One-month vegetarian experiment report.
On April 25th 2011, I decided to try an experiment of going vegetarian for a month. There were many reasons for this decision. The one I like to give is that I got inspired by Christopher McDougall’s, Born to run. The one I hate to admit is that I was trying to impress some girl*. I swear the idea made so much sense at that time. Starve myself for a month, she’ll be all over me, I convinced myself. (Note to self – Flowers work just fine, genius.)
Anyhow. I successfully completed a month of vegetarianism on May 26th. And I happily broke my ‘fast’ in style with Buffalo Wild Wings at Oasis with the gang. I learnt a bunch of things during this one month:
- I can recollect two separate occasions, on which two different people assumed I was a Hindu because I mentioned I was a vegetarian. When I replied that I wasn’t one, I got surprised looks. It appears to me that people assume muslims are de facto meat-eaters. Wtf?
- I remember discussing the whole one month veg experiment with AR, to which he commented, “I don’t need to experience the Bubonic plague to know its bad for me”. He’s right. There’s no way I can possibly experiment with everything in life. But, I would definitely try as much as I can. It’s just the way I am. I just find that I learn better this way. Plus, in the case of the plague, it literally kills you. It’s not as if I would eat poison tomorrow just to try it. No?
- Eating a meal with friends would invariably lead to a debate on the whole vegetarian vs. meat-eater topic. It made me realize that people love to argue but hate trying it themselves. The hard-core meat eaters would ridicule and make fun of me. But when I asked them to try becoming a vegetarian for a month themselves, they would stubbornly refuse. The vegetarians would be very glad that I was on their side for a month, but when I asked them if they were willing to try meat for a month, they would come up with all sorts of excuses. One of them put it very nicely, he said, ” Boss, once you taste meat, you’re not going back. It’s an irreversible process.”
- When I look back at how I felt during the entire month, it was just like going for a long run.
You start off your run very happy and motivated. You have good rhythm and happy feet. This was how I felt all through the first week. I boasted to everybody how I was trying this cool experiment.
As you cross mile three, you feel your lungs getting heavier. You can feel sweat dripping down your back now. You’re body realizes that you’re not stopping now and your legs feel so heavy – lead feet. This was second week for me. The novelty had worn off. My body had started craving meat to the extent that I started having nightmares in which I chased chicken. The dreams became so warped that in one of them, the chicken had three legs.
As you cross mile six, you’re body succumbs to your mind and you go into auto drive zombie mode. You feel as if you could run forever and ever – numb feet. This was week three. The dreams stopped. Although on one occasion, I was walking to get lunch and heard a rooster crow. I thought to myself that I had finally gone insane and was hallucinating. But it turned out there was a rooster on the stanford campus (photographic evidence above) being used for some sort of experiment. Whew!
The last couple of miles are the worst. You hate running. You curse yourself for doing these crazy things. You promise your body you wont put it through shit like this again. With every step, pain shoots through every muscle and fibre of your body. You clench you fists and bite your teeth and hold on – ouchy feet. The last week was sheer misery. I couldn’t wait to eat my favorite burgers again. I promised myself that for the next whole month, I’d become a strict non-vegetarian. (I did for two weeks – all I ate was meat, meat and more meat)
- One strange thing I noticed is that I got over my addiction for coffee. I don’t understand this very well. I didn’t feel drowsy after lunch / dinner any more and thus didn’t feel the need for coffee any more.
- Also, my running improved drastically. I ran faster and longer. A quick glance at my stats below, clearly show a peak during May.
In conclusion, I think this one-month will be a milestone in my life to come. At the end of the month, I felt happier, lighter and more energetic. I also realized that I won’t be able to sustain becoming a vegetarian for the rest of my life. So, I’ve reached a compromise. I’ve become a week-day vegetarian. More on this in the next post..
* I’m just thankful she wasn’t a vegan.