beginner recommendations, or are curious to see how real vegans live.

Vegan Meals and Recipes

When it came to planning meals, I was initially pretty overwhelmed. Going to Publix was a bit of a nightmare, and I quickly realized that there a million “almost vegan” foods that have unnecessary animal products in them. This was a tad frustrating, but once I had all my food for the week it actually became pretty easy. Majority of my diet this week included: fruits, vegetables, rice, beans, and potatoes. A diet of mainly healthy carbs kept me satisfied so I never experienced any real cravings, or fatigue. I had fun trying out different Pinterest recipes, although not practical for a busy college student. Good thing fruit is the ultimate fast food!

Here are some of the fun Pinterest recipes I followed throughout the week:

                        1. 15 Smoothie Bowls: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/380765343480856318/

                        2. Crispy Coconut Lime Baked Cauliflower: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/380765343490036469/

                        3. Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/380765343485015238/

                        4. Potato Cups with Loaded Guacamole: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/284712007670054145/

                        5. 8 Vegan “Nice” Creams: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/380765343486740970/

Cruelty-Free and Vegan Beauty Products 

When I began my week as a vegan, I knew that I wanted to fully immerse myself into the lifestyle. When it comes to beauty products, there are a surprising number of vegan, or cruelty free products. It was hard to find 100% vegan companies. However, many brands have a few vegan options from Tarte, Pixie Beauty, Urban Decay, Too Faced, and more. I was actually surprised to find that a lot of my own makeup and skincare was vegan. One of my favorite brands that I tried this week was the Pacifica. They were one of the only 100% vegan beauty and skincare company that I could find readily available. Their products ranged from vegan cleansers, facial masks, eyeshadow, mascara, and even nail polish. If you’re interested to see if your own makeup collection is vegan, most cruelty-free brands have a page on their website dedicated to the vegan products they carry.

End Of Week Recap

Going into this week I was a bit nervous as to what it may hold. I fully expected myself to be starving by day two and experiencing all the usual “dieting pains” such as headaches, and fatigue. However, much to my surprise, I actually felt pretty great all week. To be honest, I actually kind of forgot that I was eating vegan by the end of the week. Overall, this week was a great learning experience. There is so much more to veganism than the food, it’s about compassion. Compassion for animals, for our environment, and for our bodies. After this week, it’s easy to understand why so many have made the transition and I look forward to incorporating all aspects of the vegan lifestyle into my own life. 

Erika is currently a Senior at the University of Central Florida studying Business. When she's not in class or studying, she can be found painting, listening to obscure Spotify playlists, or binging the latest Netflix phenomena.
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