How I (Almost) Survived Seven Long Days of Veganism

Lisa Simpson veg.png
Lisa Simpson in her pre-vegetarian days.
It's been one week since I pledged to abstain from all animal products, and I kept a journal to track my progress during the week. Here are some highlights for your amusement:

Monday, 10:30 a.m.: Day one. Cold-brewed coffee with a splash of almond milk and a vegan banana muffin for breakfast. I'm used to eggs in the morning but I can totally deal with this. Man, this vegan thing might not be too bad. Maybe I'll even go two weeks.

Monday, 8:52 p.m.: My fridge is embarrassingly bare. I eat an avocado, some fruit and crackers for dinner. My boyfriend is assembling a sandwich with last night's leftover steak and it smells delicious. I have an overwhelming urge to punch him in the balls. Is this normal?

Tuesday, 7:29 p.m.: Made potato, spinach and chickpea curry, plus basmati rice with saffron and cinnamon. I should've made veggie stock; cooking rice in water feels like a wasted opportunity to impart flavor. It's spicy as hell (used 2 and a half serranos) but really tasty.


Wednesday, 2:15 p.m.: Leftover curry tastes even better the next day. It seems like I'm hungry every 2 hours or so. Snacking on dried cherries and almonds.

Wednesday, 4:20 p.m.: Have to make cupcakes for a birthday party. Taste a tiny bit of Swiss buttercream off my finger to make sure it's right. Mmm, butter.

Wednesday, 7:50 p.m.: Attend a birthday dinner at Nate's, fried seafood mecca. I order grilled vegetables. And beer, lots of beer. I steal a fried oyster off someone's plate when no one's looking. It tastes of the ocean and guilt.

Wednesday, 11:45 p.m.: My boyfriend's cooking bacon. I hate you so hard. I distract myself with some Oreos and a glass of almond milk and go to bed.

Thursday: I'm running around and don't have a chance to eat anything after breakfast. Inhale a chocolate-hazelnut Larabar mid-afternoon so I don't pass out. The rest of my calories today come from cocktails; no egg whites, cream or honey, though! I'm feeling so very virtuous. And very drunk. I sleep better than I have all week.

Friday, 8:35 p.m.: My grand plans to whip up a vegan eggplant dish are quashed by an impromptu social event. I eat a Boca burger on my way out and die a little inside.

Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: I wake up with a wicked hangover and the thought of another vegan day does not appeal to my queasy stomach and dry mouth. My boyfriend mentions going to Uncle Uber's to grab a Cuban sandwich; my resolve weakened, I emphatically agree. With the first bite, all my troubles melt away into a mixture of savory pork fat and tangy mustard that drips onto my shirt. I have officially ended my vegan experiment two days early and I'm relieved.

I pretty much picked the worst possible time to attempt a vegan diet. I was cash-poor after bills and therefore grossly unprepared, and too busy to cook many meals. The point of this endeavor was to eat healthier, and I succeeded at times but ended up consuming a lot of sugar to try and satiate my cravings for meat and dairy. When I actually had time and resources to cook proper meals, I was reasonably satisfied, but eating out with friends at restaurants that weren't vegan-friendly felt like punishment.

I did learn a few things, though: Spicy food is satisfying food. Don't buy the protein-fortified almond milk, it tastes like vanilla chalk. Lots of processed foods are 99 percent vegan but sneak in whey right at the bottom of the ingredients list. Not everything needs to have cheese on it. Diets of any kind make me melancholy.

I'll try again someday; with proper preparation I think I'd make it all seven days and maybe even longer. For now it's back to our regularly scheduled Meatless Mondays. Now please excuse me, I've got some eggplant to roast.



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43 comments
King Triton
King Triton

 i see you invest all of your time to bollocks propaganda, and spreading such crud. congratulations, you win at life. P.S. Ursula from The Little Mermaid is a haggard, fat b----, and thats all we see when we look at your name. Enjoy your day, Ursula.

herpaderrrrrrrrrrrr
herpaderrrrrrrrrrrr

 yes, everyone, go vegan and dump your friends. that is what i get out of this. what a terrible, close-minded way of thinking... Drop everyone who thinks differently than you, and invest in hive-mind friends. If anyone wants to hang out exclusively with themselves, invest in cloning, cause i dont think anyone can stand being around "yes men" all day. pathetic way to live.

