This is the story of how I went vegetarian for five days for Agroecology 103, starting Nov. 3 and ending Nov. 7. Previously I was going to go vegan, but after a mere day of effort, I gave in. I failed for three reasons: I had no plan, I struggled to find alternatives to meat not including dairy and eggs, and it was hard to contemplate being vegan let alone actually doing it.
By going vegetarian instead, I eliminated the problem of having to avoid dairy and eggs. And I did it with a plan, leaving my only excuse of backing out this time being, “It was too hard.” And if I back out with that being my only excuse, I’ll just look bad and I can’t have that.
- Sunday — Breakfast: Green smoothie*, Lunch: Gordon’s Burrito with extra black beans
- Monday — Breakfast: PB&Banana&Honey sandwich, Lunch: Blue smoothie**
- Tuesday — Same as Monday
- Wednesday — Breakfast: Overnight oats, Lunch: Sushi (veg)
- Thursday — Breakfast: Green or Blue smoothie depending on mood, Lunch: Something decadent
- Friday — Treat myself to Chicken Parmesan at Cento’s
- Dinner Options — 1) Pasta with red sauce, 2) Margherita pizza, 3) Fruit, 4) Vegetarian sushi, 5) Scrambled eggs on toast
- GREEN SMOOTHIE Ingredients: Oats (2 fl oz), Whole milk (6 fl oz), PB (3 fat tsp), Spinach (4 pinches), ½ banana, ½ apple, Honey (2 tsp)
- BLUE SMOOTHIE Ingredients: Oats (2 fl oz), Greek yog (4 fl oz), Whole milk (4 fl oz), PB (3 fat tsp), ½ banana, Honey (2 tsp), Blueberries to the top
Sunday, November 3rd: Day 1
For breakfast I had a green smoothie I made the night before. For more detail on that, see this article. If you cannot be bothered to do so — in summary: smoothies rock.
For a snack I had an asiago bagel and a clementine at Einstein Bros Bagels on State Street. Fighting the urge to order a ham and swiss asiago was hard, but it paid off as the bagel without that meager strip of ham and slice of cheese was $2 instead of closer to $6.
For lunch I had a burrito from Gordon’s, with double black beans (instead of meat), queso, shredded cheese, tomatoes, pico de gallo, black olives and red onions.
For dinner I had a burrito from Qdoba — a tradition on my dorm’s floor after a tiring day of football and homework. The kind man behind the counter let me try the Impossible Meat before he put it in my burrito. I am glad he did. It was revolting. Again, I went for a burrito with double black beans, queso, shredded cheese, tomatoes, salsa and red onions.
Monday, November 4th: Day 2
I had a peanut butter and banana and honey sandwich this morning. Made it with the left-over banana from making the blue smoothie. It was just what I needed before my run.
For lunch I tried a smoothie I came up with on Saturday. It was more of a juice in that it was so watery — not thick enough for me. But hey it was still tasty, and next time I make it I’ll just add more yogurt or peanut butter or something.
For dinner I had a favorite of mine, scrambled eggs on toast. I also downed an 1/8 of a gallon of whole milk because I was a bit peckish. Ingredients included 4 eggs, a fair amount of butter, dash of whole milk, 2 bits of bread and ketchup.
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Tuesday, November 5th: Day 3
For breakfast I had the same as yesterday on the way to class. My hands almost froze off.
For lunch I had the blue smoothie again, made last night. Put in more oats and the smoothie was more smoothie like.
Margherita pizza from Strada. I know it’s not healthy … but this diet change has made me cut down snacking dramatically, so I think it’s fair.
Entire bag of Lime Tostitos … all my buddies were getting chicken wings and I had to have something otherwise my will might’ve broken. Kind of want to take back what I said about not snacking anymore earlier.
Wednesday, November 6th: Day 4
Caprese sandwich from Rathskeller. Honestly just a grilled cheese with bells and whistles really. I was not too hungry after my binge eating yesterday.
For dinner I had sushi (imitation crab don’t worry), hummus, and Sun Chips.
Thursday, November 7th: Day 5
Had a dream with sausage rolls and Heinz baked beans. It got progressively better and better as the dream went on and my morning after got worse and worse. I had a double black bean burrito and my favorite chips to make up for it.
Went back to being healthy for the night. Had my blue smoothie!
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Second Dinner Because I Lack Self Control
I take it back. I tried out the vegetarian meatballs and honestly they were so much better than the impossible meat at Qdoba.
Friday, November 8th: Reflection
Before I embarked upon this odyssey of vegetarianism, I had to have the idea to go on this journey of self-discovery. This idea was born whilst writing my ‘Action Plan’ for this project. In that plan I wrote,
“Meat production and consumption is a comparatively wasteful use of resources that is unsustainable in the long run. While I love to splash out on a steak at my birthday and love a burger (I’m going to Mooyah’s right after I write this piece), meat heavy diets are bad for our environment. I want to try out being vegan to see if it’s doable for me, and then past that it might be an idea for me to be a vegan for 1 or 2 days every week. Even though I wouldn’t be a complete convert it would significantly reduce my consumption of animal products and I’ll be doing something positive for the environment.”
I went on to promise to,
“write a report on how it worked for me, it’s effects, and why it might be necessary for more people to go vegan.”
I really bungled all of that up considering I tried going vegan and miserably failed. However, I completely cut meat out of my diet for five days and to be honest it wasn’t that hard.
I never felt bloated after a meal. I lost a little bit of weight. I cut down on snacking significantly (had to take a picture with everything I ate). I had to stick to a meal plan — which I mostly did. All in all, I felt healthier.
The only downside was occasionally fantasizing about my favorite foods and not being able to have them.
Going vegetarian isn’t hard to do and only makes a slight difference in your own life — feel fitter, get a little hungry when you see a Brat. But it makes a huge impact on the world around us.
It may be necessary for more people to go vegan as Earth’s population grows and as the climate changes. Beef production uses up twenty times the land, and creates twenty times the emissions per gram of protein than beans per gram of protein. In addition to that meat production in general uses up to ten times more water than plant production while the creation of new pastures is a prime cause of deforestation, and is linked to 75% of all deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
Considering that we only have one planet and meat production uses up a ridiculous amount of its resources it wouldn’t hurt to cut down on meat consumption. When enough people choose to forgo meat, even if its just for 5 days, or for Meatless Mondays, whatever, it lowers the demand for meat and meat production will be decreased. Going vegetarian makes a difference and you can be that difference. Personally, I love meat and I am still planning to have a vegetarian diet more often. For one thing, only having meat occasionally makes it taste all the better — and after being a healthy vegetarian all week there’s hardly any guilt when getting a burger and a milkshake one or two meals a week. Being vegetarian part of the week isn’t hard and has only been beneficial for me, and considering its good for the planet too — you’ve just got to try it! What’s the worse that’ll happen?