One Week Diet DiariesThe One Week Diet Diaries: It Ain't Easy Bein' VeganKaren Belz

I just want to state something first and foremost: A vegan diet definitely isn’t a “fad diet”. Sure, some people might think of adopting the diet in that way, but for most, it’s based on a complete lifestyle change. Something I’ve learned this week is that veganism is hard work. But, we’ll get into that later.

Veganism is defined as abstaining from all animal products – while vegetarians avoid eating meat, vegans avoid products that were created by animals. Milk, eggs, cheese, and clothing made from animals as well. I figured I could easily adapt to a vegan diet because I practiced vegetarianism for around 7 years. I gave it up about two years ago, because – well, you know, bacon. (I mean – my husband Greg does most of the cooking, and also – bacon.)

This week has been one of the most challenging and rewarding weeks of my recent life, and I’d love to share it with you if you’re thinking about becoming vegan/want to be highly entertained. Instead of taking pictures of my food (I tried, but the fuzzy pictures of black beans I took would depict this project as being similar to “I was in jail for a week, here’s what they fed me!”) I decided to illustrate as I would with a real diary – with the magic of MSPaint.

If you don’t believe my love of MSPaint, here’s a drawing I did of “Sexy Puumba” back in 2008.

sexypuumba

But back to the important stuff! I started on Wednesday, May 15th. My grocery day is Tuesday, so I figured I could stock up on all the food I needed if I started mid-week. Turns out, I did a very poor job of this.

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

I must have had about 40 nightmares on Tuesday night leading into Wednesday, and the first thought I had upon waking up was, “I can’t have greek yogurt today?!” Typically I start my day with a Chobani, but this morning was a new chapter.

While downstairs, I tripped over two bags of unpacked groceries before settling on a banana, a glass of orange juice, and the blandest granola bar I ever ate in my life.

I warned my boss about vegan week prior to – while making sure to choose a diet from the HelloGiggles list that would accommodate an 8-5 job, I’m a very scheduled person and knew that a change as minimal as a lack of a morning yogurt would affect me. Upon entering, he asked me if I was as grumpy as I had predicted I’d be. I totally was. But maybe it was the nightmares, and not the bland granola.

For lunch, I had white rice and black beans. Yet by 12:45, while prepping, I was hangry as all get-out, and almost punched a wall after not finding a can opener for a solid 5 minutes. It ended up being in the sink.

For dinner, it was a spinach salad with vegan chicken, almonds, cucumbers, and not much else. This will be my meal for a few days, so I’ll try to avoid sounding repetitive.

After eating, around 6:45, I got a call that my sister was going into labor (!!) I was proud for the opportunity to tell my new niece that “Aunt Karen was a vegan when you were born”.

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

For some reason, the second day was slightly easier. I still had a few “moments” like this:

SOUR-CREAM-PICTURE

At least, my brain got used to the idea that yogurt wasn’t happening, and I realized that Peanut Butter Puffins Cereal and Rice Milk (plus banana!) was a pretty sturdy breakfast plan. Back in the vegetarian days, Puffins were a hit. I actually was amped to put them back in my grocery cart for a solid reason. Even omnivores, or straight up carnivores (Atkins diet?) need to check out the magic of Puffins.

For lunch, it was a black bean soup courtesy of Amy’s. I was always a fan of her No-Chicken-Noodle soup, even though typically when the bowl was nearing its end, I was sickened by all of the stuff in the soup I couldn’t identify. “What are all those random black specks and unidentifiable mushy vegetables?!”

Note: I didn’t buy that can of soup on Tuesday. It might have been sitting in the cupboard for two years. “Can I eat expired soup?” is on my google history list, as well as “Is _______ vegan?” How did vegans survive before the internet?

The President/Owner of my company stopped by work and asked me what was new. I told him about my sister giving birth, and how I was a first-time proud Aunt.

Owner: That’s so exciting! Congratulations! How about this – I’ll take you out for a steak dinner to celebrate.

Me: I – uh. Well. Maybe next week, because –

Owner: BAHAHAHAHAAAA.

Me: Oh. I see you’ve heard about the article.

Owner: Yes! That is the worst!

