My Vegan Life: “Is Vodka Vegan?”



By: Lindsay Dolak

Lent, for me, has always been a time of reflection, a time to break bad habits and clean up my act a little bit. Every year, I “give up” something—usually food-related. Two years ago, I went vegetarian. Last year, for a whopping total of about two days, I gave up peanut butter. For the next 40 days and 40 nights, I’m a vegan.

After I assessed my regular eating habits, I began to think of how frightening red meat is. The veiny tendency of chicken, also, is rather unappealing. I gave up thick, hormone-filled milk a while ago. I never cook or bake with butter—I figured I mostly eat vegan already. Oh, and as a nutrition minor, I have to regularly watch horrifying documentaries about the fucked up food industry, which added some fuel to this decision. So, I bought some B-12 supplements to avoid the fatigue fog I might experience from cutting out animal products, and went on my veg-filled way.

On Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, I became engulfed with a frequent feeling of need for fro-yo. Convinced that Yogurtland would, for some reason, be well-stocked with a decent selection of dairy-free options, I planned a stop in during my drive home that night. One flavor option. Just one. Dragon-berry-fruit tart or something like that. Delicious, sure, but the inability to sample the plethora of new flavors was devastating.

My first weekend of spring break was booked with a trip to Delaware to visit my older sister. I was guaranteed a good time when she texted me to ask what type and flavor of alcohol she should get to celebrate my arrival. “Anything citrus,” I began to type back. Before I even hit send, however, the lingering question that had haunted most of my meals entered my mind: Is it vegan? Is vodka vegan? I came to the conclusion that yes, vodka is vegan. However, most brands of orange juice—my chaser of choice—are not (insert sad face emoji).

A major struggle throughout my first week as a vegan revolved around an incessant need for sweets. To my dissatisfaction, chocolate and most gummy-type candy contain gelatin, often made of animal parts (mmm, Jell-O…not) and are out of the question. And don’t even get me started with eating out at restaurants. During a lunch out in Delaware, my only menu option was a Cobb salad—hold the chicken, blue cheese, bacon, and vinaigrette, which was made with eggs. The literal half head of lettuce, undressed with a side of cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, was such a stereotypical #veganproblem. I laughed my way through every clean-eating bite.

I’ll be honest, my palate longs for chocolate, and I occasionally hallucinate visions of Domino’s pizza. My body feels fantastic, though, now that the initial clean out phase has passed (oh shit, sorry!). Veganism, for the right reasons—ahem, not weight loss—is a rewarding process, and I’m excited for the experience. Oh, and I promise not to mention that I’m a vegan within the first five minutes of every conversation with everyone I know like every vegan I’ve ever met. Bring it on, Lent.