The Lariat

I Went Vegan For A Week

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I Went Vegan For A Week

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image credited to inhabit.com

Kenzie Mikeska, Editor

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Veganism. That sacred cult of sapient humanitarians, lovers and protectors of the Earth and the animals that live upon it. Brave and noble people, they refuse to support the slaughtering of innocent animals and to in any way contribute to the soiling of the Earth. For one week, me and my fellow journalist Danielle Fischer decided to embrace the ways of the Vegan. No meat, no cheese, just straight veggies, fruit, quinoa and never satiated hunger.

When I informed other people about my transition from devoted carnivore to determined herbivore, they looked at me with blunt incredulity. Their eyes narrowed as they studied my person; concern and disbelief muddled in their gaze as they wondered what on God’s green Earth would compel me to participate in this self-inflicted torture. My own mother looked at me dubiously as I announced my new lifestyle to the kitchen. In fact, I knew the exact moment that played back in her mind as I resolved to cut off meat:

A fiveyear old Kenzie sat placidly in her car seat, her eyes glued to the passing terrain as the 1997 Toyota minivan passed the rolling fields of one of many farms in the North Carolina countryside. Cattle grazed peacefully on the grass, blissfully ignorant of the world around them, their ears negligently flapping to ward off flies. “Mommy,” the blonde little girl said wistfully from the backseat, “I love cows.” “Aw, I know baby, aren’t they cute?” answered her mother, a smile playing on her lips. The little girl didn’t move her eyes from the window as she uttered words most likely never before uttered by a small five year old child. “They’re tasty.”

Her eyebrow raised slightly as she looked at me, now 17, chin stubbornly raised as I pledged my devotion to all the cows of the earth; not for their delectable meat, but for their right as Mother Nature’s subjects to not be brutally and mercilessly slaughtered. For the cows, for the pigs, for the chickens, and for the Earth herself. I would go vegan and I would like it, gosh dang it!

The first day went great. I ate my salad for lunch. I had a plethora of vegan recipes saved on Pinterest. My vegan future was looking bright – I felt good, both mentally and physically, and I even made it through a workout without passing out from lack of nutrients (or lack of athletic finesse, but that’s besides the point). The second day went just as smoothly, though with the coming of the third day, the hunger began. Nothing I ate seemed to be able to satiate my hunger and cravings for filling foods such as meat and cheese. I ate a plethora of black beans in fear of developing a protein deficiency, and I don’t even like beans. Dedication people, dedication.

It was on the fourth day that the foundations of my willpower crumbled, and ultimately failed me.

Breakfast and lunch went great, no animal products to be tasted, seen, or heard. Then dinner came along. I walked into the kitchen, summoned by the succulent aroma of some unknown meal that my mother was cooking. I looked in the oven. The unknown food was bell peppers, stuffed with ground beef, rice, and topped with mozzarella cheese, melting seductively within its delectable veggie vessel. My mouth watered. I began to salivate. I turned towards my mother, that malevolent monster who apparently only wanted me to fail.

Long story short, I failed my own 5-day vegan challenge. That’s right. I couldn’t even make it through the fourth day, and I’m not ashamed. The vegan lifestyle is not the lifestyle for me, and I both acknowledge and accept that. Just because I don’t have the power of will to constrain my diet, however, doesn’t mean that the vegan diet is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I have a ton of respect for vegans. Keep it up, you veggie eating fiends. You’re doing great.

In more serious terms, going vegan to improve the environment and help fight global warming is a legitimate reason to opt for a plant-based lifestyle. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), agriculture is responsible for 18% of the total release of greenhouse gasses worldwide, proving cattle-breeding to be a major instigator of climate change (I may or may not have read this fact on Twitter right after I broke my diet. Cue the self-hatred). On top of the environmental reasons to go vegan, there’s also the fact that people go on it simply to pursue a healthier lifestyle. During the three days that I was vegan, I lost three pounds, I looked noticeably slimmer, and felt good about myself as a result.

Don’t get me wrong, the vegan lifestyle is not for everyone. It surely wasn’t for me. However, no matter what diet someone chooses to adopt, or lifestyle someone chooses to live, it is entirely their business and their choice. If you want to eliminate all animal products from your diet, go for it. If you want to only eat meat for the rest of your life, all the more power to you. Heck, if you want to say screw it and survive on only Twinkies and Pop-Tarts for the remainder of your days, don’t let society stop you! As for me, I plan on living the rest of my happy days eating steak and bacon to my heart’s content and never having to see another black bean again.

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I Went Vegan For A Week