I've always been a person who sweats profusely, no matter the weather or the situation. I can be meeting someone new, and my hands become too clammy to shake, or I'll be talking to a friend, and beads of sweat will just drip down my forehead. Sweating may be a normal biological process, but it's also the bane of my existence. So when I heard one of my vegan friends talk about how she has started sweating less after cutting meat from her diet, I was intrigued. 

You see, I'm a huge meat–eater. Ron Swanson at an all–you–can–eat meat extravaganza can’t even compare. Beef brisket, pork tenderloins, fried chicken, beef sirloin, baby back ribs—you name it, I'll eat it. It was not a rare occasion for me to eat meat off the grill all three meals of the day. Was meat the culprit of my excessive sweating? 

Meat sweats are a phenomenon in which people feel the “thermogenic effect of protein.” Metabolizing food employs energy, and the process can increase the body’s energy use by 25 percent. If you use up enough energy, your body temperature can increase. The issue is, different macronutrients use different levels of energy, and protein, which meats are full of, requires the most. All factors combined, it’s reasonable that excessive meat consumption may result in copious perspiration. 

So, maybe I’ve been having meat sweats all along. There was only one way to find out: I had to cut out meat from my diet. Thus, at the tender age of 18, I let go of one of the greatest loves of my life, for a week.

Day 1

My first day as a pescatarian was surprisingly easy. I oddly didn’t get any of those meat cravings that I usually experience on an hourly basis. However, disaster struck at around 5 p.m., after I had a delicious sushi bowl from Franklin’s Table and took a nap. I grew a massive, freaky bump on my lip, which probably was unrelated to my new pescatarian diet. However, this did induce some nervous sweating as I paced around my dorm, embarrassed to present myself to the public.

Day 2

The freaky bump on my lip disappeared after liberal use of a medicated lip cream, and I proceeded with my experiment. The main meal of the day was a Chipotle bowl with sofritas, and I definitely experienced significantly less sweating. I was extremely proud of myself when I noticed that I wasn’t completely drenched from sweat after a fifteen–minute workout. Usually, whatever t–shirt I wear while exercising would have a ring of sweat on the neckline after two minutes on the elliptical. 

Day 3

After buying myself a long–desired pair of Doc Martens, I treated myself to Sweetgreen’s tofu salad. As I continued shopping, I noticed that even when I went into stores where I would feel self–conscious about my not–stylish–enough outfit, I wouldn’t start nervously sweating. For my 3 a.m. snack, I indulged in some Takis, which are very spicy and heat–inducing for me. Believe it or not, I didn’t start sweating. 

Day 4

I had an exciting trip to the Mütter Museum planned, and since I would have to walk hundreds of steps, rush in and out of the subway, and socialize, I was expecting some sweat. My main meal of the day was a delicious, yet overpriced poke bowl, and guess what? Not a single bead of sweat the whole trip! I even ended up with some pictures in which I am not looking shiny.

Day 5

This day was an extremely difficult day. I’d be going pescatarian in New York City—the city of food! What made things more difficult was the fact that I couldn’t find my friend for the first hour I was there and my phone died. I sweat like crazy. My friend and I ended up only getting coffee together in the city, and when I got back to campus, I Postmated a meatless salad from California Pizza Kitchen. After the exhausting day of twists and turns, I was not only sweating, but I was also starting to feel sick.

Day 6

Luckily, I felt no signs of sickness after waking up today. And my taste buds were desensitized to meatless salads, so I ate one from Houston Hall for lunch. Having a chill day, I experienced no serious sweating.

Day 7

I was in for a rollercoaster this day. After having my first class at 1:30 p.m., I didn't get back to my dorm until after 8 p.m. Even as I speed–walked to opposite sides of campus, I noticed minimal sweating. To end my pescatarian experience with a bang, I enjoyed some fine dining and pampered myself with a luxurious meal of tuna. 

Conclusion:

This experience has been transformative for me. I now know that salads can actually be tasty without meat, and, more importantly, that meat sweats are a real thing. Although cutting out meat decreased the amount I perspired, I would still heavily sweat in situations where fear and nervousness dominated my emotions, but all that is normal. 
It’s been over a week since I went pescatarian, and eating less meat has now been incorporated into my lifestyle. Turns out, meat was the culprit all along. 

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