Vegan For A Week


Raven Abridello

Some of Raven's vegan groceries for the week included kale, cashew yogurt, avocado,and almond milk.

Raven Abridello and Madisun Tobisch

Raising animals for agriculture, dairy production, and egg production has been shown to have negative lasting impacts on the environment, including raised carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, increased water usage, and deforestation to provide land for said production. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an estimated 219,000 gallons of water is saved by one person by going vegan for one entire year, along with up to 200 animals.
With the United Nations report that came out in October 2018 stating that we only had 12 years to attempt to reverse rapid climate change, people have been trying to do their part to help reverse the damage done by refusing single-use plastics, buying second-hand instead of taking part in fast fashion, and by going vegan.
Two Cub reporters have been interested in seeing a glimpse into the vegan lifestyle and attempted to not eat any meat, eggs, or dairy for one week, along with furthering their own knowledge of what it means to be vegan and how it impacts the environment.


 Raven’s Experience

   For this week, I wanted to branch out and try things I wouldn’t have otherwise tried, as well as try to make some of my favorite foods vegan. I went into this week with a complete meal plan for the week, with meals cooked from home as well as options of what to get from restaurants and coffee shops.
I prepared for the week by going grocery shopping on Saturday night, buying fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to tofu, cashews, yogurt, and almond milk coffee creamer. I bought everything from my regular grocery store, and the total cost groceries for the week was the same as a normal week, give or take a few dollars.

   I have been vegetarian for two years, and I normally don’t drink cow’s milk unless it’s in coffee from a coffee shop, and I don’t like eggs, so I didn’t need to make that many adjustments for this week. This week would have been relatively easy, but I was sick for the better half of the week, so I didn’t follow the plan I had previously made as much as I wanted to.
I had plans to make Buddha bowls and kale chips a few times this week, but that was instead replaced by avocado toast and green tea. I did make Buddha bowls once this week, and made a big pot of hot and sour soup at the beginning of the week.

The one thing that was a bit of a challenge for me this week was ordering coffee from my usual coffee stand, simply because they don’t make vegan caramel macchiatos.
The first couple of times I got coffee this week, I completely forgot that I was supposed to order something dairy-free, and I accidentally ordered my usual caramel macchiato. The third time I got coffee this week, I remembered to order something vegan-friendly, and opted for an iced almond milk latte.

   Even though I accidentally messed up a couple of times throughout this week with my coffee, the rest of the week was dairy, meat, and egg free, and I felt great knowing that there weren’t any animals suffering because of my choice to eat animal products.
I would really like to go vegan full time in the future, but for now, I’d like to do a couple of days a week vegan because I think that every choice you make has an impact, whether you directly see it or not.

 Madisun’s Experience

As an omnivore, I headed into vegan week knowing that it would be difficult, but I was pleasantly surprised by how doable a vegan lifestyle is if you are willing to stick with it.
I started my week by going to the co op in Mount Vernon to buy some vegan friendly snacks for quick and easy lunches. I wanted to try a variety of different options so I bought several different types of granola bars, several caffeinated teas, and most importantly vegan coffee creamer.

The stereotype that vegan foods are more expensive than regular foods is only true some of the time. The granola bars at the co op are more expensive than the ones at the local grocery store, but they are locally sourced and contain guaranteed organic ingredients.
Working in a Thai restaurant made dinners very easy. There is practically no dairy used in traditional Asian cooking so for dinner each night I made vegan stir fried with veggies and occasionally rice noodles. It was much more fun experimenting with new recipes rather than making the usual on-menu items I would have otherwise made for myself.

I found that the most challenging aspect of the week was finding places that were able to conveniently accommodate the vegan lifestyle. I can see how living in a rural area like Skagit Valley is harder than the lifestyle of city vegans that have a readier access to vegan restaurants and natural markets. When hanging out with friends, you have to not only agree on a place to eat but you have to make sure they have at least one vegan option before going. There is a constant consciousness that is required with veganism. The amount of times I asked, “is this vegan,” was astounding.

It is hard work and a lot of vegans wear it like a badge of honor. I met a woman in Fred Meyer who I saw buying almond cheese and grapefruits about veganism and she happily boasted that she hadn’t eaten meat in over 45 years. Veganism is it’s own culture and it is a trend that is rapidly growing according to Food Revolution. There are countless reasons why an individual might choose to go vegan, but I think it’s a great way to help out the environment while having fun pushing your limits and trying something new. I was proud that I went an entire week without giving in to old habits of meat and dairy. I stepped out my comfort zone and will happily continue incorporating more vegan-friendly food into my everyday routine.