Jermaine Dupri is doing it in honor of World Vegan Day and Month, both in November. The Grammy Award-winning producer and artist, known for his So So Def imprint, and work with everyone from Jay-Z to Usher and Mariah Carey, has been a vegan for the last 15 years.
“In the beginning of this I was here in Atlanta. It was around, but it was a thing that you had to find," Dupri told Inside Edition Digital. “It was like underground music almost, like you had to go find it. You had to go to the places where they're playing the music. It wasn't put in your face.”
Dupri says one of the things that made him switch to veganism was his constant need for cheese.
“I think sometimes when people do this, they're not addressing their problem, their inner problem. My inner problem was that I was addicted to dairy, I believe. I couldn't do anything without cheese. I wanted cheese on everything,” he said.
Dupri says he understands how difficult it can be for some to make the switch, since vegans only eat plant-based foods, no seafood or meat, and none of their byproducts, including eggs, dairy and honey. It’s why he says he doesn’t push it on anyone. However, he says it’s a lifestyle change you mentally have to commit to in order to affect true change.
“I feel like if one person changes their life from this challenge then that's a start. I'm sure that more people will be there but I'm just saying all it takes is one person. One person like myself that's really really strict about it, they will transform probably 10, 11 people, and those 10, 11 people they'll find somebody else and it'll just go,” said Dupri.
Myself, a carnivore, decided to take Dupri up on the challenge to go plant-based for one full day. Full disclosure—I have not eaten red meat (minus oxtail) in more than a year and a half. I do not miss it.
“Meal” 1: A Snack
Later on in the afternoon after Dupri and I spoke, I began the challenge. I leafed through my fridge to assess what I had. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad. I’d had all the ingredients I’d usually make for a salad. Trouble is, with that salad, I usually have fish or meat. Hungry enough for a meal, I ultimately couldn’t risk slipping the first meal in. So instead, I opted for blackberries.
Meal 2: Dinner
Usually, blackberries will last me about two days. I polished them off in a matter of minutes. It was then I decided to go to the supermarket for some dinner. After getting help from someone at the market on what to buy (I had no cell service in there, OK?!) I returned with a small haul, including plant-based ground beef, plant-based bacon burgers and breakfast sausage, nutritional yeast and vegan Rye bread. Dinner was actually quite good. I grilled up the premade “burger” patties and dressed it like I would a turkey burger—lettuce, tomato and red onion, sans cheese. Also threw a few purple potato slices on the grill too. I also wound up eating dinner a bit later than I usually would. Desert was vegan salted caramel ice cream. Had no idea I’d devour that in the manner I did. JD was right, I didn’t feel the heaviness I would’ve, had this been a meal including meat and dairy.
Meal 3: Breakfast
Breakfast time. I was anxious to try out the sausage. To my surprise, it tasted just like your run of the mill sausage patty. Trouble was the rye toast. It. was. AWFUL. Worst part was, I could not get the taste out of my mouth. It took hours. That was horrific. Asked my co-workers if they wanted the rest of the bread, since I hate wasting food.
I couldn’t give it away.
Meal 4: Dinner
I had some fruit and a couple of fruit pops to try and get rid of that lingering taste, so I wasn’t hungry again until much later. It was time to tackle the plant-based ground beef. I decided on chili. I pretty much treated it like, again, I would’ve turkey chili. What I was expecting out of that meal was far different than what I got. It was pretty good, but the “beef” had the same smoky, grilled taste that the burger patties had, which didn’t quite ruin it for me. Again, no heavy feeling after that meal either.
In all, it wasn’t that bad to be #PlantBasedforaDay. In fact, I continued it until I was done with the chili (it was a big pot). I could be vegan-ish. One thing I can say is that the experience has made me far more mindful of what I eat. Maybe JD changed my outlook on food after all!