Off to a Rough Start

For background information, read my previous post, "More Than a Project."

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Off to a Rough Start

Brooklyn Dilley, Story Editor

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“I could never do that.”

“I love bacon too much.”

“Won’t you miss cheese?”

These were just a few of the questions I received when I told my family and friends that I was going vegan. I honestly was afraid to tell them at first; I did not want to be laughed at or criticized. But I knew I would need a reason for turning down meat at dinner, so I had to just suck it up and tell them. And it honestly was not as bad as I was expecting. Sure, my family laughed and made jokes at first, but once they realized I was serious, they accepted my choice.

Only one of my friends really cared when I first told them – Jennifer Standish ‘20.  She, an avid meat lover, thought I was going crazy. “I was like, ‘How are you going to eat bratwurst?'” Standish said. “‘How are you still a Packers fan? How has your father not disowned you? I’m texting your brother because this is disgraceful.'”

But once again, as soon as Standish realized I had made up my mind about this, she stopped trying to convince me otherwise. Though she has yet to stop making jokes, she seems to respect my decision.

My first week of eating vegan was definitely hard, but doable. I had learned I was lactose intolerant a few months prior, but I continued to eat cheese, drink chocolate milk, and most of all, eat ice cream. I had never been a huge fan of meat anyway, so that was not as hard to give up, but boy did I miss my pizza.

Most vegans slowly ease into the diet, but I chose to instead quit eating animal products cold turkey. My cravings never reached the point that I was tempted to give in and eat animal products, so the method worked relatively well for me. I immediately noticed that my stomach was upset way less, which I attribute 100% to my cutting out dairy.

The downside to my quitting cold turkey was that I was extremely unprepared for the diet. I did not reach the nutritional aspect of my research until towards the end of my project, so for the first couple of weeks, I was living off of Oreos, fake meat, and almond milk. Due to this, I was not as ‘full of energy’ as other vegans had reported being, but I understood that that was most likely because of what I was eating. I just was not getting all of the nutrition that I needed.

I soon realized that if I was going to take this whole vegan thing seriously, I would need to eat healthy foods. Using Pinterest and the My Fitness Pal app, I began meal planning. While, at first, I was so happy to learn that many of my favorite junk foods were vegan, I knew that would not cut it. I would have to eat *gasp* vegetables.

I stocked up on Gardein meatless products to continue to ease me into the diet, but also began buying the few vegetables I actually liked. I researched recipes that would help me get my nutrients in, which conveniently also introduced me to more fruits, vegetables, and grains. I worked to cut packaged food out of my diet, and while I was not completely successful with my attempts, I definitely noticed a difference.

It took me about a month to really get the hang of being vegan. Okay, I thought to myself. Maybe I can actually do this.

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