Three weeks have passed since I signed PETA’s pledge to become vegan for a month. In that short time I’ve begun thinking about veganism in a radically different way, and I’ve already gone through most of the lifestyle overhaul that I had hoped to accomplish. Best of all, my cravings for baked goods have almost vanished. When I look at baked goods now, all I can think about is how many eggs or dairy products they required. So, although I’ve had a couple slip-ups (while eating out), this vegan trial has proved more successful than I imagined possible.
I signed the PETA pledge on a whim, so at that point I hadn’t thought ahead whatsoever. When I made that choice, it seemed a bit like making good on a dare—it was risky, and I was completely unprepared.
But after I started reading about vegan cooking and lifestyle choices, and after I integrated vegan supplements into my diet, I discovered that veganism isn’t very difficult after all. Along the way I learned a few important nutrition pointers that I should have taken into account as a vegetarian, so overall I think my diet is healthier than ever.
At the beginning, it was torture to walk past the bakeries in the mall. When I smelled the fresh cookies and bread, all I could think of was how much I’d lost. Cheese has proved a much smaller sacrifice than I imagined, mostly because of the nutritional yeast flakes I discovered. My favorite part about cheese was the creamy texture, and the yeast flakes are even better than cheese, because they don’t add any fat to a dish.
Now, three weeks later, I’m starting to think like a vegan. While the bakeries still smell good, I’m no longer painfully tempted by the fresh baked goods. The moral burden of eating animal products has begun to outweigh my sensory enjoyment of these foods. And I’ve been exploring vegan cookbooks, only to realize that there are hundreds of recipes for baked vegan desserts that are indistinguishable from their non-vegan counterparts (and don’t require strange substitutions).
My original plan was to return to normal eating while at home for the holidays. After all, most of my favorite comfort foods involve eggs, milk, or cheese. But now I feel guilty just thinking of eating that many animal products, and I dread the moral dilemmas that will come along with holiday food. I still plan to eat certain foods, since I’m in the process of transitioning towards veganism, but I don’t want to drink milk with dinner or eat ice cream for dessert. I still have five weeks to decide whether I’ll come clean to my family before Thanksgiving.