Mr. Peabody
Mr. Peabody

 captain vegan over here... your ideals belong on a smelly hippy farm. enjoy living the life of a hare, while the rest of us meat AND veg eaters (omnivore, you twit) live the life of proper, natural homosapiens. We aren't sodding dinosaurs... you close-minded veg-head. Its about balance. Say it with me, "B-A-L-A-N-C-E."

Mr. Peabody
Mr. Peabody

 over here, even with superior advancement in technology, we are still "hunter/gatherers." everyone is healthy, as usual. Its all about proper balance, not some silly lifestyle fad.

Guest
Guest

I just found your article - good for you for trying this! My husband and I decided just last night to go vegan, after watching the movie 'Vegucated". There are so many moral and health reasons to do this. I'm readying the "The China Study" now, and it's appalling what our society has taught us about meat. Meat is literally killing us. I hope you try to go vegan again - it will save your life!

Some Vegan Guy
Some Vegan Guy

As a vegan, this article didn’t bother me too much.

Yes, it does follow a certain trope as others have pointed out. Vegan blogs and forums link to these sorts of articles all the time and there’s quite a few of them that don’t offer anything the other ones didn’t. But at least the author was honest about her own shortcomings in approach, not the typical “I don’t know what I’m doing, ergo, veganism is dumb.”

So yeah, go for more well planned vegan meals when you can. Obviously you’re not one of those types of people who can’t fathom what to eat if there’s no animal products involved, so that’s not a problem.Just try to accumulate a few vegan meals here and there and maybe you’ll get a streak of a few meals in a row without too much mental effort.

Stake out some easy vegan fast food options. Chipotle black bean burrito. Chinese veggie take out. Indian grub. Massive salad from the salad place. Whatever.

Maybe even be vegan for mundane eating, like routine lunch and such, but ditch it when eating out with friends as to not complicate that aspect of your life, their by feeling miserable and making veganism seem like a negative chore. Also, eating vegan is just not going to work near the boyfriend hostile (yes, hostile) to veganism, so maybe make all non-boyfriend associated meals vegan for yourself.

Finally, while eating as a vegan, read as and learn as a vegan. Your disposition will actually be more receptive to the ethical ideas when you exclude animals from your diet. Seriously, there is actually psychology research that demonstrates this. While eating animals, your subconscious will rationalize away any suggestion that you shouldn’t. If you aren’t eating animal products, your mind will less biased against the idea that perhaps you don’t need to.

Oreos in the United States are vegan enough (well depends on a vegans position on enzymes and bone char used to whiten sugar). It’s been years (a couple decades maybe) since lard was used. Whey may be in weird foreign Oreos, but if you are in another country you shouldn’t be eating Oreos anyway. I stopped eating Oreos more because Kraft doesn’t really need my money. Better to buy vegan cookies from the health food store.

Finally, depending on how vegan a vegan wants to be, not all alcohol are vegan, but that’s level 2 veganism and nothing for you to get to concerned about. Aside from non-vegan beer, because the general rule of thumb is easy. German beers okay. British, avoid. American, usually okay. All else, depends, but there’s enough good German beer to choose from), I’m not all that particular, but I don’t drink that much anyway and as I get older, I get closer to consider teetotal-ling. But even for non-vegan wines and hard liquid, the non-vegan contaminants are at a parts per million ratio (if that) anyway.

Anyway, those details have more to do with (ethical) veganism, not so much plant-based health and environmental considerations.

I’m very impressed with your Meatless Mondays schdule, keep it up!

wawa
wawa

(comment from a meat eater that also likes vegetarian stuff) : Yep, Oreos are not vegan - they have whey derived from milk, so you might have well eaten some of that bacon! Sorry you had to booze it up to survive socially, ouch!

Pirh
Pirh

As longtime a vegan, what I take away from this is how saturated our culture still is with meat and dairy. I think the author might have had an easier time if her boyfriend/friends/etc were veggie or vegan and took her out to some places with options for her. It seems like she was totally isolated in meat-dairy land. No wonder it was so hard, especially since it sounds like she never really wanted to do it in the first place.

Trav
Trav

I have to commend your efforts. I believe the success of a change like veganism is in one's motivation for doing so. I have been vegan for over four years and its the compassion and empathy for animals that reminds me of my choice. I have an omni girlfriend and reading about your boyfriend's actions reminds me of how hard it can be when one is doing it alone. To give my girl credit she has become quite open-minded with my veganized recipes. But as you pointed out - social situations and resturants are tough. Education is a powerful thing for those that can have strong introspection and will. If you really want to look at future attempts really look into all the health implications of eating animals - flesh/fats/fluids. Personally I have to say nothing is more powerful then the documentaries on the subject.

