For a guy whose favourite food group is “things that rise,” seven days of strict veganism might be a stretch. In my past experience, what vegans lack in animal by-products they make up for in being incredibly annoying.
What follows is my seven-day diary of the experience with the guiding hand of Fresh Restaurants, a small chain of vegetarian eateries in Toronto:
Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath has struck the City of Toronto, leading to mass power outages. What better way to become closer to my Paleolithic ancestors than sitting in the darkness! While 60 km/h winds rage outside, a bigger storm brews in my toilet.
I feel nauseous as my body detoxes last week’s frankenfoods. True veganism includes the belief that animals should not be used in clothing, including products with wool, silk and leather. I browse eco-friendly e-commerce stores to see if I can spruce up my look with a clear conscience. I quickly conclude that something has to die for me to look hot.
A colleague informs me my soy-laden diet has been inextricably linked to an increase in estrogen production. By mid-morning I am hypersensitive to insults and in touch with my inner emotions. By dinner, I am one tofu cube away from shedding my uterine lining.
Still spotting, I am fully committed to my vegan lifestyle such that I refuse to be exposed to the fluids and/or flesh of any living animal, including romantic partners. I debate with friends, “So, is saliva vegan?”
The crowd in a vegetarian restaurant is an assorted mix of Oxfords, cardigans and moccasins. The men look like physics professors, while the women look like their Amish boyfriends. No one here is part of “the 1%,” neither the social class nor the cow’s milk.
I sample a beverage from Fresh, called “The Lung Lover,” filled with veggies, fruit, ginger and cayenne pepper. Twelve hours later, I run to the toilet to meet its sister, “The Mexican Fire Breather.”
My temporary foray into veganism proves to be the perfect excuse to avoid certain social situations. When an ex asks me to go bowling, I simply reply, “I can’t, don’t you know I’m vegan now!”
With a renewed sense of vigour, clear skin and bright eyes, I visit a friend’s house for dinner and inquire about “vegetarian options.” Such options include, 1) deal with what he has, or 2) leave.
All in, my foray into the vegan world feels great. When I ate meat, I never ordered dessert because my meal always ended with a frothing diabetic coma.