I have always been the kind of person who thought veganism was ludicrous, and that it was an impossible lifestyle for me. Never eating a honey drizzled toast with goat cheese spread or gooey cheese pizza sounded depressing.  My morals and ethics were kicking me in the butt, especially after watching multiple documentaries about food production.

sweet, banana
Nadia Doris

After watching multiple documentaries about food production like Cowspiracy, Earthlings, and Food Inc., I was not exactly proud of eating eggs and bacon for breakfast, and then carnitas for dinner. After already saying no to beef in my diet for over two years, I thought, "okay, I should cut down on everything else I eat that contains animal products." This prompted me to go vegan for a week, and this is how it went.

During the week, breakfast was either a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, banana and blueberries or a slice of toast with almond butter and banana. Oatmeal for breakfast was another kicker for me since it was on my least favorite foods list but discovering there is more to oatmeal than just Quaker Oats packets was a sweet surprise. Thanks to the dining commons, I also had access to a tofu scramble dish with potatoes and a slice of toast. Usually I would have an egg (or two) cooked over easy with a sausage and a slice of toast, but this week was different.

citrus, toast, juice, orange
Emma Centeno

Lunch was a bit harder for me to restrain from dairy, especially in the dining commons. I had to keep my cool and walk past the tempting fettuccine bowls and pizza. The aroma of both were pulling me back, but I conquered. Instead, I reluctantly reached for the tofu and rice.

It only took me a couple of days to get tired of the tofu being served, so I decided to eat from the salad bar. Salad, however, is not my favorite thing to eat, so you can definitely say I had doubts about the salad bar. After giving the salads the side-eye I decided to serve myself a couple leaves of romaine lettuce. I piled on spoonfuls of garbanzo beans, red beans and corn. An addition of three lemon wedges and a serving of vegan pasta salad later, my plate is full. After enjoying my hearty bowl of food in which I would hardly classify as a salad, I realized how many more options there were to vegan food. The days I had left until the end of the week suddenly seemed more doable.

Dinner typically consisted of the same meals I ate for lunch. Otherwise, I would whip-up a fine smoothie bowl on my own or chow down on two slices of bread with avocado

Personally, I did not feel a big change in my body like I imagined I would, but I suppose that was because I was only vegan for a week. I did, however, notice a significant difference in my usually uneasy, anxious mood. I didn't notice this immediately, but I certainly felt uplifted and more positive by the end of the week. Although there could've been other factors that played into this, I'm convinced it was abstaining from meat and dairy that made me feel emotionally and mentally healthier, since only my diet was altered. Or, it might've been that I felt more moral for keeping the animals off my plate.   

Living on a plant-based diet is not just living off of lettuce and carrots. In fact, I learned that there is a wide variety of foods and creations to choose from on a vegan diet instead of eating like a rabbit. You can make tacos with jackfruit, orange "chicken" with cauliflower and pancakes with nondairy milks. It might just take a little inspiration from vegan bloggers or vegan cookbooks to realize that plant based diets can be delicious. At least that was the inspiration that I needed.

After this challenge that I set for myself, I realized how much meat I normally eat. I would consume about a serving of meat in every meal per day, and the dairy in my food never sat well in my stomach in the first place.

Nadia Doris

I am not completely ready to go vegan for the rest of my life, but I will certainly lay off the animal products from my diet from here on out. Vegans deserve a round of applause because abstaining from meat and dairy is quite difficult, at least for me personally. However, the lessons I learned from going vegan for a week can definitely apply to my lifestyle from now on.