He’s such a nice guy that I was actually kind of honored that he joked around with me about my personal life. I’m not just saying that because there’s a 1 in 5 chance he’ll be reading this.

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Things were old hat by Friday, even though I’m only 70% sure I know what that phrase means. It’s possible that by then, I could eat an old hat for the protein I wasn’t getting from meat and eggs. I continued with the Puffins, and the spinach salad, and the rice and beans. In fact, I even got creative and mixed some frozen peas in there as well.  Who did I think I was, Guy Fieri?! It minimally upped the flavor!

I was actually looking forward to Friday – after work, Greg and I would be on the road to see my sister, brother-in-law, and fresh new baby in Brooklyn. I viewed Brooklyn the way the dinosaurs from Land Before Time viewed The Great Valley. “Brooklyn has so many vegans that I’ll finally get a real meal,” I told myself. “Brooklyn is where all of my dreams will come true.”

See, when Greg and I travel, we stop at Sheetz prior to. For those unfamiliar with Sheetz, it’s a gas station that also has amazing made-to-order food. I have a feeling that out-of-state friends visit me solely to visit Sheetz, and I’m just an afterthought. Upon successfully researching that Sheetz had vegan-friendly bread, I had the most boring (yet satisfying) vegetable sandwich I’ve ever had in my life. Because I got to eat it in the car! From a place that makes food quickly! Just like Normal Karen would have!

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Last night, I came out to my Dad as a vegan. Next time, I shouldn’t start out my admittance of a dietary change with, “Dad, there’s something I got to tell you.” I think he was expecting me to reveal a negative diagnosis from the doctor. Joke’s on you, Dad! I don’t GO to a doctor!

Here’s a rough transcript:

Me: Dad, there’s something I need to tell you. And – well, I avoided telling you earlier, but –

Dad: What.

Me: I’m eating a vegan diet this week, for an article.

Dad: Oh geez. Again?

Me: No, I was a vegetarian before. This week I’m vegan. That means I can’t eat 99% of the food in your house.

Dad: Oh. Whatever.

Saturday morning, I awoke to the sweetest gesture. My Dad stopped at the grocery store before I woke up, and bought a bunch of bananas and a big tray of fresh fruit. It doesn’t take much, but let me tell you – those cantaloupe wedges touched my heart.

While stopping for coffee, I grabbed some legitimate trail mix for the car ride over/in case my dreams of a Brooklyn feast were a mirage caused by low levels of cheddar cheese in my blood. By legitimate, I mean there were no chocolate pieces, or questionable things in it that made it taste really good. I’m talking about peanuts, pineapple pieces, banana chips, and random unpopular nuts as filler. (I know you know what I’m talking about)

As expected, my sister looked amazing, my niece was beautiful, my brother-in-law should have been  awarded a trophy for Best Father To A Three-Day-Old-Child 2013, and I was shaking when I realized it was getting to be late in the afternoon and food hadn’t happened yet. Dreams of it magically raining down fresh spinach were suddenly dashed. I called myself a genius, while eating that aforementioned trail mix like there was no tomorrow.

BROOKLYN SIGN

Since our lunch came from the grocery store, I had some hummus and gazpacho. This was the day I learned my true feelings for gazpacho; I kind of hate it. I do like saying it, though. Gazpacho.

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Can I mention once more how much those cantaloupe wedges touched my heart? It was nice waking up without the panic of wondering what the heck I was going to eat.

Greg and I left my Dad’s house around 2, and after being on the road for about 2 hours, I felt like I was going to gnaw my own arm off. Yet being that this was still vegan week, I’d be throwing away days of progress by doing so.

Guys, being a vegan while traveling is tough. We stopped at a rest stop with a Burger King, and I figured their BK Veggie – without cheese and mayonnaise – was a sure bet. Sadly, the internet told me later that it wasn’t. It was the smartest thing I could have gotten there, but something about the patty (while being MorningStar brand) or perhaps the bun – didn’t pass the vegan test when it debuted in 2002. I feel like I’ve failed you all!

