I Tried to Be Vegan for a Week, and This Is What Happened to My Body

Let me start by introducing myself: I'm Hallie, a beauty editor who cares about health and wellness. It's practically part of my job description. That being said, I'm also a person who indulges in meat and dairy-dressed dishes at almost every meal. I'd even go so far as to say meat is always the pièce de résistance when I sit down to eat.

At Byrdie, we have two vegan editors who, with no judgment whatsoever, talk about their food choices in a way that just makes sense. I've gone out to meals with both of them and questioned my allegiance to meat every single time. Between that and the night I spent watching Netflix's Okja (watch it; you'll cry the whole way through and swear off the meat industry by the time the credits roll), I decided to experiment with a plant-based diet… for a week.

Before embarking on this (very out-of-character) journey, I spoke to Victoria, our wellness editor, about her experience and why she decided it was right for her. "At first, my veganism (I do feel the need to clarify that technically, I identify as plant-based, and while I use vegan as the more colloquial term, my entire routine is technically not vegan—I still own leather, for example) was basically a progression from being a nondairy vegetarian," she says. "After giving up dairy, I was so astonished by how great I felt that I decided to go all the way and eliminate all other animal products, too. I hadn't been eating meat for a few years at this point for personal moral reasons.

"But my aha moment came a year later when I took a college class about food, animals, and the environment. While diving into the ethics of our food system and animal cruelty certainly cemented my reasoning for avoiding those products, I was even more struck by the horrific environmental ramifications of factory farming, which is one of the leading causes of climate change. It inspired me to read a ton of literature on the subject, and I feel passionate about my role as a consumer in the fight for our planet.

"But physically speaking, I also know that my body thrives on my plant-based diet. (I also recognize that every body is different, and some people truly can't get the nutrition they need, but it works for me.) I try my best to eat sustainably, and I love the experience of buying my produce from the farmers market. It makes me feel connected to the planet, and I think that's a huge part of my health as well."

Inspired by her words and excited about the new vegan restaurants in the area, I prepared myself for a week without animal products. Below, I lay out the play-by-play and explain how it all went down.

Next up: Women discuss the wellness practices that helped them get over a bad breakup.

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.