In 2004, a rebellious preteen me, decided that I wanted to be different than everyone else. I was going to stop eating meat. That’d show ‘em. Little did I know, 10 years later I would still be a faithful vegetarian and now a vegan. My veganism started in kind of a weird way. Last semester I started to have stomach aches almost every night and I never knew why. When I went home for winter break I recorded everything I ate in a day and realized that the dairy I was consuming was causing my stomach to hurt constantly.
I had thought about going vegan for a while but could never commit to it. I had a strange love for cheese. I had to throw that love away so I could start to feel better. At first I didn’t want to believe that it was the dairy that was causing it, the thought of giving up Whit’s alone was too horrid, but in the end it was worth it. I have to admit, it was really tough in the beginning. I had no clue what to eat, where to buy it, or how to cook it. I knew that I could eat the sushi at Ginger and the pad thai from Fusion, and that was about it. I have discovered so many more options that are out there. Athens is such a great place for vegans. The Farmacy, for example, is a great place that provides amazing, local, dietary restriction friendly products. I can find all of my groceries there, and the people there are the absolute sweetest people. I also discovered curry Fridays at Fluff Bakery; they have some out-of-this-world vegan curry.
I also learned to cook some interesting things. I have quickly become a quinoa addict, it is so good. I also attend Vegan Cooking Workshop, which gives me the opportunity to cook and eat some delicious vegan food. The transition has been hard but I overall feel so much better; my energy has increased, and I don’t feel as weighed down as I used to. I just feel healthier and after watching some grueling documentaries about factory farming, I was pretty happy with the impact I was making for the environment as well. Like I said, it hasn’t been easy, but the change that took place in my body was completely worth it. Though I still do crave pizza every now and again.
Courtney Brooke is currently majoring in Outdoor Recreation and Education and receiving her certificate in Environmental Studies. She enjoys a good vegan meal and anything to do with music. In her free time she enjoys identifying trees, dancing around her room, and eating insane amounts of food in one sitting…