For dinner – ever try Vegan Hot Dogs before? They’re actually best referred to as “Protein Links”.

smart-dog-protein-links

I actually forgot I bought these on Tuesday, and whipped them out to give them a go. While taking them out of the packaging felt like I was removing something from the Play-Doh factory, they didn’t taste terrible. They’d taste even better if I hadn’t eaten a hot dog at any point in the last three years, so I wouldn’t have a strong point of reference.

Monday, May 20th, 2013

I actually stopped by the grocery store to buy more Puffins. Sure – I had enough to last until Wednesday, but that stuff is going to become a staple from here on out.

HUGGING-A-PUFFIN

To be honest, today was the first day I just didn’t think at all about being a vegan. I had my routine, was getting more adventurous with my meal choices, and forgot about the “label” entirely. My original plan of buying this on Wednesday

burger-with-mozzarella-sticks

Turned into me planning to just eat these instead.

froz_shrimp_ring_small_web

You might not know this about me, but I can eat an entire shrimp ring by myself in a small amount of time. It’s on my resume, under “Special Skills.”

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I only began the countdown of “One Day Left!” near the end of the night – at approximately 7:47 PM. But just approximately.

This was the day I pretty much reflected on the week, and how different I felt from Wednesday morning. For one, I never really drank milk, but I really dig soy milk. Another bonus – it doesn’t expire as quickly as real milk, and it won’t smell like poisonous death if you sniff it to check if it expired.

Secondly, it’s probably good to substitute the things I did for things I’d otherwise be eating. You realize the effect food has on you – almonds will keep you full, and I don’t need to eat an entire jar of them to feel satisfied if I pace myself.

My last night really wasn’t very eventful – it was a simple Tuesday. I didn’t blast “We Are The Champions” at midnight while eating ten pounds of ham. You know, like my typical Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

At work today, a coworker stopped me and said, “You know Karen? For all the time you’ve been here, I never knew you were a vegan!” I responded by saying that I no longer was, and it was for an article I was writing.

And then, I got the worst case of acid reflux in the entire world.

My Dad (who isn’t a doctor, but is quite a wise gentleman) said the reaction may have been from the fact that I pretty much ate 9 billion pounds of fruit in the past week (I will still never forget you, cantaloupe.) My original culprit was the orange juice I had every morning. Greg said, in general, it might have been the dietary change. WebMD said I had lung cancer and cat-scratch disease.

The weird thing about Wednesday was, I felt like I kind of had Stockholm Syndrome. I had my Chobani, and felt wrong about it. I reflected on the happy memories of the week, and felt like if Vegan was a boy, I made a bad breakup decision. Maybe Vegan was “The One”.

ME-ON-THURSDAY-REVISITED

Summary:

As days passed, I realized that – no. Vegan and I weren’t meant to be. However, I learned a lot from that relationship.

I looked more closely at the labels on my food, ate more fruit and vegetables, and realized that I don’t necessarily need to eat a lot of meat to get the protein I need. But there’s still so much about the vegan diet that’s incompatible with my everyday life.

If you’re thinking about veganism, remember – this is a lifestyle change. Eating out with friends is tough, spending the extra half hour trying to identify whether a red dye may have been made out of beetles is tough, and you might feel healthier, but certain things might turn unhealthy if you don’t completely research and do your math correctly (see: Brooklyn Shaking Trail Mix Explosion.)

As far as weight loss went, I lost about a pound in a week. But I’m pretty sure I gained it back within a day or so totally gained it back, plus a pound more.

I hope you enjoyed my experience, and if you have any questions, I’ll gladly answer them in the comments section! (And if your question is, “do you really wear the same shirt every day as your MSPaint drawings suggest?” my answer is, “maybe.”)

