No beef here

Going vegan changes junior’s life

Story by Katie Biggar, entertainment editor

There isn’t a specific time in my life when I began to hate my body.

Looking back at myself, physically there wasn’t anything wrong. Sure, I’d have been pleased with a smaller dress size, or to not feel the need to wear high waisted jeans because “it hid the fat” better than regular jeans. What I saw compared to what others saw was night and day. I saw the layer of skin on my stomach as a pile of unnecessary fat, whereas others would just see it as a necessity to survival.

On July 11, I decided to challenge myself and change my lifestyle; I was changing my body for the better and for the long haul. I discovered veganism on July 8 and spent the next few days learning and researching my latest challenge.

Little did I know that the vegan diet was so strict and eliminated my all-time favorite foods: chocolate chip cookies and chicken strips.

When diving into this new lifestyle, I had to teach myself discipline and restriction, which did not come easy at first.

In my early days of veganism I had cravings ranging anywhere from a juicy medium rare steak to Chili’s ooey gooey pizza cookies.

I spent most of my nights as a new vegan crying on my carpet with a spoon and a jar of crunchy peanut butter feeling sorry for myself. All I wanted was self confidence and the capability to look in the mirror and not be disgusted with my reflection.

In the early days of my self-pity I turned to YouTube for guidance on how anyone could live without all of the foods that I thought were vital to a happy life.

I came across a teenage girl on YouTube who spoke about a book called The China Study. This book is a study that has proven that there are essentially no nutrients in animal-based products that are not provided by plants.

It opened my eyes to new ideas and the ultimate realization that animal-based foods aren’t a necessity and are in fact quite detrimental to health. The book recognizes that animal protein promotes the growth of cancer and that protein is just as apparent in plants, which, on the other hand, have no side effects. The consumption of animals can lead to a terrifying series of health conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes and several brain diseases.

After gaining this new information and forcing all of my childhood beliefs to the side, I accepted that changing my lifestyle had become more than the desire to fit into a size 2.

I was now giving up chicken strips and warm cookies for the sake of my health and to outlive the American standard, which is currently 79 years. Whereas that may seem like a long time to us, the United Kingdom is beating us with a life expectancy of about 81 years. Veganism is a popular lifestyle there and that shows in their overall life expectancy ratings.

Although I haven’t been living like this any longer than a solid month and a half, I’ve discovered so much about my body that I never knew before. I never considered myself the type to love to work out, but the feeling I get when I see a change in my body is something incredible.

The dedication I’ve put into this lifestyle has given me confidence in areas other than just appearance and overall health. I now feel like I’ll maintain goals for the school year and get things done more efficiently.

This way of living has changed my outlook on life and myself and I couldn’t be happier. What can I say–it felt nice to throw out the high waisted jeans.