By Jordan Puyear | firstname.lastname@example.org
I looked to my right and saw a friend delightfully enjoying her pizza with no cheese and every veggie topping available, and my friend on the left chomping down on her cheese ravioli with Italian sausage and wondered how two friends could be so different.
Until they order their food, nobody would assume one of those girls were vegan. Veganism isn’t apparent on the outside, however, it’s such a drastic difference to what some consider the “normal” American diet. With this movement, we look into what it means being a vegan in a meat-eating world.
Most do not even know the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian. According to Vegan Action, a nonprofit organization educating the public on veganism, “a vegan is someone who, for various reasons, chooses to avoid using or consuming animal products. While vegetarians choose not to use flesh foods, vegans also avoid dairy and eggs, as well as fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics or chemical products tested on animals.” One of the more popular ways people are directed to the vegan lifestyle is through documentaries, including “Cowspiracy,” “Forks Over Knives,” and “Veducated.”
“I became vegan after I watched the documentary ‘Cowspiracy‘ on Netflix for environmental reasons,” said Flagler College student Emily Allston. “Then I did more research on how animals are treated in the dairy and meat industry and it did not seem worth it to me.”
“I went vegan after I was exposed to information regarding animal agriculture and its effects on our planet. I watched a documentary called ‘Cowspiracy,’ which completely changed my life. I recommend it to everyone,” said Flagler College student Caitlin Kimball.
Veganism is a lifestyle change and something most people are proud to announce. As veganism continues to gain attention and more people start to adopt the plant-based diet, more and more vegan options will become available. From a “bloody” vegan burger being the new online sensation, to a vegan butcher shop ranking first in USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Poll, the options are endless.
“Our world is changing, and more and more people are going vegan so it’s refreshing to see,” said Kimball. “There are also a lot more vegan alternatives and options out there now because of it.”
When you think about it, people choose to live a vegan lifestyle mostly because of the animals, but one might wonder how it feels to watch almost every other person around you eating animal products.
“It’s a little strange sometimes seeing people eat meat because I am so educated on this topic now that I can’t even imagine eating anything like that again. The key is to not get worked up about what other people are consuming, because although this is something I care about, it’s not that way for everyone. I don’t get bothered when I see people eating animal products, just as long as I continue eating my veggies in peace,” said Flagler College student Julia Delbecchi.
Some might think veganism is just a trend or a phase in an emotional teenager’s life, but it is so much more than you would expect.
“Being vegan is more than just a diet, it’s a movement. It’s about standing up for the voiceless, whether that be the animals being raised for slaughter or our planet struggling to keep up with the damage we have done to it,” Kimball said. “Being vegan is about compassion. It’s about doing the right thing.”