Vegan diets are becoming more and more widespread, and there is a good reason for this. First, animals are put through pain and are not treated well before they are slaughtered. Second, the meat industry contributes largely to global warming. And finally, having a vegan diet reduces the risk of many cancers and diseases.
Two years ago, I did not know what veganism was. Eventually, I learned through my friends and the media about this type of diet. Nowadays, I have friends who post articles about being vegan and what they eat. Also, while I was traveling over winter break, I saw advertisements on the London tube about #Veganuary, which was a movement for going vegan during the entire month of January. I had considered going vegan in January, but at the time, I was traveling with my family and did not want to inconvenience them. Instead, I decided to go vegan during the month of February and let it be #Veganbruary, which is also a hashtag on social media, though not as popular as #Veganuary. I decided to try the diet my friends were raving about and see how it is.
On the night of January 31, the RAs in my dorm were hosting a late-night breakfast event, making waffles and pancakes with all kinds of toppings. I thought attending this event would be an enjoyable way to have one last non-vegan meal before committing on February 1. During the weekend beforehand, I had found some vegan breakfast bars as well as mac and cheese. For breakfast, I went to the vegan breakfast bar. That day, I ate a tofu bowl at Moe’s for lunch. I really missed having chicken and cheese in my bowl like I usually do. My bowl felt so empty without those ingredients.
The next day, I had the same breakfast. For lunch, I had a veggie wrap at Au Bon Pain, which was basically a salad in a tortilla. That evening, I ate at Au Bon Pain again and was so excited when I saw they had two vegan soup options. I also had a pretzel, cucumber and humus box, which was so delicious and is now one of my favorites. I eat soup and the pretzel box almost every other day right now.
For the third day, I had the same breakfast, a Subway Veggie Delite sandwich without cheese for lunch and vegan mac and cheese for dinner. The vegan mac and cheese tasted interesting. It had a taste that tried to emulate that of cheese but didn’t quite match. I still missed the taste of real cheese because it was one of my favorite foods.
My diet basically remained the same, with me not getting too creative for breakfast. My breakfasts most days either consisted of a bar or toast with vegan butter. I was so surprised that vegan butter almost tasted like regular butter. The spread I had bought was plant-oil-based with salt and it was really tasty. For lunch and dinner, typically, I would go to the on-campus restaurants and order items that were specified as vegan or find ways to veganize dishes that are custom made. I hadn’t been able to cook as much as I had wanted to, and some days I would get lazy and just eat vegan snacks for my meals, which includes packaged popcorn made with sunflower oil and salt as seasoning.
Throughout the week, I did have some physical changes as well. For one, my weight actually decreased. It was such a drastic drop that I was very concerned, but fortunately, I spoke with one of my vegan friends, and they told me that a huge drop in weight is normal since your body is losing a lot of water. Also, I had been feeling hungrier at the beginning since I did not know how to properly equate the normal meals I had before with vegan meals. Meat is generally very filling, so it was hard at first to find enough to eat that would keep me full and satisfied.
My week of going vegan went well, and surprisingly, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Vegan products are becoming more and more common as their benefits are becoming more widespread. For instance, vegan butter and cheese are great substitutes to veganize meals that are not thought to be vegan.
As I am writing this article, I am in the process of finishing the second week of my vegan diet. I am excited to continue eating vegan for the rest of this month. I really hope I can continue to learn more ways to make better choices with my diet and reap more of the benefits.
If you’ve always wanted to try a vegan diet, I highly recommend going for it. It never hurts to try something that will benefit animals, the planet and most importantly, yourself.