Health And Wellness

I Became A Vegetarian For 7 Days — Here's What Happened

Photo: RossHelen / Shutterstock
woman eating a salad

By Kylie Stigar-Burke

I never set out to become a vegetarian. There wasn’t some seven-day challenge on Facebook that I was nominated to try. Honestly, depriving myself of heavenly chicken nuggets was not even on my radar.

All it truly took for me to see the light of vegetarianism was spending almost $10 on meat for a roast (I know, that’s probably not a lot for the rest of the world but I’m from Ohio), and I thought to myself:

"Why on this green earth am I spending so much money on some poor, dead animal and investing in an industry that is trashing the planet?"

RELATED: What Science Says About Whether Vegetarians Or Meat-Eaters Are The Most Intelligent People

Thus, the experiment began. I figured I’d try this out for one whole week, seven days, and if it were truly impossible, I’d at least have some new recipes under my belt to explore.

Seven short days of being a vegetarian and I discovered I was actually sold. Here’s what I found:

My skin became clearer.

You’re not going to believe it, and that’s totally fine, but my skin cleared up and all those fine, tiny micro-wrinkles disappeared. I speak the truth. And the reason is actually really surprising.

Instead of driving to McDonald’s to grab those delicious salty fries, I was actually making them at home. I used a delicious recipe and got to work whenever I had a hankering for some fries.

Turns out, sweet potatoes are dank af for your complexion! This surprising veggie is packed with vitamin A, C, and E — the perfect combo to make it a beauty food.

I had an abundance of energy.

After maybe two days into my experiment, I woke up before my alarms and even had some time to read a book before getting ready for work. While at the office, I noticed being more alert and focused — the 2:30 p.m. slump was easier to push past, too!

I can’t explain it, but converting over to a plant-based diet shifted everything for me. I was eating foods I, myself, prepared for snacks instead of opening a bag of Doritos, like before.

Being a vegetarian made me realize what I was putting into my body. This plant-forward diet made me overall healthier and more awake.

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I discovered how much I liked cooking.

Possibly the weirdest discovery of all: I found out how much fun cooking is. Mixing ingredients, taste testing, and altering recipes for my own taste buds became something I looked forward to when I came home from work.

Before, it felt like a chore, but now I was searching the internet for fun plant-based cookbooks so I could keep challenging myself and increasing my skills in the kitchen.

By the end of the week, I found myself in the mom-and-pop healthy food stores looking for oddly specific ingredients (try finding cacao powder at Krogers), and even vegan-friendly replacements.

Picky-eating was a thing of the past.

By the last day, I had prepared a meal that in no other life I would have thought to try. This plant-based meal was packed with nutrients and was so unreal delicious that I could have cried from happiness.

And yes, even though I ewww-ed my way through the recipe, I still tried and loved it! I started to get a basic understanding of food for its taste and texture and not just because it smells weird before you cook it. (Sorry, broccoli!)

The week-long challenge not only opened my eyes to a whole new array of food and flavors but also made me realize how terribly I was eating before.

After seven days of giving up my beloved chicken nuggets, I decided to keep it going. I bought a few plant-based cookbooks and most of my meals are a step further, vegan. Eating meat and dairy will never be “off-limits” for me, but the critical fact is that the vast majority of my life is now plant-based.

I’ve developed a whole new relationship with the food I put into my body. Food can be savory and healthy sans meat/dairy. Try it out for yourself. Once you get started, you’ll feel so good you’ll never want to go back!

RELATED: What's The Difference Between Vegan And Vegetarian Diets (And How To Know Which One's For You)

Kylie Stigar-Burke is a writer whose work has been featured in Elite Daily, Huffington Post, Bustle, Yoga Journal, and more.

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This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.