This summer I made the decision to do something that many Latins often hesitate to attempt: become a vegan.
Being Latina and a vegan is difficult since most of our traditional meals consist of meat: arroz con pollo, tripletas, mofongo, alcapurria, pinchos, the list goes on. I think it’s especially difficult for students to make this change when they’re living away from home the first time.
But my goal to try this new lifestyle was simply to try to be healthier, both through my diet and exercise. And from this journey I must say I have felt more energetic, especially in my morning classes, satisfied and not too full after eating. I also have become more enlightened by thoroughly searching labels.
I remember back home during family dinners there would be separate dishes for my vegan brother and sister-in-law, and questions posed to them about why they didn’t eat anything that came from animals. But still I thought, “Why not give this vegan lifestyle a shot?”
The only way I was going to “veganize” my life was to immerse myself so there wouldn’t be any temptations. My brother and sister-in-law live with my family, so I was able to thoroughly observe what their clean, plant-based diet was all about. They briefed me on their ways.
Weeks before my transition, I slowly gave up eating meat as recommended by my brother and sister-in-law so the shock on my body wouldn’t be so intense. I was ready for the challenge…
Since I started my plant-based diet Aug. 1, the change has been a wake-up call and an ordeal on my taste buds and wallet.
Other observations about my new direction:
Now this is not all that easy, and I did slip up on days. They always say to eat something if you’re drinking (hey, it was summer break and I am 23), so I did have one or two beef and chicken empanadas.
And now that I am living back in Orlando with my new vegan foundation and with roommates who aren’t, it is going to be an interesting transition toward maintaining this lifestyle.
With so many non-vegan options on campus, I’ll need to search and explore what my community has to offer.
Amanda Osorio is a UCF junior majoring in humanities and cultural studies. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.