Veganism, defined as refraining from using or consuming products made by or from animals, has been trending positively in the past several years. Living the organic, natural, animal-product-free life seems to be the next big thing. While going vegan does have many health and ethical benefits, converting to a full vegan diet may sound difficult to some. I decided to try a vegan diet for a week with my friends to see what it's like.
I'm not going to lie, the idea of cutting the majority of foods I eat out of my diet was terrifying. My mornings usually consist of cereal with 2% milk or greek yogurt with a granola bar and fruit. As for lunch and dinner, I eat whatever I have in the fridge. Those leftovers are usually pasta, chicken, or soup. I also eat tuna and salmon with rice cakes quite often. Other than that, I don't eat meat or fish too often. I knew my main struggle was going to be giving up dairy, because I have a sweet tooth. I love all things dairy, from milk to cheese to yogurt and ice cream, and it was going to be hard to cut them out.
However, I try to eat as healthy as I can while still remaining on a budget. It is doable, although some foods might be a bit more expensive, but at the end of the day splurging a bit more on nutritious food rather than getting unhealthier options to save money is worth it.
There were a multitude of substitutes for food from my regular diet that I was able to find. If you happen to go on the same lifestyle change, Trader Joe's, Sprouts and Natural Grocers will be your best friends. They do have the tendency to be a bit pricey, so it would probably be a good idea to check Walmart too — however sometimes stores like Walmart will put even higher premiums on those items.
I went to a restaurant called Lovin' Spoonfuls at 2990 N. Campbell Ave. This eatery was incredible. I got a completely vegan meal for under $10. I ate grilled cheese with salad and a soy peanut butter and banana milkshake. Now you might be thinking, "Wait, grilled cheese isn't vegan." Well, vegan cheese exists.
One thing I noticed when I tried a vegan diet was that I had to make sure that all the food I was presented with was okay for me to eat. Restaurants won't always have vegan/vegetarian options clearly marked, so it was my job to make sure that I wasn't consuming anything made from animals. I found myself asking for bread without butter, salad without ranch dressing, tea without honey, etc. Sometimes it was a bit hard to refrain from the foods I liked, but almost always there were delicious substitutes that I was able to enjoy instead.
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