Although it was somewhat difficult, I believe the project was a success. I originally intended to go on a raw diet, but quickly switched to vegan because of the lack of availability of alternative protein sources. Our campus has little to no available raw forms of protein. I could have gone out and purchased these myself. However, being a “poor college” art student, I am heavily reliant on the dining hall as my source of my meals. I wanted to observe the availability of natural food and healthy options for students that diet out of moral choice or for the health benefits. Adapting a vegan diet seemed easier and healthier by comparison. It was kind of daunting at times but I pushed through and kept with it for the full two weeks.
I have several take aways from this project. The first is the campus' lack of variety of vegan options. There are options available all the time like the salad bar, vegan station, and allergy free zone, but their menus are repetitive. Variety is supposed to be the spice of life (but). Many vegetables are cooked in butter, contain milk, or animal components (fat).
This leads into my second take away which is the acknowledging the difficulty that comes with being vegan. When I was shopping or picking something out to eat, I constantly had to check the labels on everything. Having a quick bite to eat involved either looking up the ingredients or researching online quickly to determine if what I was planning to eat was in fact vegan or not. Which in a way adds to the performance aspect of this project.
The final takeaway was the effect of the diet on my health. Because most of what I ate was natural or plant based source, didn't involve milk products, or eggs I generally felt better by the end of the two weeks. Many vegan options do not involve a lot of processed ingredients, most are made with very few and simple ingredients. The days that I ate more fatty foods, I didn't feel as a great. Most days I ate generally healthy and I was filled with a renewed since of energy. I all around do feel better. I like feeling this was and intend to stick with a more healthy diet. I am 98% I am lactose intolerant, so the lack of milk has heightened my energy and improved my skin. I will not be fully vegan, as much as I would like to for moral reasons. Living in the south it seems like everything is cooked in butter or animal fat. Constantly having my diet dictated by reading labels and researching everything is stressful and somewhat limiting.