Image Credits: feedmeimcranky.com (Protein Links), chickenofthesea.com (Shrimp Ring), aht.seriouseats.com/ (Burger)

comments

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  1. Yeah, I’m just going to concur with the rest of the comments. I went vegan about 4 months ago, and it’s actually been easier than expected. I live in Alabama, where people mostly subsist off of ribs and catfish, and it’s still been a very doable lifestyle choice. It involves a whole lot more research and planning than the typical vegetarian diet, but it really is worth it. If you do some reading about veganism, you’ll find that it is more environmentally sustainable than the typical diet. It is a lifestyle of nonviolence – you’re hurting fewer living, sentient beings than you otherwise would on an omnivorous diet. You can eat yummy things – food is not bland if you either make it yourself or do some fanangling with restaurant staff. A week is not enough time to truly experience the perks of veganism. Props to the writer for trying it, but the article gives the lifestyle a bad rap and makes it seem really unattainable. (PS – I actually GAINED weight when I first went vegan. Coconut milk ice cream and Daiya cheese)

  2. If you want a real challenge for dietary restrictions type week, try disodium and sodium phosphates free. The rest of my family tried, and failed, and I pretty much live at the farmer’s market…

  3. I thought this article was hilarious and I know that my attempts at being vegan went similar to this. Fair enough its not 100% accurate or whatever but her assignment was only one week, give her a break. There are amazing vegan dishes but transitioning and learning to cook them and redoing everything is difficult especially with everything else going on.

  4. Being Vegan CAN be harder in certain areas of the country. But not impossible.

    Living in Springfield, Mo we just simply have about three places we can go out to eat. And those places only have one or two options. When we go on vacation the first thing we do is find out where the vegan restaurants are… and if there are few, we stay somewhere with a kitchen.

    A week is nothing… however if you are going from being full fledged meat eater to vegan I can sympathize that it must have been hard. This article though seems to imply that you never really bought into it, which is sad.

    Perhaps I should write an article about how since being vegan I have been able to stop taking all my medication for my wonky pancreas. How I have pretty much stopped even getting colds. How much better I feel. These aren’t benefits you get after just a week though… Why don’t you try at least a month and get back to us :)

  5. One more suggestion to people who may consider becoming vegan: If you live in certain cities, you’re in luck. You’ll have easy access to anything vegan. I live on Long Island, and there’s PLENTY of restaurants in NYC that are either 100% vegan or at least have decent vegan options (so you’re not stuck with just salad and vegetable soup).

    Unfortunately, it can be very difficult being vegan in some rural parts of the country. When I lived in northern Michigan, it was a quest to even find SOY MILK!

  6. I was a vegan for 2 1/2 years. In terms of health, there were benefits and disadvantages. Over that time period, I lost close to 70 pounds (in the first week, I lost 10 pounds!), my hair was thicker and shiner, and my skin significantly improved. It was the only time in my life that I didn’t have acne (I don’t have bad acne, but… still). I also had more energy. However, toward the end of my time as a vegan, I developed amenorrhea (absence of a menstrual period) and that lasted for three or four months. Looking back, I realized I was suffering from a vitamin deficiency. If I were to be a vegan again, I’d take much better care of myself. And it would probably be easier for me to be safe with myself now considering my very long-term boyfriend is just about to finish nursing school, so he could guide me.

    My suggestion to anyone who wants to try veganism: Eat what your body NEEDS, not what your body CRAVES. Otherwise, you are at risk for developing deficiencies. Yeah, lentils might sound really boring, but your body is going to need them since you’re giving up animal sources of protein.

    Anyway, I hate to sound sour here, but I agree with the other people that you can’t really go talking about the “vegan transformation” if you didn’t even last a week. You didn’t even have time to get used to the lifestyle changes. For one thing, at least in my experience, being vegan gets easier as time goes on because your body learns to crave vegan foods instead. For me, being vegan was hard for a couple of months, but after that it turned very easy.

    I also don’t think it’s right to depend on all the soy alternatives (soy “chicken”, soy “hot dogs”, etc.). They’re good as transition food, but not as dietary staples. One of the main points to veganism is about healthy choices, and thus it’s far better to get protein from NATURAL sources such as lentils or actual soy beans. When I was a vegan, the only soy alternatives I used were soy butter and soy milk for the sake of recipes. Only once in a great while (maybe every three months or so) did I have a soy “meat”.

    If you eat the proper foods, such as vegetables high in protein, it’s very possible to feel satisfied and full. It just takes getting to know more about vegetables, fruits and grains!

    Anyway, it’s awesome that you tried out veganism. I know it’s not for everybody, and as much as I’d like to be a vegan again, I know I have to be careful with the choice because I don’t want to have amenorrhea again. But that aside, yes, I’d love to return to veganism.

