During Lent, the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, many Christians give up something they enjoy, like eating chocolate, or do something difficult, like eating healthy.
Hannah Imhoff, 14, a ninth-grader at Community School of Davidson, decided that for Lent this year, she would eat healthy.
She decided “to go vegan,” she said. Vegans don’t eat any foods originating from animals, so Hannah isn’t eating beef, chicken or fish, and she also does not eat or drink any dairy products or anything made with eggs.
“The hardest thing is not eating baked goods, like cookies,” Hannah said.
Hannah decided to go vegan for Lent “because I thought it would be a challenge and would eliminate a lot of the unhealthy foods I was eating,” she said.
Her original plan was to do this with her friend: “My friend tried to eat vegan,” Hannah said, “but after a week, she couldn’t do it.”
When people ask what she can eat, Hannah’s reply is, “I say I eat anything that doesn’t have ingredients that come from an animal.… For breakfast, I have protein shakes to make sure I get my protein. I eat yogurt made with soymilk. I eat salads and fruits a lot. I do eat tofu sometimes, and beans and stuff like that.”
Hannah said she “hasn’t decided if I will keep eating this way after Lent.” But she said she has lost weight, feels healthier “and my skin looks better,” she said. “I don’t every feel tired. I’ve gotten more energy, if anything.”
Her vegan experience has presented some bumps in the road: “I went out to dinner with my friend, ordered a salad and didn’t realize there was cheese in it,” she said. “I took a big bite and had to spit it out on my plate.
“My friend said he had to laugh at me. He said it was embarrassing. I wasn’t embarrassed. I did it all pretty nonchalantly.”
After high school, Hannah said, she would like to study to be “a nurse or something in that field.” She’d like to go to college at either N.C. State or Appalachian State, she said.
“Both colleges are in-state, have a great cheer team, and I like both locations. They’re really good schools.”
Hannah is the daughter of Mark and Denise Imhoff and lives in Sterling Pointe in Cornelius, with her dogs Jack, a Westie; Maci, a maltipoo; and Oreo, a guinea pig.
In her free time, Hannah enjoys competitive cheering, playing soccer, spending time on the lake and picking on her younger sister, Sarah.
Lisa Daidone is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lisa? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.