Going vegan seems to be the new trend these days. Everyone’s eating healthy, ditching the animals, and sourcing all their foods and products from local producers. It seems to be the perfect way to stay healthy and get all your nutrients. So when my two best friends went vegan and introduced me to the vegan diet, I decided to give it a shot.
I had a strong start. I really did. I even ate salad (a rarity for me). I dramatically increased my fruit and vegetable intake — I planned my meals around main courses made primarily of fruits and vegetables and was able to incorporate some unique new recipes. I even started my own Pinterest board of vegan foods. It’s fair to say that I had completely hopped on the vegan bandwagon.
That kind of motivation was short lived though. Especially when I went to Whole Foods for two items and ended up spending $50. Going vegan is a dramatic life change, and the fact is, you have to be really really committed to it.
I wasn’t. I wanted to implement healthy eating habits into my diet and I only kind of did. Yes, I ate more fruits and vegetables, but I also ate a TON more carbs. Pasta. Rice. More pasta. Potatoes.
Carbohydrates are great, to an extent. During this month, I never really felt satisfied only eating fruits and veggies. I needed other things in my diet.
Breakfast was especially difficult since I am an egg-lover. It basically came down to oatmeal, fruit, and toast for me. I did discover a love for avocado toast, but again, carbs. Most of my meals ended being either vegetable sitr-fry with rice or pasta with pesto and potatoes.
At the end of the month, I started realizing a couple of things:
- Going out to eat at all my favorite restaurants become pointless because I couldn’t order my favorites foods.
- Going out to eat anywhere was nearly impossible because everywhere uses butter.
- I actually cried when I saw my dad making chocolate chip cookies.
- I became a huge pain in the ass to feed (sorry Dad).
- Vegan food is expensive, which is not ideal for a broke college student.
- I really just needed some non-vegan mac n’ cheese.
I decided not to continue my vegan journey because my heart just truly wasn’t in it. As much as I wish it was, I really did not enjoy eating vegan. It dictated my life and became too much of a hassle. I gained a lot of respect for those that can dedicate themselves to this diet, because it is an awesome way to eat.
I see food in a different way. Food is an expression of yourself and should make you happy. I want to eat foods that make me feel good, that make me smile, and that I can share with others. I want food to be easy. Meals should be enjoyed. I don’t want to waste any of my days denying myself the foods I love.
It also occurred to me that I was eating a ton more processed foods while attempting to stay vegan. Everything from vegan cheese to vegan sour cream to vegan mayonnaise. What ingredients are even in these products anyways?
Life is short. Eat whatever the hell you want. If I died tomorrow, I would have been pretty mad about not eating that last piece of chocolate cake.
For all of you that have a strong passion to veer away from animal products, I respect you. I love animals just as much as the next person. But I was raised eating dairy and meat and that is the way I intend to live. Especially because I am Greek and run the risk of becoming disowned if I turn down lamb.
Plus, how can you say no to this?