Challenging my Friend to Eat Vegan for a Week

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As I’ve mentioned before so many times, eating vegan (or even just vegetarian) on a college campus can be extremely difficult. Cross contamination tends to be a huge issue, and because it’s usually unavoidable, I tend to be pretty lax and forgiving with myself if I eat something that may have a bit of dairy in it. Last week, I challenged one of my friends to eat completely vegan for as long as she could, and I have to say, she really took this seriously! Thank you, Allison, for helping me put together this social experiment. Allison was pretty open about the fact that this was super hard for her, and there were a couple instances in which she did eat a few dairy items (mostly due to going to The Cheesecake Factory with her friends on the second night). Here’s how Allison’s week as a vegan went down:


October 7

Location: Dining hall

[Dinner] Butternut squash soup, white rice, crackers, fries, and Kix cereal


October 8

Location: Dining hall, The Cheesecake Factory

[Breakfast] Cantaloupe, bagel w/ jelly, potatoes & onions

[Lunch] Potatoes w/ peppers and onions, vegetarian lo mein, green beans, roasted corn, tortilla

[Dinner] (Cheesecake Factory): Caesar salad, bread & butter, peanut butter cheesecake


October 9

Location: Dining hall

[Breakfast] Leftover cheesecake

[Lunch] Sweet potato

[Dinner] Cheez-its and raisins 


October 10

Location: Dining hall

[Lunch] Brown rice and potatoes, Cape Cod chips, one uncrustable sandwich

[Dinner] Egg roll, dinner roll, sweet potato tots, potatoes


October 11

Location: Dining hall

[Lunch] Pizza


Lastly, I asked Allison what the entire experience was like, and if she found trying to eat vegan 100% of the time difficult. “It was very hard,” she said. “It was all potatoes and pasta. It also made me sad to go to the dining hall because there wasn’t a lot of food that was satisfying and vegan.”

I think Allison did a really great job expressing the lack of protein available for vegans and vegetarians. As you can see, potatoes and rice primarily took up a large part of her diet, because they’re high in starches and generally very filling. Unfortunately, slipping into a routine that lacks protein and iron can be seriously damaging to your health, as I have experienced myself at college. This is exactly why I wanted to do this experiment- to show how difficult it can be to eat an adequate, healthy diet, and still feel full.

When I came back home from college in May after eating vegan for a full year, I was exhausted, sick, and dangerously close to being anemic. I napped at every chance I got, because I was so tired all the time, and my immune system was compromised from not getting the nutrients I needed. I’ve now started expanding my diet to include animal-derived products, such as eggs, but I know that I will never stop being a vegetarian. That being said, veganism simply just doesn’t work for me while I live on campus. It’s important to not feel guilty for making these decisions- I myself was struggling with a lot of guilt for eating eggs again. However, at the end of the day, YOUR HEALTH is the most important. Maybe someday in the future I will safely be able to eat vegan again, but for now, I’m not being too hard on myself.

Once again, thank you Allison for helping me with this data and for being a lovely recipient!


Coming up next: How I Save Money in College

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