Lauryn Higgins is a native of the Tarheel State and currently a graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is studying...
In my house, pimento cheese and bacon are condiments. Butter is served with a side of bread and last week I popped my jaw from trying to fit a whole bacon cheeseburger into my mouth. So, I decided a change might be in order. And I figured why not go big or go home?
I decided to go vegan for the month of October – to dedicate myself to a month long journey of researching, understanding and practicing the diet of veganism.
For those of you not familiar with veganism, it is a plant based diet. In other words, no products from animals can be consumed. No meat, dairy, eggs or honey. Unfortunately, cheese does fall under dairy, therefore making cheesecake off limits. Moment of silence, please.
But let's be serious for a minute. Like many of you, I have seen the food documentaries, read the articles and seen the effects of fast food on people’s waistlines. I understand the severity of our food culture. I am a product of it. Just look at my Instagram feed. We have turned food into profit making endeavors, like blogs, magazines, television networks and even the center piece of major holidays. We all understand that food is vital for our survival, but at what cost to our health?
The food industry is a business and like most other businesses – the least amount of work for the greatest amount of profit is the key to success. However, in the 1970’s, the top five beef packers controlled roughly 25% of the US market. Today the top four control 80% of the market, thus causing E.coli breakouts to rise incredibly in the last three decades, and making it much more difficult to control those breakouts and contain them. Or in Tar Heel, NC, home to the largest slaughterhouse in the world, Smithfield, approximately 32,000 hogs a day are killed. That’s more hogs than people living in the town of Tar Heel. Our food industry has settled on quantity over quality. And quite frankly, it scares me.
(You can find more information here.)
So for the next month, I am going to attempt to take myself out of the grip of the mainstream food culture and practice veganism. I am going to ask myself where my food is coming from and hopefully find some answers.
I’ll be chronicling my journey and sharing new recipes, local restaurants, dishes, tips and tricks I've picked up along the way. So be sure to check back every Thursday in October for a new post. If you have any helpful comments, be sure to leave them below.