Article by Darian Weldon | Photography by Caroline Cooney | Owl Staff
Last night I dreamt about eating beef teriyaki. I could taste the sweet savoriness of the meat; I could feel the sauce on my lips. When I woke up, my stomach was rumbling and growling, and nothing short of a meaty meal would satisfy the craving.
But I had to resist the urge; this dream occurred in the middle of a vegan diet I was trying for five days as an assignment for this publication. As a self-proclaimed carnivore, I knew it was going to be a challenge.
I reached out to fellow vegans, Abby Schaffer and Rachel Amrhein on how veganism affects their lives and how it makes them feel better.
Schaffer, who had been a vegetarian for 22 years for moral reasons, became a vegan because she was accepted into a study on the health benefits of becoming vegan by The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The study put her on a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, while minimizing oils that are processed and high in fat.
“The best part of being vegan is that I’ve lost 35 pounds. And it’s been easy to keep it off. 30 pounds came off in the first three months,” she says.
Amrhein became a vegan after four years of being a vegetarian to help animals and the environment. She says that “the first week of being vegan was hard because I was still figuring out what I could and couldn’t eat. After that week, it hasn’t been bad at all.”
Austin Brown, a yoga instructor and former bodybuilder who uses a vegan diet in his weight program, says it gives him “the clearest minded and bodied feeling I’ve ever experienced.”
Despite these positive testimonials, by day one, I was ready to give up. However, with support from fellow HCC student Alexis Knipe, I knew that I could do it. She encouraged me not to give up and also helped with my meal planning by telling me what restaurants had the best vegan options.
The week was challenging, I found that I was constantly hungry and couldn’t eat. A big adjustment was substituting meat as a protein source.
Vegans get a lot of protein from beans, and I don’t like beans. The only thing I found myself wanting over and over again was a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
So, eating vegan is not all bad. It made me feel better about myself. It can lead to more energy, lower health risks and weight loss.
This was a really weird yet fulfilling experience. I did have weight loss and that was honestly the best part. I learned that proper vegan detox is cleansing your body of all the unhealthy substances and taking in all the healthiness veganism has to offer, even if it isn’t beef teriyaki.