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Transcript of Omnivore's Dilemma
Our group chose to eat vegan for a week to represent our vision of sustainable eating. It was my responsibility to eat in the North Ave Dining hall during this time. This is my personal experience during our week of veganism.
In general, I eat a lot of non-vegan foods.
Everything I normally eat for breakfast at Woodruff Dining Hall is not vegan. (Sausage and egg biscuit and skim milk)
Eating lunch and dinner at Alpha Chi Omega caused a few problems with my Omnivore's Dilemma.
Set menu, bad for veganism
Salad bar, good for veganism, but lack of variety
Why I want to be vegan
Animal cruelty, my love for animals
Why I am not vegan
Temptation, love the taste
More difficult, less options, less convenient
I was left tired, hungry, frustrated with the lack of variety, and found myself craving meat, cheese, and bread. I felt healthier, but it did not make me want to become vegan; in fact, it discouraged me. If I were to try it again, I could probably enjoy vegetarianism more.
Eating vegan for a week made me feel healthier, and by healthier I mean more energized. It was easier to get through my rough days and I would not feel dead tired in the mid afternoon. Also salad is delicious and I enjoyed most of the meals I ate.
Resisting cravings for meat was a big challenge. Not only meat but other food that are not vegan. Although I enjoy eating salad the lack of variety was a con, I ate salad at least once a day. Another challenge is the fact that we are on a college campus with a meal plan that has limited variety. I feel that it was a setback to not be able to have much choice in what I ate regularly.
Our group decided to approach this topic of eating sustainably by going vegan for a week. We defined eating sustainably as eating foods that are healthy for oneself and the earth.
Everyday, nearly 2,400 Americans die of some type of cardiovascular disease - this amounts to an average of ONE DEATH EVERY 36 SECONDS. In many of these cases, the disease is largely caused by eating a diet that is full of animal-derived products.
My Personal Findings
Eating vegan made sense logically.
If possible, I would continue this diet for this reason.
If it got in the way of my daily routine, I would stop.
It did not make a huge difference in my life, but I would not give up desserts.
My Food Journal
Setup at Alpha Chi Omega
Eating Sustainably As a Vegan
Reason - because I had to
Don't care about eating sustainably
Mind opening and interesting experience
At home - much easier and a more fulfilling diet.
Difficult eating sustainably with variety
Eat at the sorority house for lunch and dinner five days a week
Not many vegan options
Salad - every meal
We all thought it was interesting to be able to experience being vegan, but not all of us enjoyed it. For one reason or another, it is likely that none of us will continue eating completely vegan after this experiment. It is certainly difficult to be vegan, and therefore sustainable, on Georgia Tech's campus, but it is not impossible.
What did I eat?
Around the house and at the dining halls:
salad with carrots, sprouts, sunflower seeds, cranberries, chickpeas, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing
fruits - apples, grapes, oranges, bananas
vegetables not covered in butter
Chipotle - flour tortillas usually with rice, black beans, salsa, and guacamole and other vegetables
plain baked potato
What I got out of this
I have learned a great deal from eating vegan just from this small amount of time
felt more energized when I was able to get a good meal in but very tired and hungry if not
learned what a lot of foods were actually made of
I'm not sure if I would be vegan again but if so, I would definitely not try it on a college campus.
What I gained through this experience was a new view on what I eat on a daily basis. Although I do not see the vegan lifestyle as a fit one for myself, it opened my eyes to the different foods I can eat which are still part of a sustainable diet. I my also learned more about my body and which foods benefit me in certain ways. Overall, it was an eye opening experience to a different way of life I had never accepted before.
This is the salad bar at North Ave Dining hall. I prepared the majority of my meals here. It includes a salad bar with plenty of different toppings such as tomatos, carrots, onions, and even cranberries. I could not eat ranch so I usually prepared a vinegar dressing to eat with my salad.
Ate breakfast primarily at Woodruff Dining Hall and lunch and dinner primarily at Alpha Chi Omega
Wrote down a log of everything I ate in the "Notes" app on my phone
Avoided all food with animal products
I normally don't snack, but I had to eat fruits in between meals because my salads left me hungry fairly quickly after each meal.
"Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long to continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do." (Pollan 333)
What We Could/Couldn't Eat
Any food containing meat and/or other animal products
Making Georgia Tech More Sustainable
Dining hall layout, place healthier food in places that make them at easier access than junk foods.
Add variety to salad bars
Keep salad bar open later and full.
More tasty vegan and vegetarian options.
More juice options and placed in area with easier access and visibility.
We believed eating vegan would help us eat sustainably because plants derive their energy directly from the sun. When we eat only plant products, we are obtaining energy as directly from the sun as humanly possible.
Therefore, vegan foods are lower on the food chain, closer to nature itself, and take fewer calories to be produced than animal products.
Not only is it better for you, but it also is more ethically acceptable. By not eating meat and dairy products, we counteracted the mistreatment of animals on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) which are also bad for the environment.
Eating vegan is our way of giving back to the earth after it grants us nutrition.