Carl
Carl

Whitney, this sounds like my first 188 tries to guit smoking.

Mervis
Mervis

Bust out that fridge bacon fat girl!!!!!

trannyntraining
trannyntraining

Go full vegan and the next thing you know, you're standing on some corner in San Diego, rubbing one out(or in).

Emm
Emm

I say great job! I went vegetarian a few years ago to save money on my grocery bill (meat is expensive yo!) I've eaten vegetarian at home ever since. I occasionally splurge on a cheeseburger and when I do it tastes more delicious than when I ate them all the time. While meat in itself and in small (or proper) proportions isn't really unhealthy, the way we manufacture and consume it most definitely is. Since I went veg, not only do I have more money in the bank, I have more energy, lost a bunch of weight, don't have allergies anymore, and get sick less often. Just don't think of it as "giving stuff up," think of it as gaining other good stuff and expanding your palate. Plus with the calories you don't pile up from meat, you can drink more beer!

Serafina1107
Serafina1107

Is this seriously what the observer counts as valid journalism? This is beyond lame. What in the hell was the relevance or point of this article besides making the author look like a drunken, idiotic buffoon? 

Primi timpano
Primi timpano

Next time try less calorie dense snacks, e.g., fresh fruit instead of dried fruit, toasted Ezekiel beead instead of crackers, omit the nuts, use no oil salad dressing. Vegan diets can be very healthy but only if you greatly reduce the salt and oils. If you use a low/no salt and oil diet you will lower your blood pressure and reduce your bad cholesterol. While this may not seem a big deal in your salad days, it will make a huge difference in the future.

Iheartbabyjr
Iheartbabyjr

I really don't understand articles like this. They always chronicle some closed-minded meat-eater who forces him/herself to go vegan for a predetermined amount of time, where it seems the only reason they have for taking on this "challenge" is so that afterwards, they'll be able to claim that their week-long restrictive diet only reinforced their naive and ignorant idea about how bland, boring, and socially-inhibiting a vegan diet is. People don't go vegan without a goal, whether that be to minimize animal suffering, improve their health, or inflict less damage to the environment. You went vegan for a week with no goal in mind to keep you going, and without any real knowledge of vegan food choices? And you failed? DUH!

Anna Merlan
Anna Merlan

Girl, next time you try this you should have Sabra hummus with pine nuts on hand, plus baby carrots and pita for impromptu snacking. Beans and rice too. Complete proteins, yo! Portabello mushrooms are also super awesome for replacing meat in stir-frys, pastas, sandwiches, etc. 

On the other hand: I talk a good game, but lately all I want to eat is pizza. Do as I say, not as as I do.   

mark zero (Jason)
mark zero (Jason)

What're your goals in doing this? I'd suggest not going "whole hog" all at once, unless you're doing it for ideological reasons. If you're doing it for health reasons, you've made a good start with Meatless Mondays. Now try extending it to flexitarianism.

Tyler
Tyler

As was said by another person, when you look at anything as a "near end" diet, you're going to pine only for the light at the end of the tunnel. This sounds like a really sad, half-hearted attempt at veganism, if you can really call it that, because you didn't last more than 2 days. Where's the self will here? 

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

God put animals on this planet to be eaten. They are delicious and satisfying and should only incite guilt when you've paid $100 for a steak.

Dallas Vegan
Dallas Vegan

I have a buddy that's eats from two food groups - meat and milk - and *he* has the most pungent gas that I have ever been around. Just sayin'

That does sound like a pretty miserable week. I kinda don't even know what to say, I guess when you look at it as being a "restrictive diet," you're already setting yourself up for failure (as with every "diet"). 

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Dear JBS or SG,    Who is foodbitch again?  I'm not....right?

Thank you,     The Kerg's

just sayin'
just sayin'

I have a buddy thats a vegan and the guy has the most pungent gas that I have ever been around. The dude could rip one outside and you would think that we were all in a car.

Trav
Trav

Wawa - Oreos are vegan but they were not always so. The recipe once contained animal lard and whey. So you are correct on your assumption but the info isn't up to date. Needless to say they still aren't the best thing to eat but they are categorized as accidentally vegan.

