I committed to a vegan diet for five days

Carly Uhlig, Lifestyle Editor

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Junior Carly Uhlig makes potstickers during her week of veganism. This was one of the new recipes Uhlig learned how to make. Photo by Richard Chu.

Being a member of my family means barbeques on the weekend, cheese curds at the state fair and Grandma’s chicken casserole for dinner. So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to go vegan for a week. 

I started out with high hopes for this adventure. Even though I was only eating this plant-based diet for a week, I unrealistically expected to have more energy and radiant skin. I bought food basics like bread, vegetables and fruit, making a rough plan for meals I would make during the week. 

My journey began on Labor Day, when my grandparents invited my family over for a barbeque. I didn’t want to cook at their house, so I hauled over some rice and soup and called it a night. My grandparents didn’t understand why I was trying out this diet. They offered me hamburgers and chocolate milk, and I felt guilty denying it. 

By Tuesday, the cravings were consuming my mind. Someone mentioned a taco in my science class, and I spent 20 minutes thinking about my ideal taco. I settled on a corn tortilla, braised and pulled short rib, lettuce, a drizzle of spicy mayo and fresh slices of lime on the side. A lot of my meals were bland, and I needed a change.

I reached my low point on Wednesday night. After a long day of school, all I wanted was ice cream. I scoured my kitchen for so long that I ended up sitting on the floor, stressing about what I was going to pack for lunch the next day. 

Bad habits die hard. A classmate brought donuts to my physics class, and I immediately leapt up to have one. It was already in my stomach by the time I remembered I was supposed to be vegan. No regrets though, I needed that donut.

The initial groceries I bought were eaten quickly, and when I chose to eat out, it was definitely more expensive than fast-food or non-specialty items. Although produce isn’t as pricey as some might think, it can be a hassle to make multiple trips to the grocery store in a week. 

Excited to try new recipes, I invested two hours into making a meal of dumplings and zucchini on Sunday night. Sure, it took a lot longer than ordering take-out, but cooking has always been incredibly calming to me. 

There were only a handful of times when I felt truly satisfied throughout the week. Dinner wasn’t complete without dessert, and my lunches weren’t filling. I was uncomfortable when there wasn’t a quick snack to turn to or when I had to refuse a dish. I missed grilled cheese, bacon and pancakes. 

In the end, my irrational dream of growing gorgeous hair or increasing my stamina did not come true. Instead I was left with an empty wallet, guilty conscience and the same body I started the week with.

Veganism can be wonderful for those who want to charge their body with more raw, natural foods, but it definitely wasn’t fit for my lifestyle. 

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