    Thanks for the article!

    • My body generally only craves what it needs. Due to severe dietary restrictions, no vegitarianism or veganism for me sadly (I’m allergic to a chemical they put in close to 95% of food so life is super fun)

      But if I’m low on sodium, I will inexplicably start craving McDonald’s French Fries, but only if I haven’t been getting enough sodium (alternatively craving a saltlick but people look at you weird when you buy those,….) If my sugar levels are low, I’ll crave pomegranates. Same with protein, I’ll start craving chicken or chinese food.

      If you listen to your body’s craving extremely well and you can identify the main identifying factor about whatever your craving it’s super helpful. In canada, mcdonald’s french fries are super salty so I know when that craving kicks in, it’s time to intake some sodium.

  7. Im vegan and eat way tastier food than this! After 7 years of vegetarianism I made the transition and the first month without cheese was hard but I started making all the same foods but just a little different and I feel sooo much better not eating dairy (and all the other animal products). You really should have tried some more exciting vegan foods. I have found it difficult to find good pre made sweet treats that taste amazing so I started baking my own and haven’t looked back :)

  8. Please don’t base your decision to go vegan off of this article – one week is nowhere near enough time to even start feeling all the life-changing benefits veganism brings.

    I really LOVE being vegan – it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My skin is much clearer and has a healthier color, my teeth are whiter and healthier, my hair is much stronger and glossier and cellulite? What’s that? I have so much more energy than before, I practically never feel tired or sluggish, I sleep much better, those horrific stomach aches are finally gone and my whole body is much stronger and more toned (this is also due to the fact that I do yoga for 45 minutes five days a week). This is because when you go vegan and DO IT RIGHT, you don’t just exclude certain foods from your diet – you have to put stuff in, too! I have discovered so many delicious healthy foods since going vegan: I adore sea vegetables, quinoa, sweet potatoes, tofu, barley, pulses and seitan. But I also eat cupcakes, pizza, burgers, fries – so many things can be tweaked to fit a vegan lifestyle.

    I never miss anything about being an omnivore or even a vegetarian. I don’t feel the so-called sacrifices (bacon, really?) even begin to compare to all the amazing benefits you get.

  9. I really hope no one bases their decision to go vegan off this article. I know it’s a one week diet article but the whole idea of one week anything is pretty ridiculous. Diets in general are lame unless you’re using the word to explain what you eat day to day not as in “I’m trying to lose weight so I’m going in a DIET”.
    It’s definitely a life style change. I do it because hurting animals blows. I was vegetarian for 11 years before I went vegan because I would say, :I love cheese too much” but silly young me. It’s not all or nothing. If you wanna be vegan but eat cheese for now, do it! Do what you can, dudes. Eliminating any animal suffering is better then doing nothing cuz you can’t save them all!

    Anyway it was pretty hard for me in the begging too but it’s an evolution. It gets easier, now I don’t think twice about it. I love to eat and I can always get my fill even traveling.

    I hope this article didn’t scare people away. Today I had sopes with beans, cabbage, crema, and pineapple salsa, and avocado. Also I big plate of geens with toasted pepitas. THEN a mint chocolate cookie, lemon poppy seed muffin, and a onion poppy seed bialy! YUM! Not white rice and prison black beans.

  10. I cannot believe you call this a lifestyle change, when you only give a one week commitment to it. This is hardly a good article (and I’m a huge fan of HG), to not say the worst I’ve read here. The body-mind-soul combo takes more than just a week to adapt to new things.
    Next time you do an article about “living in the life of” try to research with doctors or books or anything a bit more solid than the internet which is filled with fads and fakes… Piece of advice never end your articles as if all the story was a big joke to you, you might end up offending lots of people.

  11. Aw, you missed so many great opportunities to eat amazing food!! It’s like you chose the most boring stuff on purpose!!

