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Food Court: First person experience: Veganism involves more than giving up meat

Karla Rendon
Staff Writer

Veganism is the practice of refraining from animal products in one’s diet and life style. But what some people fail to realize is that veganism is more than just a diet; it is also a lifestyle.

Adhering to the constraints that lifestyle means to abstain from eating cheese, most cookies, Jell-O and not wearing leather, wool and suede. According to a Gallup poll, 2 percent of Americans consider themselves vegan.

Although some consider veganism too restrictive, I volunteered to become vegan for a week and share my experience with the Campus Times.

I assumed it wouldn’t be a dramatic change to my diet since I am already a pescetarian, someone who doesn’t eat meat but eats fish, but it’s different not wearing my Dr. Martens or lipstick for seven days.

Several doctors say veganism reduces the chance of diabetes and heart diseases; however, others argue that veganism can lead to poor nutrition and lethargy.

In preparation of my experiment, I searched online for several ingredients I wouldn’t be able to consume, tried to wear animal-friendly clothes and went to Trader Joe’s for animal-free grocery shopping.

During this preparation, I also spoke with freshman criminology major and president and founder of The Reaching Out for Animal Rights club Leah Parkhurst for advice since she is vegan.

“Go vegetarian first,” Parkhurst said. “If your body is OK and you aren’t sick, then cut out milk, then cheese and things that have animal products in it. Take a couple of weeks to take out things and get vitamins.”

Throughout the week, my diet consisted of salads, fruits, nuts and meat alternatives such as soy chorizo and crispy chickenless tenders.

Since I was not used to suddenly cutting animal products from my diet, I constantly felt hungry even after I would eat. I found myself eating fries often throughout the week to satisfy my hunger.

As the week went on, veganism became easier since I was getting used to not having any animal product in my diet.

As for clothing, that was easy to manage since I didn’t feel much of an abrupt change.

Once the week was over and I had my first non-vegan meal, I felt incredibly heavy with the sudden intake of milk and cheese. Even though I only ate vegan for a week, the affect it had on my body made me feel disgusted with my first non-vegan meal.

My advice to anyone who is interested is to research as much as possible. In addition to looking up further information about veganism, take Parkhurst’s advice of taking veganism step by step instead of making the sudden change.

I feel this would make it easier and make the temptation of quitting less likely.

Not only that but to see if your body reacts positively to this sort of change.

I failed to follow her advice since I took advantage of being able to eat animal products a day before my week started.

I regret the decision since the temptation to eat animal products was high and my body reacted negatively to my sudden change in diet.

Karla Rendon can be reached at

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