On season 42 of “Survivor,” player Hai Giang struggled to maintain his vegan diet on the island.
This season’s players weren’t given the typical ration of rice, which Giang had been hoping to eat.
Giang made the choice to eat seafood on the 2nd episode, saying he’d “eventually” forgive himself.
On Wednesday’s episode of “Survivor,” vegan player Hai Giang wrestled with whether or not to eat crustaceans before giving in.
During the episode, members of the Vati tribe found hermit crabs while foraging in the jungle and brought them back to camp. Since protein can be difficult to come by on the island, especially if the team hasn’t won any fishing gear they can use to catch seafood, the group was grateful for the crabs.
Giang initially turned the food down while his team ate because, as a vegan, he doesn’t consume any meat or animal products, and had planned to maintain that lifestyle while on the show.
He said he knew being vegan on the island would be tough, but there was an unexpected element that made it even more difficult — this season, players weren’t given their usual allotment of rice.
“When Jeff [Probst] said there’d be no rice I knew I had to make a conscious decision about whether I’d eat fish or sea life,” Giang said.
The last time there was no rice given was season 41 in 2021, but players on season 42 were not able to watch it before coming on the show because the two were filmed back to back.
Giang continued, “As someone who loves animals I obviously want to stay true to myself out here, but I’m obviously not going to be able to sustain myself on coconuts alone.”
Giang said the hermit crab was the first food he’d eaten in 5 days
Players on the island often deal with hunger, but they still need to maintain strength in order to compete in physically demanding challenges.
Worried about losing strength and becoming a liability to his team, Giang made the decision to join them in eating the crab.
After eating what he said was the first food he’d had in five days, Giang said he felt “good and guilty.”
Giang said, “I believe the universe will understand in this one nuanced instance” and that “eventually” he would be able to forgive himself for not following a vegan diet on the island.
Giang is not the first ‘Survivor’ player to compromise their usual diets for the show
A number of vegetarians have competed on the show, though Giang may be one of the first vegan players. Not all of them have stuck to their diets, either.
“Survivor” champion Ethan Zohn said he was a vegetarian for over a decade before competing and taking a break from the diet.
“I was actually a vegetarian for 14 years before going out there, so I had to break that if I was going to get any protein. I ate meat for three or four days before going to the island so I wouldn’t get sick,” he told GQ in 2020.
When reached for comment, Hai Giang directed Insider to a CBS spokesperson who declined to comment on the situation.
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