Of all the List items I’ve checked off thus far, this one has been the most enlightening, Gentle Reader. I haven’t been able to keep up on this – poverty has a way of dictating what one can eat – but I definitely plan on incorporating some of what I’ve learned into my daily life.
The Task: Go Vegan for 1 Week
The Execution: When I mentioned that I’d be trying this to my Auntie Trin, she told me that a week was far too short – if I wanted to experience the effects of veganism, or truly see any of the changes and benefits it brings, I’d have to give it at least a month. So that was my plan – but I left my list requirements the same, just in case. I’d have to be strict for that first week, and everything after that was gravy.
With a bit of research and some advice from Ms. Spectacular (Former Vegan and secretly my Primary Medical Advisor) I was on my way to a strange adventure indeed.
The very first thing I learned was how concerned other people are with what you put into your body. Before I even started this experiment, I was being heckled. Sure, it was all in fun – but it got tiresome very, very, quickly; the same “jokes” from twenty people, fifty times a day – it gets old. Unbelievably old. People weren’t being malicious – I need to stress this, because by the time I actually changed my diet, I was losing my certainty – it Just. Never. Stops. What struck me as strange was that I wasn’t bringing up the changes to my diet – not unless I had to, in a “No, thanks – I can’t have that” sort of situation – it was always other people bringing up my choices. What’s worse, I’ve been that guy – I’ve done that to friends in the past. I’m really sorry, guys.
My beloved Ms. Capere shared an essay she’d written, Anxiety Came to Tea, exploring the ethics of eating, among other things. It illuminated a lot of issues that hadn’t even crossed my mind – cruelty, sustainability, food’s effects on the body – consuming the suffering of others. There are still many ideas that I’m still digesting, and in my current financial situation, unless I want to live strictly on lentils and rice – which are awful on their own after just two days, by the way* – it’s nearly impossible to eat without cruelty being involved.
Physical changes happened very quickly. I fit into a size 10 for the first time in years. I was constantly running to the restroom, and I found that if I didn’t eat every four hours I would get both extremely angry and extremely light-headed. That, actually, is why I ended up giving in – after three days on the road, I had neglected to bring enough snacks; I was on foot, walking to the bus for the next leg of my trip, and nearly fainted. The only available, affordable, option (apart from passing out in the street) was fast food. And that was that.
The Verdict: I absolutely want to use what I’ve learned in my daily habits. It’s important, for myriad health reasons alone, to be mindful of what we put into our bodies – and not enough people even consider what they’re eating. I didn’t miss meat at all – and I hardly missed dairy; Chèvre and caviar were the only things I missed at all, and I don’t have those that often, anyway.
I’ve definitely got a lot to chew over, but this was an excellent experience that I heartily recommend.
* Lentils and Rice: When I was practicing being a hobo in preparation for the cancelled Europe Trip, I had it on good authority that Lentils and Rice contain all the nutrients you need to survive, and are so cheap as to be basically free, so I lived exclusively on them for at least a month. It was horrible.