Before I delve into this story, it is important that you know my background. I was raised on the classic Wisconsinite diet, consisting of meat, potatoes, and a ridiculous amount of cheese. Because of this, I never thought that veganism was a sustainable diet for my way of life. But last week, that changed.
I picked up the book, The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell. It reviews how certain diets can affect your health, not only how it affects you on a molecular level, but also how it affects the chances of experiencing heart disease and different kinds of cancers. The main line of thought throughout this book is that eating a clean, plant based diet can not only help you prevent any serious ailments in the future, but could potentially reverse some current ailments, such as heart disease and diabetes.
I wanted to try this “perfect diet” and decided to take the leap into veganism. Would I like it enough to make it a lifestyle? Would it just be a fad diet? I was determined to try being vegan for one week, eating at least 3 meals a day that didn’t contain any meat, eggs, dairy, or other animal proteins. I also wanted to take it a step further and add the stipulation that every meal I had needed at least one serving of raw fruits or vegetables. At the end of the week, I would see if I felt any better than I did on my usual, omnivorous diet.
The first day, I was very ready for the experiment. I went to the grocery store and bought loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as some meat alternatives and some whole grains. I looked up some vegan recipes and made some really delicious meals, and I was feeling very optimistic about my diet change.
The next few days were harder.
I was getting tired of eating the same oatmeal and salads every day, and needed a change. I felt like I had energy and wasn’t lethargic, and I had even gone more than 24 hours without heartburn, but I was just unenthusiastic about my options for food. I needed something hearty to fill me up. I would usually gravitate towards some mashed potatoes and gravy with some sort of meat, but the veganism really threw a wrench in those plans. I decided it was time to try going out to eat. I discovered a vegan Salisbury steak from Comet Café, and OH MY GOD, it was exactly what I needed. I had to check multiple times and make sure I wasn’t eating real meat! The way it tasted wasn’t even the best part. I didn’t feel sluggish after eating that heavy meal. Usually I would want to go right to sleep, but I felt full, but not disgusting and tired.
Near the end of the week, I was sleeping better, my acne was clearing up, I felt energized, and I even think I was in a better mood, but I just couldn’t kick my craving for meat. As soon as my week was up, I got a chicken and bacon sandwich and took a huge bite…
And it wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be.
I was honestly disappointed with the flavors, and the texture, and even the grease I used to love. Not to mention, I got instant heartburn and a stomachache for the rest of the night.
Now, it’s been almost one week of going back to my regular diet habits, and I still feel pretty crappy. I know going vegan is a process, and it’s almost inconceivable to be a perfect vegan right out the get go. This experiment did open my eyes though, and I want to try to weave more raw and vegan options into my diet. Maybe I will adopt a vegan lifestyle someday, but I have a lot of things to learn and try before I dedicate myself to a strict lifestyle change.