    Vegan for over 10 years, travelled around the world and eaten hundreds of different cuisines – there is amazing, incredible, this-is-so-good-I-could-die-now-and-be-happy vegan food to be found everywhere. :)

  12. Peanutbutter Puffins are awesome! It’s sad that it’s impossible to find around here.

  13. Haha this is the most hilarious/best article ever! I’ve been a vegan for a while now, but my first attempt at veganism (which failed SPECTACULARLY) looked a lot like this: “This food is so. damn. boring.” “What the hell can I eat?” “I’M SO HUNGRY!” I know you’re not looking to continue the diet, but I’ll second what everyone has said about research. It is indeed a lifestyle, one that involves politely explaining to baffled diner waitresses that you cannot eat a single effing thing on their menu so you’ll just sip your tea thankyouverymuch and nervously telling your new boyfriend he can’t bring animal products into your apartment. It’s hard at first, but it’s worth it (said boyfriend has now mastered the art of making falafel… so sexy). I’ve never felt better, and my recovery time (I’m a runner) is like lightning. I’m still chuckling at your breakfast the first day. I think I ate plain oatmeal, and I mean PLAIN: no berries, no maple syrup, no almond butter, no bananas, no cinnamon. What a newbie I was.

    • You rock, Maggie! Thanks for understanding how the week went. The lifestyle change does require a lot of research, and trial and error – I really do admire the people who stick with it. I’m glad it worked for you!

      Karen Belz | 6/10/2013 02:06 pm
  14. I was vegan for 7 months and I absolutely loved it. I had never felt more healthy and energized. I know a lot of the comments here are being hard on the article, but I agree with both arguments. The first week of being vegan is extremely difficult. All you think about is all of the food that you can’t have, and that first trip to the grocery store takes a minimum of 2 hours because of all of the new food and label reading. After about a month of trying out different brands and recipes, it turns from being laborious into exciting. You start recognizing what you can and can’t eat very quickly and enjoy experiencing new foods that you didn’t even know existed. You find yourself craving vegetables and learn how to eat a healthy amount of protein. I’m not vegan (or even vegetarian) anymore, and started tracking how much protein I’m putting into my body. Guess what? I ate more protein as a vegan. You couldn’t have put it more perfect that it’s a lifestyle change, and unless you’re amped to change your lifestyle, the vegan diet – no, way of life – isn’t going to work.

  15. I’ve been vegan since I consciously decided to become one when I was 13- 12 years ago. Doing it for a week, with clearly minimal preparation, is pretty lame. This has to be the most boring, bland diet I’ve ever seen, but not because it was vegan- because you didn’t even attempt any variety, or cook anything. Cereal, fruit, beans, rice, and vegan hot dogs? People drive me insane because either they think all we CAN eat is lettuce, or all we eat is boring convenience foods like the ones you’ve chosen to eat.. Essentially anything you can think of has a vegan alternative. For instance, my breakfast is usually a combination of home fries, tofu scramble with lots of veggies, vegan scrapple or sausage (from scratch), biscuits, mushroom gravy, etc. I can assure you that I’m not missing out on a damn thing. I’m a vegan for ethical reasons, and I eat pretty much whatever I want that falls into the vegan, minimally processed category. I make almost everything from scratch (which is cheaper, healthier, and more satisfying) and if I get a craving for something typically only a non-vegan would consider eating, I figure out how to veganize it.. I guarantee you that I have a more varied, tasty, healthy diet than most people who think being vegan is so hard because you have to “sacrifice” so many foods. You want sour cream? Go buy vegan prepared sour cream, or make it yourself with the myriad of different recipes available online. It’s just so frustrating when I see articles like this that seemingly try to adapt an open mind about veganism, but then come to the conclusion “lol being vegan is tooo hard omg” I’m really ranting at this point, and losing any point I was trying to make about the article. I don’t hold anything against you, I just wish people weren’t so easy to dismiss something I see as so obvious.

    • Okay, first of all, I’m coming over to your house for breakfast. Homefries continue to elude me.

      Second, I agree about the one week thing. There is such a major learning curve to veganism! My first attempt, I was so underfed (read: undereducated!) that I passed out on my kitchen floor. I had no idea what I was doing! It was so idiotic! Second time around, the change was much more gradual. I did four months of vegan-at-home, vegetarian-elsewhere before making the 100% switch. Now I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, but I’m still constantly finding new recipes and foods, trying new things, stumbling across new blogs. I’m all for short-term experiments (my one-week foray as a vegetarian never ended), but I think the vegan diet/lifestyle requires too much trial and error for a week to do it justice.

