Friday, January 6, 2023

My Vegetarian Experience

The low point of my vegetarian experience, eating lunch at a place where the menu is basically cheeseburgers and cheesesteaks. 

To start this year I decided to give a vegetarian diet a one week try. It wasn't a New Year's resolution, more of just satisfying a bit of a curiosity. It was presented as a one week vegetarian or vegan experience by Harvey Lewis on his Facebook page and an Instagram post. Initially I was skeptical and had the same thoughts anytime I think about a vegetarian or vegan diet: that it would be too difficult for me, that I would be hungry all the time, meals would feel like they were missing something and be less satisfying, and that I would crave certain foods like beef jerky and grilled cheeseburgers.

I'm beginning day six of this experience as I write this and it has been quite surprising for me. For the first two days I posted at the end of the day what all of my vegetarian meals were. I thought I would continue this for the entire week, but by day three I was returning to my routine following some time off after the holidays. I was back to packing leftovers to bring to work for lunch without much thought going into the fact that they were leftovers of vegetarian meals. I didn’t feel the need to post a daily update about what I was eating at that point; it began to just feel like routine.

The Instagram post from Harvey Lewis introducing the experience.

I think something clicked for me at the end of the second day. I went to lunch with the family at a 50’s diner where the bulk of the menu was cheeseburgers and cheesesteaks. That’s the most tempted I was to end my vegetarian experience at any point during the week. I had committed to one week, so I went with the Cesar salad and enjoyed some tasty cheese fries. It certainly wasn’t what I would have ordered if we had gone there a few days earlier. Anyway, later that evening at dinner time I decided to make the chickpea curry I had planned as part of this vegetarian experience. It turned out to be delicious and felt just as satisfying and complete as any meal I’ve had that included animal protein. And the leftovers have been just as good and make for such an easy meal!

As I approach the end of my one week vegetarian experience, I figure the main question is whether or not I will continue it. As of now, I don’t know. I’ve heard accounts from so many athletes about improved performance and faster recovery when they became vegan or vegetarian so that definitely makes it attractive to me. Additionally, I’ve found that I am not missing or craving animal protein like I thought I would. Of course it’s only been a single week, so maybe that will change with time if I do decide to continue with this experiment. And it is certainly far too early to make any kind of judgment about how the change in my diet has impacted my running. At the very least, the experience has been enlightening and changed my initial distaste for a vegetarian diet. It has changed my mindset that a meal is not complete without a form of animal protein. Without a doubt it has been a positive experience (with the exception of watching delicious cheesesteaks being prepared and consumed all around me at one meal) that I am happy I somewhat reluctantly chose to try. Thank you for the challenge Harvey!

Scott Snell
6 January 2023


  1. So I went with the vegan challenge, and to be honest I can somewhat feel the difference between before, during, and after. The two biggest differences are energy and "recovery". During the vegan week I was definitely more motivated to spend the time making a healthy meal/snack. Now I'm kinda like, blah. The other thing I noticed was that I tend to get this slightly dead feeling in my quads. It doesn't seem to really affect me, but I can feel it. During vegan week, it was gone and now has returned. As I mentioned elsewhere, I also did yoga that whole first week as well. I think a good experiment would be for me to pick the yoga back up and see if either thing goes away and then we'd have our answer.