I went vegan for a week, ask me how I feel…
To bring more attention to the Ursuline Chronicle, I decided to put myself through a lot of pain and suffering so that people may end up reading this. A classmate and I went vegan for a week. I know a week does not sound like a long time but when you are restricted from eating or eating from “anything with a face,” as my dad would say, it goes by very slow. Upon telling my parents this idea, they decided that they would do it with me which then meant that my dog would have to go vegan as well with his table scraps, which he was NOT happy about. My father gets very grumpy if meat is not part of his meals. My mother said that, other than him converting to Catholicism, him going vegan for a week is the most shocking thing to happen during their marriage. My dietitian mother is not an advocate of extreme eating, but thought this would make for a good article so reluctantly obliged. Before I start this, veganism definitely has a lot of benefits toward the environment and your body as well. Cutting down on processed food and cutting out all meat and dairy clearly helps with supply and demand of our society and economy which makes you feel extremely good about yourself and what you are doing.
The first part of the adventure into veganism was the planning. Since my sisters were coming home for fall break (a.k.a. Food Fest of everything they miss), I had to plan it strategically a week before they came home so that we could bond over El Diablo steak tacos, homemade spaghetti and meatballs, buffalo chicken dip, more El Diablo. As I consider myself to be an extremely organized person, I made a short list of what I would eat which day along with snacks that would go along as well. So, my mom and I went shopping and bought everything for EVERY meal that we planned out. According to my chart, by the end of the week I think that my mom and I only ended up cooking about one or two of those meals and instead bought some things to make veganism easier like: vegan butter, vegan meat, vegan sausage for our “vegan barbeque” (before you run to the store, this was not as great as it sounds; I especially missed the normal cheese and pepperoni in my pasta salad). Another thing I noticed is that veganism uses a lot of quotation marks. Look at a menu at a vegan restaurant and you will see “cheese” or my favorite play on words: “chick’n nuggets”, these quotes mean this is not cheese at all. This is processed compounds in the hopes of resembling something like cheese, but it most definitely falls short and slips away as sure as the vegan butter liquified while sitting on the countertop.
The hardest part of my week was through events that my friend and I went to and could not eat ANYTHING. We had a team dinner Monday night where Mrs. Kenney had to make us vegan “corn dogs” as our teammates happily indulged on the pizza, caesar salad, pasta alla vodka, and multiple deserts. The team brunch Saturday morning turned into strictly fruit and a bagel with jelly. The next big event was a team tailgate after our Turf Bowl game where we watched subs and pizza being passed around us while we ate hummus and apple slices. After the tailgate, we went to another friend’s birthday party where cake and ice cream were not even options due to the milk and egg ingredients.
I realized that vegetarianism is much easier than veganism. My Italian genes longed for caprese salad, margherita pizza, and the penne alla vodka, which would have all been options had I not attempted to be such a try hard and opted for the more palatable vegetarian lifestyle.
Here is an example of one of the meals that my mom cooked. It is vegan tacos with soy substituted for the meat, guacamole as the base, rice, beans, mild pico, and mango salsa on flour tortillas.
Two things that I very quickly picked up on that I did not know of before I started was that I have never slept better than that week and I just felt better in general. Overall, going vegan benefits not only your own body, but also animals and the environment. Although I may have had lots of energy, my body wilted longing for UA Cafe necessities: chocolate chip cookies and muffins, which again, any Ursuline vegetarians could chop away smugly, while asking me how my righteous veganism was going.
My vegan week indeed ended after the 7 days. My family learned that meat does not have to be the center of every meal, as this week my mom delighted us with Thai Chili Cauliflower as an entree, and my dad and I happily ate it. Overall, I take my vegan week as inspiration to eat more fruits and vegetables, as my requisite 5 per day was definitely met that week. Vegans, I salute you, but let me finish my burger first.