Like many people, I’ve always been slightly sceptical of the vegan diet. The thought of never eating cheese seems entirely incomprehensible to my dairy obsessed brain! Is living the ‘Vegan Life’ actually possible?

One day at school,  two of my good friends and I were discussing the absurdities of this lifestyle, when I had the thought… What if we spent a week eating only vegan food? I mean, it would probably be awful, but we would get a first-hand insight into what it was actually like. We spent the rest of the day discussing meal ideas, what we should buy and when we should start. This was certainly going to be a very interesting challenge.

Monday: I must admit, I was actually looking forward to this week. I love trying new things and taking on fun challenges, so I was ready to conquer! My school lunch and snacks for the whole week typically consisted of lots of fruit and cashew nuts. Not the most exciting, but nice enough. For dinner that night I had tofu stir fry with rice. I give it a 4/10. It was very boring and kind of flavourless. The first vegan stereotype had been proven correct.

Tuesday: I was hoping the second day of my Vegan Life would be a little more exciting. When we met up in the morning to share our thoughts and feelings of our first vegan dinners, one of my friends was in a rage – he had just found out that the jam he’d been eating was not in fact vegan. It had a gelling agent in it which was made of gelatin – gelatin contains animal products. A good start to the week for him. Tuesday’s dinner was unexpectedly delicious. I had vegan sausages with pasta. The “sausages” were made of tofu and had lots of yummy spices and herbs added to them. They did not quite meet the standards of regular meat sausages but they were pretty up there.

Wednesday: Today was especially difficult as one of my not-so-vegan friends decided it would be a fine idea to bring a square of chocolate fudge slice to school and eat it in front of my face. I was not happy. Tonight’s dinner was half good, half bad. My mother suggested we buy some hot chips (an offer which I could not refuse). To go with it, I constructed some pita bread sandwiches with hummus, salad and these little falafel bites we had brought the Saturday before. I must say, I was not expecting them to be so dry. The falafel was probably the driest thing I’ve ever eaten. Another vegan stereotype had been proven correct.

Thursday: Today’s dinner was my favourite – Mediterranean sweet potatoes with roasted chickpeas and salad. It did take a while for the potatoes to bake and the chickpeas to roast, but it was worth it. 10/10 would recommend. I was surprised at how good I felt during the week. I thought I would be constantly hungry and always craving foods that I couldn’t have, but on the contrary, I felt a lot healthier.

Friday: My Vegan Life was almost at an end. I was very much looking forward to the weekend where I would have no problem eating whatever I wanted. But there was still one last day to get through. Throughout the day I ate my regular snacks of fruit and cashew nuts (while staring longingly at the rest of my friend group’s delicious meals). For my last vegan dinner, I made kumara and black bean veggie burgers! They were very filling and tasty and a made a satisfactory end to the week.

I think after five days I was ready to stop. We all were. I was really craving a meatlover’s pizza.

Admittedly, this challenge was actually quite fun. The sharing and contrasting of snack and dinner ideas and the silly inside jokes made it all the better. Some parts of the challenge were a little tricky to navigate (i.e. the jam situation) but we managed to get through it with many laughs along the way.

Although the Vegan Life doesn’t offer much variety food wise, I did discover some rather enjoyable meals that I would love to try again.

If you’ve always been sceptical of veganism like me, why not give it a try too? You might find that you actually enjoy it!

Darcy Herrick is a student in Year 11 and loves music and science. She is a Game of Thrones fanatic and enjoys learning and exploring new things.

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