After a tiring day at school, most people head home and grab an afterschool snack. Usually, students eat yogurt, a sandwich or maybe chips. However, many have made the choice to restrict certain foods for the good of the environment and their health.
When a vegan decides to prepare a snack, they do have limitations. Since they cannot consume any dairy products, most vegans drink almond or soy milk and eat only certain types of cheeses. Since meat is not a part of their diet, most vegans rely on fruits and vegetables to get their flavor and taste. A typical vegan snack would be rice cakes. People get very creative with this food and add a variety of spreads and toppings. From avocado and almond butter spreads to berries and fruits, the creative possibilities are endless. Although this diet sounds hard and complicated, the pleasures and advantages of this diet are prominent.
According to the nonprofit organization Veganuary, only about 0.4 percent of the population was vegan in 2015, and many people didn’t even know what this diet consisted of. Now, almost a quarter of Americans identify as vegan, and this year, an estimated 300,000 people decided to go fully vegan.
“I chose to be vegan because of the perspective I have on animals. I believe that no animal should be locked up in a cage and fed mass amounts of foods they aren’t supposed to be eating just for us to enjoy a meal,” said sophomore Camryn Qawami.
According to a 2019 global survey, 68.1 percent of vegans made the choice because they did not want to hurt animals. The vegan diet does not include foods of animal origin. Vegans do not consume things, such as honey or any kind of dairy since these products come from an animal. Anything that requires an animal to be killed is off the plate too. Like vegetarians, they do not eat any meat or seafood. Instead, they consume mostly vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
“My go-to meal is oatmeal or a bean bowl. Normally I have chia seeds with banana and peanut butter in my oatmeal. In a bean bowl, I will typically get falafel with beans, rice, and avocado,” said Qawami.
A common myth about vegans is that they do not receive enough proteins, vitamins and nutrients due to their restricted food options. This is obviously false since many people go vegan for the health benefits. Vegans get most of their proteins from foods like tofu, beans, nuts, lentils, spinach and more.
“Personally, it has been way harder to get the right amounts of nutrients in my body from day to day. In reality, vegans can get all the protein they need from lentils, seeds, etc,” said Qawami. “We get our calcium from many vegetables like broccoli, kale, okra, and cabbage. Milk and juices are also a good source of calcium,”
Many people have stated that they feel less heavy and sluggish after every meal. Other benefits include lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and better cardiovascular health. Although it seems like a lot of restrictions, there are endless meals that are both delicious and 100 percent vegan.
“The most positive result of being vegan is not being drained all the time, as well as being completely full,” said Qawami. “It is also a very rewarding feeling when you know you are keeping yourself healthy while saving animals.”
Choosing veganism can be good for the environment. It is shown that 9.7 percent of vegans wanted to protect the environment. Vegans help conserve water, preserve habitats and species, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Other than the animals being harmed, I chose to go vegan because killing an animal takes mass amounts of water. Studies show that it takes 100-200 times more water to raise a pound of beef than it does to raise a pound of plant food,” said Qawami.
Like Qawami mentioned earlier, eating healthy while also knowing that the environment and animals are being saved, is a really good feeling. The vegan lifestyle is spreading rapidly and improving numerous amount of lives by the day.
“Believe that it is good for you, and make sure to stay devoted to it. Educating yourself about what to eat to keep yourself healthy is critical. It is a very beneficial and rewarding feeling when you know you are keeping yourself healthy while saving animals,” said Qawami.