THE CHALLENGE: Go vegan for a week (Monday-Friday only—denying ourselves Annenberg brunch was not an option)



My parents read our last column as a cry for help. When they came up for a visit last Sunday, they brought along two dozen New York bagels. This proved to be a godsend—pieces torn off of these constituted close to half of my diet over the course of the week. Veganism is all about greens, but I have to admit I ate a lot of beige.

Monday: My first meal as a vegan (Annenberg breakfast) introduced me to my first vegan irony. The card pinned up above the pancake syrup proudly declared: vegan. But pancakes? Not so much. I settled for some Apple Zings with soymilk. But a tightening sensation in my throat quickly confirmed that I had not, in fact, conquered my bothersome soymilk allergy (I want to make clear, as a tofu lover, that I am allergic to soymilk, not soy: apparently when soy is cooked, it kills whatever enzyme in soy my body finds objectionable). Half a bagel from my bag-o-bread sufficed for lunch. For dinner I paid a visit to OSUSHI. Despite my dinner companions' assertions to the contrary, I was quite satisfied with the vegetable roll, thank you very much! So satisfied, in fact, that when I started to feel hungry again at around midnight, I picked up a seaweed and cucumber roll at the 24-hour market. Restaurant quality? Very nearly! While I paid, my friend waited for the three Boar's Head sandwiches our study buddies had requested. I averted my eyes.

Tuesday: Another day, another vegan irony. I was pretty excited when a mid-lecture peek at the HUDS website informed me that there would be falafels at lunch. But the label affixed to the tahini dressing I'd hoped to drown my pita in delivered a disappointing revelation: Tahini Dressing—Vegetarian. By the time I learned that this was probably a mistake, I'd long since consumed my distinctly dry falafel sandwich. A Chipotle rice bowl for dinner lifted my spirits. But finding myself hungry late at night, once again, I capped off my second day of veganism with a feast of grapes and granola.

Wednesday: Faced with the prospect of yet another black Americano, I convinced myself that I wasn't so allergic to soymilk. Bad call. I spent the two hours after class I'd budgeted for homework feeling far too nauseous to ponder the vagaries of semantic shifts. Later, at Café Pamplona, I sat (appropriately) green with envy as my friends sampled beef empanadas and flan. I sought comfort with the half a container of granola I had stowed away in Grays.

Thursday: Vaguely repulsed by the notion of yet another bowl of assorted vegan cereals (no Marshmallow Mateys, no Cracklin' Oat Bran, no Honey Nut Scooters), I sampled all the different kinds of bread Annenberg has to offer. The marble slice disappointed, but the raisin bread delivered. For my second HUDS meal of the day, I put together a salad that incorporated close to 100 percent of the salad bar offerings. Later, I met real-life vegan (and Crimson Editorial Chair) Marina Bolotnikova for coffee at everyone's favorite "food lab," Clover. Marina became a vegetarian in middle school, and decided to go vegan around the beginning of high school as she learned more about what she calls "animal agriculture." Marina is extremely passionate about veganism, and believes it to be "the way of the future."