A Summer Diet?


Ella Olsson from Unsplash

This summer is the perfect time to try a new lifestyle change. El Cid had the opportunity to receive advice on transitioning to a vegetarian or vegan diet! This change may help you find balance in your life.

With summer approaching, social media platforms have begun their annual wave of last minute workouts and extreme diets. Within this time between late spring and early summer, there is no doubt that unhealthy habits are frequently promoted. But inside the millions of posts and videos are some lifestyle changes that are actually beneficial to one’s health.

Take, for example, diet culture. In its plainest terms, there is no denying that diet culture has only developed into a form of starvation. However, diet programs such as vegetarianism, veganism, or pescetarianism have been proven to yield good results.

Vegetarian diets, for example, may reduce the risk of diabetes, some cancers, and obesity. They also aid against elevated LDL cholesterol levels. The most obvious benefits are the positive environmental impacts and ethical treatment of animals.

But is it really so easy to be on a focused diet? And do people recommend it?

Lily Lingham ‘24, attempted the vegan diet for one summer, hoping to see if she would enjoy it. Although she isn’t vegan anymore, Lingham says, “I still don’t eat red meat or fish, and I’m dairy free. So, I don’t eat any meat except chicken, and I’m also gluten free. I try to find balance when I’m eating.”

Lingham adds, “I recommend [the diet] to start healthier lifestyle changes. I used to not even eat fruits and vegetables, but when I started, all I could eat were fruits, vegetables, and healthier versions of proteins.”

The first few steps in making this transition would be to start changing little parts of your diet. For example, choosing air fried chips made of avocado oils instead of regular chips. Another could be drinking probiotic sodas such as Olipops rather than normal sodas. Still, water should be the most important liquid in the day. It has major benefits, including boosting energy, clearing your skin, helping with bloating, and more.

The most critical piece of advice that Lingham ‘24 gave is, “The most important part about making any lifestyle change is to not restrict yourself and not to make rules for yourself that are hard to follow. If you make really high targets and you don’t meet them, that is going to ruin your self esteem and cause you to just give up making beneficial lifestyle changes. The most important part of elevating yourself is to find balance.”

Evan Dodds ‘25, was a vegan for Lent. He explains, “I would say yes, if you’re trying to eat healthier. But, a lot of vegan alternatives, like plant based meats are processed, but I recommend eating vegan. I feel healthier and very hydrated.”

Dodds recommends going on @plantyou on Instagram for ideas on vegan recipes. The page is managed by Carleigh Bodrug, a New York Times bestselling author for her cookbook. She had over 3.1 million followers and is currently verified. Dodds’ favorite meal from Bodrug’s account is the hot wings dish made from cauliflower.

How does someone start a new diet program? There are a few steps that you can take to make the change.

To start, a transition towards this diet would require a new range of vegetables. Browsing the aisles at grocery stores will now be limited to a certain section. Because of this, it is recommended that you try as many different types of produce as possible, and learn to integrate them into new recipes that can mimic enjoyed, non-vegetarian meals.

Many people are usually under the impression that vegetarian diets only consist of salads and tofu. However, plant-based protein also exists. These can even be seen in various restaurants, such as the plant-based Orange Chicken from Panda Express.

Still, fast food will also be strictly limited to a smaller range of selections. Places like Chipotle, Cava, Plant Power, and Rubio’s have a wide amount of foods that can accommodate a vegetarian diet.

Popular recommendations from various restaurants include: Plant Power’s Oreo Milkshake, Big Zac, Buffalo 66, and animal fries; Chipotle’s sofritas and veggie bowl; Luna Grill’s falafel wraps and vegan bowl; and Broad Street Dough Co’s vlugen (vegan-gluten free) donuts.

Although these fast food replacements may make a diet transition easier, research shows that it takes at least 21 days to fully adjust. It is important to be patient and fully dedicate yourself to this diet in order to maintain consistency.

Some habits that may also make the change easier is to eat homemade meals during the first three weeks. This is a form of insurance, in case that there are no possible vegan or vegetarian options available. It’s also a healthy habit to have because you yourself are aware of every ingredient you are putting into your body.

There is no doubt that there is a high amount of work expected to put into a diet transition. Additionally, there are also possibilities of certain disadvantages that diets may have. For example, many vegetarians are prone to iron, B12, or other nutrient deficiencies.

But there is no doubt that the health benefits may far outweigh the costs. This upcoming summer is the perfect time to attempt a lifestyle change. With freedom from school, you can take more time to better yourself, and in some people, vegetarianism or veganism can help with that.

Are these diets for you? Try it this summer, and see what benefits you might experience. Even if only for a short period, you can still experience a positive influence in your life. It might just be one of the best decisions you can make for your health.