  16. Um, really? You wrote an article about eating vegan and didn’t post once about tofu?! Or Cheezly? Or any of the other million and one things that are available to make being vegan just as easy as being vegetarian? This article was so frustrating because the stereotype of vegans is that they can’t eat anything, which is old-fashioned and just plain wrong! Thanks for perpetuating that stereotype through lazy journalist and poor research.

  17. Vegan meals actually look really good (and those that I’ve tried are tasty), but it seems like it takes a lot of thought and effort to make up a vegan menu, and that seems like an awfully big switch from my current diet method, namely, “grab the first food item I see when I open the fridge and warm it up .” I admire the amount of effort that I’m sure went into this experiment.

    On a semi (but not entirely)-unrelated note: SHEETZ! I lived in Pennsylvania for a couple years, and I developed a full-blown Sheetz addiction during that time. I’ve since moved back out west, and Sheetz is one of the things I miss most about PA. Do they still have those burger-sub-things? (I’m sure they have a proper name, but since Sheetz menus are touch-screen and you don’t need to know their burgers by name but by picture, I never bothered to learn it, so burger sub-things they’ll always be to me.) Oh, and sorry for mentioning burgers in a vegan-related post, but I was curious :)

  18. I compltely agree with Jenny & Allison. There are SOOOO many other options than white rice and beans.
    Although the article was kind of funny. It was mostly annoying because of all the complaining about being starved and frustrated. If you did your research properly that most likely would not have been the case. Not to mention that going vegan for a week, would make anyone feel frustrated, your body doesn’t have enough time to adjust to the changes. Of course you’re going to crave your greek yogurt, sour cream and cheese. That’s what happens when you do a “diet” or “detox” your body craves the crap it’s used to. I would suggest trying this ‘diet’ again and doing it for 28 days, and really doing your research this time. Anyone would have been frustrated on white beans and rice!!

    • Hi Andrea! (and Jenny and Allison) – Your comments are much appreciated. I admit, I think I thought I had it all together, and later realized I could have really livened things up a bit. But just to note, the column is about one week diets. A bunch of the contributors are taking up a diet, or lifestyle change, and writing about their experience. This was mine, and based on how I went about it, it’s honest. It’s definitely not meant to be a representation of an honest to goodness vegan.

      Karen Belz | 6/10/2013 12:06 pm
  19. I’ve been a vegan for 5 years, and in that time I have read an insane amount of these articles in which someone decides to go vegan for a week and documents how starving they are, how few food options they had, and how much they miss non-vegan staples in their diet. I agree with Jenny: you should have researched more thoroughly. If you had, you would see that you can make most anything vegan-style and there was no reason for you to be hungry and frustrated.. Sure, it can be challenging, but there are entire cookbooks and websites of recipes and recommendations to help you along the way. Any diet requires more than just scanning the grocery store aisles and reading some labels! Someday, I want to read an article like this where the person doesn’t start off by bragging about being an ex-vegetarian and ends by saying how hard it is to be a vegan. Just once.

  20. I agree with Jenny. I had been vegetarian for 6 years and have been vegan for 1. It sounds like you picked the most bland foods to eat. I feel as if this article did not do justice to the vegan diet, which is the opposite of bland.
    If you miss Greek yogurt, try Amande cultured almond milk or So Delicious cultured strawberry coconut milk for a treat. Make a healthy “ice cream” out of frozen bananas, almond milk, pb and dark chocolate chips. Make vegan blueberry pancakes. Make vegan lasagna with Daiya mozzarella cheese and chopped up Yve’s canadian bacon. Vegan grilled cheese with baby spinach and sun-dried tomatoes is also amazing.
    What i’m trying to say is there are OPTIONS and it just seems like you looked into a tiny (and boring) handful of them.
    I would say, try again! And this time team up with an experienced vegan pal to help you out :)
    The vegan diet is so rewarding, it’s worth trying a second time.