Vegan Challenge: Week 1,2, and 3

by Kshama Girish

When I went on my robotics trip to Chicago I was in a room with my good friends Maggie and AJ. While rooming with them for a mere 3 days I watched them give up so much food solely because they were gluten free, and, as a result, they had to come up with many alternatives. As an extreme food lover, it was a bit painful to watch. I wanted to understand how this would have an impact on me. A day later back from that trip it was just a casual day where I went on Buzzfeed and was watching their regular videos. After countless hours of watching their videos, I came across their video “Vegan for 30 days”. So I decided I would try it out for myself.

The first thing I did was contact my vegan friend Max Ligon from Twinsburg High school and get tips on how to be vegan and not fall into starvation mode, because you know, health/safety first. He told me it was crucial to make sure you find substitutes for protein. He said the usual beans and such would help with that. He even recommended a brand of protein shakes to drink as a meal substitute. He gave me names of stores close to me that carry a lot of vegan products.

The next step was informing my parents and see if they were up to it. Surprisingly my parents were really excited that I was going to try this vegan experiment for a month and told me that they would help by cooking separate food in days they ate meat.

The first day was absolute hell, no lie. I walked into the cafeteria feeling like I could not eat anything. So I decided that I would make a sandwich. When I walked up with my bread I realized that I couldn’t even use cheese! So instead I just had bread, lettuce and tomatoes and that was literally my sandwich and it wasn’t that great either. By dinner time I was so hungry, thankfully a lot of indian food is actually vegan. The second day was actually much harder because I was still deprived from yesterday, and I felt really tired. One good thing it that by the third day I had gotten used to quickly identifying what I could eat. I made sure to tell all of my friends that I was doing the 30 day vegan challenge so that they would make sure I would not slip. I continued the rest of the week eating berries for breakfast, peppers and mushrooms for lunch and Indian food for dinner. By the end of the first week I lost 5 pounds, which wasn’t healthy. I confronted my friend Max about this. I mean sure he was not a health consultant but I knew Max was a healthy guy as he ate healthy as well as exercised a lot and had the most experience of anyone I knew on being vegan. He said that I still had to make sure to get some sugar and fat in and most importantly protein. I realized that I ate absolutely no protein at all in my first week and no fat either!!

So by the second week I packed a lot of snacks to have in-between the day and I felt much less hungry and tired. I also made sure to drink the protein shake 3 times a week. The rest of the second week was all nice and swell until Saturday. On Saturday I went to a birthday party and there was so much cake and ice cream, and I couldn’t eat any of it which kind of sucked. But when I came back I was happy because I realized how many calories I saved but I was still a bit sour on missing out on part of the fun. The rest of the week went normal and another event came up, this one really important, my brother’s birthday! I was super upset that I would not be able too share the cake or pizza that we got him. However my mom bought home a little surprise for me, vegan pizza and cake and it’s was SOOO good. To be honest the pizza was the best pizza I had ever had and same with the cake! I also felt good eating it because it was all made out of natural ingredients.

I really liked this vegan challenge, and it was a bit stressful especially in public situation. However, it made me more cautious of what I was eating, and I had a much better mental state and felt really healthy, as well. I also lost some weight along the way and felt more in shape. I actually decided that I wanted to continue this for maybe another month and see how it goes! I definitely recommend to anyone who would want a new challenge.