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Vegan One Month

[The Tennessean]

From National Pancake Month to Dachshund Day, every cause and creation seems to have its moment.

But when we learned about National Vegan Month in September, we smelled a challenge like a wok of stir-fried tofu. Could we follow the lifestyle for a month?

Vegans abstain from consuming all animal and dairy products, which differs from vegetarians, who allow eggs, milk and cheese in their diets. And vegans sometimes have an unfair stereotype as angry (think animal rights protesters slinging red paint) and hungry (think bland beans and rice). Five staffers at The Tennessean wanted to learn about the advantages and disadvantages firsthand.

As we blogged about our experiences at vegan, we wondered about others in our community who have altered their lifestyle for their diet. We learned about their motivations, such as animal rights, health or the environment, and about their paths toward — or even away — from veganism.


Although the Vegan for a Month project ends today, the staffers at The Tennessean still have a lot to learn. We've scratched the surface on some of the challenges a vegan faces, such as inconvenience at parties and restaurants, or uncomfortable social situations when non-vegan food must be rejected. But we've also appreciated learning about the benefits on our health, the environment and animal welfare. Although strict vegans and vegetarians can be commended for their discipline, the team had slipups on occasion. But instead of viewing an accidental food choice as a complete failure, we pressed on. Our coach, Yvonne Smith of the Traveling Vegetarian, commented that it's nearly impossible to be a perfect vegan.

Just like with any food choice, you have to take it one meal at a time.


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