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How to go vegan at Loyola

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When Beyoncé and Jay-Z took the stage at the 2014 Grammys, all I could think about was how great they looked. After giving birth to Blue Ivy a little over two years ago, Beyoncé has never looked better. I look up to Beyoncé and Jay-Z and found out that they recently went vegan as part of the 22 Day Vegan Challenge. Of course I was hoping that after my 22 days of being vegan I was going to look like Beyoncé, but I knew that probably was not going to happen. Curious about what would happen, how I would feel and whether I could actually maintain such a strict diet, I thought, why shouldn’t I try?

After deciding to do it, I told myself that I was going to enjoy all of the chocolate and ice cream I could on Valentines Day, and that I would start on February 15. My plan is to stay vegan until February 28. The day I go home for spring break is when I can enjoy all of my mom’s homemade food. I told some of my close friends and roommates about my “vegan plan,” and three of my friends decided to join in with me. We were all excited for the challenge, curious what it would be like and hoping to lose the few pounds we have gained from being at college. Though the diet would only last 13 days, not 22, we were all just hoping to get through the first three days.

Now, you might be asking yourself, what exactly is a vegan? Veganism is when a person abstains from eating any animal products. Yes, that means no meat, cheese, eggs, milk, yogurt or butter, which means no ice cream or chocolate. Before deciding to go vegan, I didn’t eat too much meat at Loyola, but was still nervous about what exactly I would be eating. The first day came, and everything we thought about eating we asked one another: “Is this vegan?” We Googled foods in an attempt to find out what we can eat. The first three days were rough, but we made it through with the help of Loyola.

Loyola, I can tell you, does a good job of cooking for vegans and vegetarians. To say the least, I was relieved walking into Boulder the first night for dinner and see all of the options. Parkhurst is not only fresh, but also identifies all their foods as vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, soy or containing milk. Each food is labeled with a small symbol next to it identifying the food. Every night, Boulder has vegan options. From steamed broccoli and rice to corn and black beans, Boulder always offers other options than salad and fruit. Though it might not cross your mind, being a vegan at Loyola is possible and when you have a big refrigerator, stove and oven in your room, it is even easier.

I have to say though, the hardest part was satisfying my sweet tooth. Not being able to eat chocolate, cookies, ice cream or cake has made dessert almost impossible, but explains why Beyoncé looks so good. My dessert every night has become Trix and Rice Chex cereal with vanilla soymilk (hardly a dessert if you ask me). I don’t even look at the desserts anymore because I know I can’t eat a single one.

Becoming vegan isn’t something to quickly decide to do. It isn’t just a diet; it is a lifestyle. Everything about veganism is a conscious decision. Eating at every meal is work. I am always asking, is this vegan? Eating healthy is about getting the necessary fats, proteins and carbs to have a balanced diet. Vegans need to be extra aware since they don’t eat any animal protein. Eventually, eating as a vegan should become natural and easy to me. After experiencing what a vegan’s life is like, I can tell all Loyola students that being vegan is simply not for everyone. Picky eaters probably couldn’t do it. You have to love vegetables and fruits. A lot of boxed and processed foods aren’t vegan. You have to commit and stay strong against foods that you love that aren’t vegan. Being a vegan consumes your life, but with dedication and resistance to temptations, it can be done and Loyola will support you.

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How to go vegan at Loyola