Good morning, guys!!
Today marks my one week anniversary of making the switch to vegan. Okay, okay — one week doesn’t really seem like that much time and to be fair, it really isn’t. I’m not a veteran vegan, I still have a lot to learn and I am still learning some things along the way. What originally started off as a thirty day goal for myself has turned into a permanent switch that I could not be more proud of and excited about. I can honestly say going vegan has changed my life (for the better) in ways that I would have never imagined.
People have asked me if I think I will change my mind when these thirty days are up and go back to vegetarian and when I tell them no, they usually ask why I challenged myself to a month of vegan
eating living in the first place. There’s a whole laundry list of reasons, really:
- I’m 21 years old, a senior in college and going through some major changes in life. It’s time to start setting some large goals for myself and seeing them through to completion.
- Being vegetarian made me feel too comfortable. It felt stagnant and I wanted to push myself as a 10-year vegetarian. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and scare myself.
- I love animals and wanted to stop exploiting their bodies for my own dietary wants.
- I want to live a more sustainable lifestyle that benefits the Earth.
- I wanted to build a stronger relationship with myself and treat my body with all of the love and care that I can. Going vegan has done that both physically and mentally.
- I wanted to live a more compassionate, friendly life with those around me.
If these “thirty days” as I call it are a good thing (and it is a very, very great thing) , why stop? Why put a cap on something that is so good for me and others in so many ways? Why put an end to something that brings me so much joy?
Ta-da! Happy One-Weekaversary to me! Time to get down to some serious business.
A friend came over to my apartment last night right after I had finished dinner to pick up some stuff. She asked if I had eaten (I had) but if I wanted to ride with her and a few of my other friends to Taco Bell to just hang out and go for the fun. Never wanting to miss a good time, I tagged along.
I am of the belief (and I am sure a lot of other college students are, too) that Taco Bell is a gift sent to Earth from heaven. There isn’t really anything in this world better than Taco Bell around 1 or 2 in the morning after a birthday celebration with your best friends. All of that melty, spicy, saucy goodness….mmmm.
So when we walked into Taco Bell, my heart broke a little bit that I would never get to have a Cheese Quesadilla again. When I got back home, I buried myself in bed with my iPad and did research about vegan options at popular fast food restaurants, starting with Taco Bell.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has a very user-friendly list of vegan options at many popular chain restaurants. In fact, I was surprised to read PETA’s Taco Bell listing that says how many awesome options there are for vegans!
The Vegetarian Resource Group has also compiled a really good list of vegan and vegetarian options while dining out. The important thing to note is that you can always substitute meat and/or dairy for more beans or vegetables or whatever while dining out. Just because you are eating vegan doesn’t mean your meal should be scant. They also have a more comprehensive list about popular food items at chain restaurants and ingredients found in the items.
It was such a help to me to know that I can navigate restaurants with more ease and confidence — especially since I’m not alone. How cool is it that some companies are recognizing the changing needs of their customers and accommodating to their customers’ dietary needs/restrictions? By the same token, it is disappointing to see some of the world’s most popular restaurants and chains not cooperating to disclose ingredient lists or limiting vegan/vegetarian options.
What are some of your favorites? I really love Subway (but now I have to get sourdough bread as the wheat has honey in it), Taco Bell (vegan options galore! I love the Veggie Cantina Bowl sans cheese and sauce) and Jimmy Johns (they won’t release the info about their bread, so I’ll just get the “Unwich” from now on — all of the veggies from the veggie sub wrapped in a big piece of lettuce).
When in doubt, be sure to always consult the restaurant’s website for nutrition and ingredient information. Taco Bell has an EXCELLENT site for this, so props to them! They actually break down nutrition information, full ingredient statements, allergen/sensitivity information, FAQs and more.
Have a great Sunday Funday….happy eating!