People often change their diets to lose weight, but that wasn’t the focus for junior Amalia Vazquez.
Vazquez went on a 30-day plant diet at the beginning of the semester. The idea for the diet came from a Bible story in Daniel 1 of how Daniel refused to eat meat and instead ate vegetables and water for a short period of time.
“I was reading this, and I was like, ‘Huh, that’s interesting,’” Vazquez said. “So I decided to do it, too.”
For Vazquez, it was less about the actual diet and more about the act of dieting.
“I wanted it to be a more personal thing, personal growth,” she said. “That’s what really triggered me into doing it.”
At the same time, however, the diet helped Vazquez turn her focus away from food.
“I’m a stress eater,” Vazquez said. “I didn’t want to become dependent on my food for my moment of bliss.”
Vazquez said she had to set up her own boundaries for the diet.
“I would only eat fruits and vegetables,” Vazquez said. “I could drink anything to keep my energy up, so I would drink protein shakes and smoothies.”
Vazquez expressed many different feelings during the month of the diet.
“The first day I felt like crap,” she said. “By day 10 I felt revived. By then I felt a connection with God. What I was consuming wasn’t as important as what I was consuming with Him. And by day 25 I didn’t want it to end.”
Because of her positive experience with the diet, Vazquez said she is willing to do it again. The benefits of the diet aren’t lost on her.
“I’m such a picky eater,” Vazquez said. “It’s so hard to open myself up to eating different things.”
Another benefit of the diet came from realizing some of her own abilities.
“Now that I know I can give things up, I am more revived to give up the things I hold really high,” Vazquez said.
Unfortunately, with the benefits also came a few downfalls. Vazquez said it wasn’t the best decision in terms of health.
“It took a heavy toll on my body at first,” Vazquez said.
But through proper adjustment, she was able to find solutions for the challenge.
“At times my energy would crash,” Vazquez said. “What I did for that was I would eat smaller portions all day long.”
Vazquez called the diet a spiritual experience.
“I created a new bond with God, a new insight into what my spiritual relationship could be,” Vazquez said. “I got a new understanding about my faith.”
Vazquez had many words of wisdom for those curious about trying something similar.
“Slowly come into the diet; don’t jump into it,” Vazquez said. “It’s definitely safer that way.”
She also had another suggestion for students.
“Pray about it first,” Vazquez said. “Don’t do this for self-image, or to look better; it’ll never work. Do it for spiritual and mental growth. Take care of your body; take care of yourself. Love yourself enough to challenge yourself.”