What is it really like to be a vegan?


Adrienne Revier

This tofu spring roll salad, was one of my favorite meals I made during the week!

Adrienne Revier, Staff Writer

Social events are synonymous with food, whether people are going out to dinner, watching a movie with snacks or simply grabbing a baked good off the dessert table at a party. This can make sticking to a vegan diet challenging. Vegans rarely get the chance to indulge at social gatherings in a carefree manner, which may scare some off from trying out veganism for fear of missing out. 

So, why would one choose to live a vegan lifestyle? Are there legitimate benefits to it? Finally, is veganism really as expensive and hard to achieve as it is perceived to be?

Being vegan means having a diet free of all animal products. Many vegans also cut out everything that uses animal products, such as using vegan face wash. There are many benefits attached to becoming vegan. For example, veganism will allow people to reduce their carbon footprint on the planet, it makes living a healthier lifestyle more obtainable and it may help people feel more energized. All of these are just a few of the benefits one may experience while living a vegan lifestyle. “Going vegan is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on the planet,” said theguardian.com. Little by little vegans can help conserve water, clean the soil, reduce energy consumption and even help combat world hunger. Of course, going vegan is helpful to overall health and helping the planet, but how exactly might one go about it?

 Committing to veganism is sure to produce a variety of questions and concerns for many people. They may be confused about what to eat and have trouble making sure their dietary needs are being met. They may also be concerned about dealing with the comments made by those around them. But who knows, going vegan may help one to become a better cook or discover new foods and or products they never would have thought of before. 

As a way to answer these questions, I decided the ultimate way was to dive headfirst into veganism and test it out for a week straight. Here is what was learned…

On the bright side, I already eat a variety of foods that are considered vegan. For starters, I almost only drink oat milk and I have experimented with replacing meat in a few dishes with foods such as chickpeas or tofu. Through the years, Pinterest has been a spectacular source for discovering delicious recipes to try. So, I, of course, wanted to browse the app in search of some delicious recipes that I could eat this week. 

As with any experiment, there are ups and downs. I will go ahead and get the bad stuff out of the way first. On day one, I went out to eat lunch at The Diner with a few fellow Statesman staff members. The menu there is filled with classic American comfort food which means there are few vegan options. Luckily, Agua Fresh is just next door, so we decided to walk over and grab some food to bring back to The Diner for me to enjoy. To our surprise, the waiter would not allow outside food in the restaurant leaving me to have to wait and eat my food after everyone else was finished. Eating vegan also meant I had to slightly alter dinners with my family. If they had chicken, I had tofu. A simple dinner such as tacos became more plain. Beyond beef was used instead of regular beef and sadly, no sour cream or cheese. The final drawback I experienced while living as a vegan, was the cost. For whatever reason, it seems healthier options while grocery shopping or going out to eat are always a bit pricier.

Do not get me wrong, not everything about being vegan was ideal, but it certainly was not all bad. The fact that I was only doing it for a week was a motivator for me. Knowing this made it easier to say no to cheese or baked treats. This diet is mainly focused on vegetables which means you always know you are eating healthy and you feel great. Being vegan forces one to look outside the box when preparing meals. While being vegan I got the chance to play around with new recipes and ingredients, which is definitely something I will be continuing.

After seven days of testing out veganism, I have come to the conclusion that a full vegan lifestyle is not for me. I love the idea of incorporating more of a plant-based lifestyle into my diet, but I could never fully give up some of my favorite animal products. 

Veganism is definitely something to transition slowly into. It requires a lot of commitment and planning. In order to live a successful vegan lifestyle, meal-prepping and packing along food to places that do not offer vegan options would be extremely beneficial. People will also need to prepare themselves for the expenses that come along with veganism. This lifestyle does provide many benefits, but it can also be very restricting which means it is not accommodating for everyone’s lifestyle.