Every year since I was a freshman, I’ve made it a tradition to go vegan for the month of January. I’ve been vegetarian since I came to Colby, and probably would of started much earlier if it wasn’t for my parents, who practically forced chicken down my throat in high school. “You need PROTEIN!!” They would shout, then throw me a thigh. Transitioning to vegetarian was one of the most natural things for me. Maybe I was just born to be one. I didn’t crave meat at all, and I never felt weak or tired or anything like that. I found myself craving the very foods that had the things vegetarians are usually deficient in (iron, protein, etc) . I had never really cared for spinach or lentils before, but now I devoured plates of beans, eggs, and leafy greens like a pro. Sometimes friends would watch in amazement at the amount of spinach I could cram into my mouth in one sitting. Without a doubt, I was eating much healthier than I was before and I felt amazing.
Then, I decided to take it one step further and go vegan for a month. My first time around, freshman year, I went food shopping the first day I got back for Janplan. I bought a calcium supplement, soy-protein powder, and a huge thing of spinach. I was ready. My first time as a vegan in the dining hall, I found that it really wasn’t all that different from when I was a vegetarian. Now, though, I couldn’t get cheese on anything, or drink chocolate milk, or have dessert. Sounds easy yes? Well, to be honest, it wasn’t too bad, except maybe when they had carrot cake. Carrot cake is probably my most favorite thing on this earth in terms of desert, and every that day they have it in the dining hall automatically makes it a good day. So, yeah, walking past the desserts and seeing the carrot cake and having to keep walking was a little tough. But, the trouble really came outside of the dining hall. Going to restaurants with friends, for example, could be seriously frustrating. I didn’t want to be the kid who made things difficult, but it was really hard to find vegan options at a lot of these places. Usually, I would end up with a salad (no cheese!) and my friends would call me lame. Then, we would get back to campus and oh! It’s Janice’s birthday and my whole floor baked her cupcakes! I would take a longing look at the beautiful little packets of egg and milk and then walk back to my room to glug some yummy soy protein shake. (Just so everyone knows: soy protein shakes are probably the most disgusting thing ever invented. Like I cannot believe people actually drink that stuff all the time. There has to be a better way.)
In all, a vegan diet is interesting to try, and I do enjoy the challenge of exploring different options during the month of January. But, there is no way I could resist carrot cake every single day for the rest of my life. Maybe that’s just me.