What it’s really like to be vegan

February 6, 2017 — by Karen Chow

Sophomore explores the consequences of being vegan

During my freshman year, I watched as my friends took bites of their juicy meat-filled sandwiches while I crunched on bland carrots. My stomach yearned for just one bite of meat, but I knew I had to resist. I had chosen to be a vegan.

Being strict vegan meant that I could not eat or use any type of animal product, including eggs and leather jackets. Because of my previous lifestyle — one that involved eating steaks every other week — becoming vegan was definitely going to be tough.

It all began when I read online about all the health benefits that come with being vegan, such as a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease. I was also curious as to what effects being vegan would have on my daily life.

So I asked sophomore Gabriella Bilic, who has been vegan for five years, about her experience. She said that being a vegan made her healthier, more energetic and allowed her to lose a significant amount of weight.

After hearing all these positive results, I wanted to get rid of my junk food and milk tea to experience first-hand what veganism could really do for my energy-levels and daily life.

One year ago, I switched from one lifestyle to a completely opposite one in hopes that I would gain the kind of energy and positivity I had lacked in my life.

On the first day of my vegan venture, I packed myself carrots sticks, oranges, celery and almonds. I thought this rather large serving of vegan foods would last me the whole school day, and it did. However, even though my stomach felt full, I was still left unsatisfied.

Day after day, I felt more tired, and unlike the results I had hoped for, I had less energy than ever before. On the fourth day, despite eating five tangerines just an hour earlier, I was so hungry that without even thinking, I wolfed down half a pack of lunch meat. As I sat there savoring the taste of meat, going vegan completely slipped my mind. Only after I had finished half the pack did I realize I had broken from my vegan diet.

I felt ashamed that I could not even go an entire week without eating meat. I had never noticed how many animal products surrounded me. My fridge was completely full of meat and dairy, even the everyday shoes I wore were made of leather. There were so many temptations that I had to constantly control myself; over the years, animal products had become a staple in my life.

Even after this first mishap, I continued pursuing a vegan diet. Giving into my cravings only made me come back stronger and more aware of my cravings. But still, after a couple weeks, I realized that being vegan was making me unhappy.

I ended my vegan diet because of this, and I had never been so glad to eat meat again. But I am also happy to be able to say that I have experienced what it’s like to be vegan.

I used to hate vegetables, but now I have a newfound appreciation for them. I was able to be more creative with the foods I ate and even after I stopped my diet, I ate healthier. I may not be a vegan, but at least I’m far healthier than I used to be.

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