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Two weeks ago, my vegetable-averse friend was issued a challenge — eat only greens during the week leading up to Spring Fling.

The difficulties he would face may not be immediately apparent, but think about it. You can be in quite a pickle after a night of drinking — and like it or not, people drink a lot during Fling — if you can’t head straight to McDonald’s to preemptively combat a hangover with a 50-nugget deal.

But rather than throw my friend into the deep end, I figured I ought to first give this task a whirl before he landed in the hospital for alcohol poisoning.

There are always difficulties making a transition from one form of diet to another. My one-week attempt at being a vegetarian was no exception.

I could handle corn-only tacos at Chipotle on the first day, but by the second day, I was back to ordering ginger chicken at Kim’s.

I’m not the only person who has failed in that respect. My friend and Wharton and Engineering senior Junxu Lye has been struggling with his resolution to go pescetarian — somebody who eats only seafood and produce — the entire year.

Lye, who made the dietary switch for “health reasons,” confessed that he started his diet “knowing he was going to fail.”

“I didn’t start out trying to be vegetarian, but my new diet has helped me to be more observant about my food choices,” he said, noting that he chooses white meat over red meat and pays particular attention to how it is cooked on the occasions when he abandons his pescetarianism.

“The biggest obstacle,” Lye said, “is sticking to your plans when your friends choose to have dinner at a steakhouse.”

Another major problem would-be vegetarians are afraid they might face is a lack of delicious dining options at affordable prices — something Penn Vegetarian Society President and College junior Victor Galli has been working hard to change for the last two years.

Galli believes there are already “plenty of places on campus vegetarians and vegans can eat at,” citing Indian restaurant New Delhi at 40th and Chestnut streets as an example. Late-night snacks are also not a problem, with places like Ed’s Buffalo Wings & Pizza delivering vegan pizza right to students’ doorsteps.

It’s an observation I am hard-pressed to disagree with. Despite my difficulties keeping to my dietary regulations, the new diet made me aware of the vegan options available at Penn I never knew existed before, such as those at Hummus or Metropolitan Bakery.

So what made it so hard for me to abide by a vegetarian diet for just a week? And how do vegans like Galli do it?

“In my time as a vegan, I have never had a problem, I have never been hungry, there was never not enough,” he said. “I simply choose not to eat everything that all my friends eat.”

And therein lies the difference. All diets — whether for moral, religious, health or even vanity reasons — work if and only if you are committed to those reasons. Here on campus, we’re privileged enough to have a variety of options that can cater to budding dieters. We really have no excuse for why our diets aren’t working — it just takes a little discipline.

Rachel Au-Yong is a College sophomore from Singapore. Her email address is Combat Ray-tions appears every other Monday.

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