Ursula2007
Ursula2007

Whitney, I totally agree with Trav. If you attempt this experiment again, set yourself up for success by enlisting a (good cook) vegan buddy to help you meal-plan and to take you to Dallas's best veg restaurants. In between meals, you can spend your time watching documentaries like "Earthlings," "The Cove," "Forks Over Knives," and "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" and reading books like "Eating Animals" and the plethora of fantastic vegan cookbooks out there.

And, point of note - you may go back and forth from eating a vegan diet, but if you ARE a vegan, you are one for life - unless your whole basis of morality changes - since the definition of "vegan" is based on minimizing the suffering of animals. It would be more accurate to refer to your experiment as an attempt to eat a purely plant-based diet. I daresay your troubles would not have melted away at the first taste of pork fat if you were fully aware of what the pig had to go through to become your dinner. I mean this in the kindest, least snarky way when I say that I hope your journalistic and culinary curiosity gets the better of you next time, and you find out how truly great it feels AND tastes to be a vegan!

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

 Now this is the way to convince the masses to try giving up meat.

Steve
Steve

 It is a blog, asscunt. 

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

 You know who are the best kinds of vegans? The ones that you don't know are vegan!

Whitney Filloon
Whitney Filloon

Yeah, health reasons -- going whole hog is definitely too restrictive for me, I think just having a few vegetarian/vegan meals each week will make more sense. If it was for ideological reasons I think I would've done much better, but my heart just wasn't in it. #veganfail

Primi timpano
Primi timpano

And this same god gave us free will and the ability to moderate our behavior. Meat made a lot if sense when were hunter gatherers and had a life expectancy of 30 years and heart disease and cancer were insignificant. Today we do not have the survival compulsion to rely on meat for calories or protein, plus we have the benefit of scientific evidence documenting its health detriments. And we have our god given free will to eat accordingly. The bible may state that god gave humans dominion over animals, but he also gave us a brain so that our exercise of this dominion need not be limited to their slaughter and consumption.

just sayin'
just sayin'

See, that right there is the reason that I can't stand some vegans. Not all, just the superior attitude of some. I said that my vegan buddy has the most rancid gas that I have ever been exposed to. You took it as a slight against vegans and just had to post that a meat eater has the worst gas that you have smelled. I hope you get a vegan medal for defending the honor of vegan farts.

Whitney Filloon
Whitney Filloon

Oh yeah, I totally doomed myself from the get-go.

I think being focused on going whole-hog for an entire week was my mistake--it makes more sense for me to just do one vegetarian/vegan meal at a time. The thought of no cheese/meat/eggs for an entire week just sent me into a downward spiral.

I just figured I'd offer an honest portrayal of my own experience, both good and bad.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

I was informed that foodbitch is foodbitch.  You are fooddick

Elena
Elena

 LOL! you should tell your friend to look up a food combining chart.

Whitney Filloon
Whitney Filloon

PETA sent me some info after I announced what I was attempting with lists of vegan products and Oreos were on there... Surprisingly!

Thanks for all the constructive advice, guys. I appreciate it.

ObserverFan
ObserverFan

You might not be so uptight if you ate some more meat

Iheartbabyjr
Iheartbabyjr

"The bible may state that god gave humans dominion over animals, but he also gave us a brain so that our exercise of this dominion need not be limited to their slaughter and consumption." This is one of the best replies to the "God gave us...." justification I've ever heard! It's hard for me to reply to the god arguement as an athiest, because I don't relate to it on ANY level, but you've just given me a perfect response!

Dallas Vegan
Dallas Vegan

You were anonymously "just sayin'" something funny and irrelevant to the conversation, so I figured I'd return the gesture. Why so touchy?

Ursula2007
Ursula2007

Whitney, I think the title of your article is (hopefully unintentionally) dishonest and deceptive. It should have been titled, "How I (Almost) Survived Seven Long Days of a Plant-Based Diet." If you wanted to try seven days of veganism, I would suggest forgetting about what you're going to eat, and start instead with reading books like "Eating Animals," "Slaughterhouse," "Meat Market" and "Animal Liberation", and then watching movies like "Earthlings," "The Cove," and "Meet Your Meat." THEN you could honestly title your article as an attempt to try "veganism" - and I double-dog dare you NOT to be a true vegan at the end of that process! THAT is an article I would love to read!

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