Ignore the Midnight Munchies, Veg Out Instead

I’m hungry. It’s 6 a.m. and I would trade my left hand for some pollo asado fries.

Last week I read that Bill Clinton — the notoriously cheeseburger-loving head of state — decided to cut all meat, dairy, processed sugars and preservatives from his diet. This from the man who ordered a double hamburger, an order of fries and onion rings, and an apple-pie flavored milkshake in between speeches at the Center for Disease Control’s 2009 Conference on Obesity Prevention and Control.

Only five years after his quadruple heart bypass, Clinton’s eating habits had again clogged his veins. Four months into his new diet, he lost 24 pounds and is healthier than ever.

I’ll admit it, my college diet of “whatever is easiest and closest to me” probably isn’t the healthiest. But if someone who was considered a regular at his local Micky D’s could go vegan, how hard could it be?

I figured I’d go big or go home: I chose to join the ranks of B. Clinton and go vegan: essentially the badass version of being a vegetarian. My future held no meat, no dairy, no anything from animals.

I hopped online beforehand to see if there’d be any negative side effects. Most vegans don’t get enough B12, vitamin D, calcium, iodine and omega-3 fatty acids, and after an expensive trip to CVS I had picked up the supplements in pill form. Yum.

And so it began.

I love fruits and (most) veggies. Apples and orange juice for breakfast? No problem. A Greek salad — hold the feta — for lunch? A cinch. Chipotle salad bowl with grilled veggies for dinner? Awesome.

But let’s be honest: There are only so many days you can walk into Chipotle and order the slightly soggy veggies while the grilled chicken stares up at you. And there are only so many times you can open your fridge and ignore the pepper jack, begging to become sourdough grilled cheese.

It didn’t help that the weather was acting like a poorly designed rollercoaster. Blistering hot on Wednesday. Ice cream, anyone? Freezing rain on Thursday. Doesn’t pho sound good? Clear skies Friday meant I could resume checking the “Nutritional Facts” for anything animal.

A week into it, I had lost five pounds, but I also couldn’t do much aside from thinking about food. Simple things like bread was off the menu. Even my bird could eat bread.

My goal was to be healthier, but jumping onto the vegan train cold turkey — pun intended — was too intense. Whoever said “moderation is key” was onto something. If you’re animal friendly, or just want to try to something new, start slow, and consult a doctor before doing anything drastic. Jumping into a strict “fruits and veggies” diet might have worked for Bill — but then again, this was the man who got Israel and Palestine to sign the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles peace treaty. So why shouldn’t he be able to tackle the hardest diet known to mankind? Good for you Mr. President, you’ve once again proved that you’re cooler than me.