My experience being a temporary vegan

Jacqueline Tatulyan

Photo by Ilana Gale
Photo by Ilana Gale

For most people, the thought of not being able to eat burgers or macaroni and cheese is unimaginable. I went vegan  in observance of last year’s Lent. It was both an inspiring and difficult time.

During Lent, people are supposed to give up something they love. Some people give up simple things such as sweets or meat and many adults are known to give up alcohol. Junior Karine Malkdzhyan, introduced me to Lent and inspired some of my friends to go vegan during this time. Humorously, we were the only two who survived the 40 days by living off of veggie patties and hummus because of the little knowledge we had on the wide variety of food in the vegan diet.

This year, I decided to start early and end late because last year’s experience was inspiring. I began a month early and continued until Easter.

When choosing to make a large lifestyle change, it comes with preparations. Learning to cook and getting rid of the food that does not contain animal products is an important step. Cooking is not a talent that comes easily to most. In my case, I had to do online research for recipes and vegan products available in supermarkets that I could use to incorporate in dishes I was already accustomed to. The acknowledgment and acceptance of the lifestyle change from family is a great help. My family was more than happy and proud of my choice because of their self doubt of surviving a day without animal products.

In order to be aware of the necessary daily vitamins consumption, there need to be research done. For example, as a replacement to meat and fish, there is always the option of beans or tofu as protein. There are charts and websites online that list substitutes.

With the ban on animal products comes the need to read ingredients thoroughly. Usually milk and eggs are bolded at the bottom of the ingredients list. Also, eating out becomes a problem. It is torture and almost embarrassing to constantly ask whether restaurants have vegan options. They also confuse vegan food with vegetarian food, which is the most frustrating thing ever once it has happened one too many times.

Usually chain or well-known restaurants can state whether they have vegan food online. The  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)  is a well-known organization with a website that includes a list of chain restaurants with vegan options. PETA is also great for anyone who is vegan or plans to begin the lifestyle including recipes, dining option, an introduction, meal plans and more in their “Vegan.Life.” section.