Ironman champion John Joseph. Boxer Cam Awesome. NFL running back Arian Foster. UFC fighters Nick and Nate Diaz. These are all: a) world-class athletes; b) people who could kick my butt; c) athletes who’ve gone vegan. Answer: all of the above. There’s even a growing community of bodybuilders who swear by the vegan lifestyle.

So what’s it really like? A lifelong carnivore, I eat meat nearly every day. But whether or not you agree with the vegan code of honor—which is, basically: “Don’t kill animals to make your dinner”—you still have to respect people who back their words with action.

With that in mind I went vegan for two weeks. Here are the eight most important things I learned.

Jeff Wilser is the author of Alexander Hamilton's Guide to Life. Follow him on Twitter.