You Don't Have To Be Vegan To Eat Vegan Foods

You Don't Have To Be Vegan To Eat Vegan Foods

The story of how I started eating vegan without fully committing to veganism.


On New Year's Eve, my roommate made the momentous decision to commit to veganism. She had been a vegetarian for many years prior, so this transition did not come as a total shock to me, but it still caught me off guard. Having grown up in a family of avid carnivores, veganism seemed to me a distant practice common only among health and fitness YouTubers living in LA. No one I knew intimately was actively practicing veganism at the time, and it wasn't something I regularly thought about. However, my roommate's commitment introduced veganism to my life, and I began to consider more deeply the reasoning behind veganism and its environmental impact.

While it is true that people go vegan for many different reasons, whether it be for health benefits, diet regulation, animal rights, decreased environmental impact, a combination of these, or something else altogether, the environmental impact of veganism cannot be understated. I've heard many broad statements about veganism such as, "If every person were vegan, there would be no water shortages anywhere in the world." I never knew if these kinds of statements were exactly true, so I decided to inform myself on the specific impacts of my roommate's choice, and I learned the following.

According to a study done in 2018 at the University of Oxford, removing meat and dairy products from the average person's diet would reduce that person's carbon footprint from food by approximately 73 percent. Additionally, if everyone in the world refrained from eating dairy and meat products, global farmland could be reduced by a nearly equivalent percentage, which would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, freeing up land currently used for farming would allow large amounts of land to return to their wild state, the reduction of which is the leading cause of the mass extinction of many wildlife species.*

I try my best to be an ecologically-aware consumer, and these facts were difficult to ignore. While going vegan is certainly becoming easier with restaurants, stores, and college campuses offering more and more vegan options, I still knew that, particularly as a college student living in a dorm, it would not be easy for me to remove the meat and dairy staples of my diet entirely. I just did not think I could do it, so I pushed the idea out of my head.

Over the first few weeks of my roommate's veganism, I began to realize how many vegan options there are. I started trying vegan foods in addition to my current diet, and then eventually I began substituting proteins on occasion. I did so without giving it much thought, but I found a few vegan staples that I enjoyed and I started working them into my diet.

After practicing this for a week or so and discussing it with my roommate, I realized that I did not need to fully commit to veganism in order to eat vegan foods. By substituting vegan options into my diet as often as I can, I am at least making an effort to decrease my carbon footprint.

I recently saw a post on social media describing how this ecological crisis will not be solved by many people caring for the environment perfectly, but rather by everyone caring for the environment imperfectly. Oftentimes, climate change and environmental decline seem too massive and overwhelming for anyone to take on the responsibility of fixing these problems. We must each make an effort, no matter how small, to make eco-friendly decisions every day in order to have a large collective impact. One easy way to start making those decisions is to evaluate your diet and see where you can start making small substitutes for common meat and dairy products. You might realize, like I have, that there are more options than you think if you choose to look.


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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.

Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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Being Skinny Isn’t As Great As You Think

A reflection on the struggles that come with a person's body image.


Body image. It is one of the most powerful and harmful things on a person's self-esteem. Society and media have placed so many images of what we "should" look like. How we need to be eating, exercising, dressing, EVERYTHING. According to others, we always need to change ourselves or second guess how we see our bodies.

For as long as I can remember everyone has called me "tiny". Sure, being small and being able to fit into a lot of clothes is fun, but being tiny or thin isn't always a good thing. I am your typical college kid eating whatever I want whenever I want.

The only difference between myself and other students is that I almost never gain weight. Some girls or guys may read that part and think that I have a gift or blessing. That I can do whatever I want and still stay small and "pretty".

Have you ever finished a meal then looked at yourself and felt like something wasn't right? Some people in today's world and in history will spend time looking at themselves and seeing multiple things that are wrong with their body.

Some handled that by exercising and losing weight or gaining muscle, others have gone as far as throwing up their food or taking pills that force their bodies not to gain ANY weight. Hearing about that from adults or doctors seems crazy but people do it all the time. Possibly the people around you and you would never know.

I went to middle school with a girl that always finished her lunch walking to the trash and then taking herself to the bathroom. She wouldn't come back to our table until the lunch bell rang. Most people didn't give a second thought to this situation, me however, I followed her one day. What I saw next was something I wasn't prepared for as a 7th grader.

Two sinks, a mirror, and three stalls. One was occupied and the rest were empty. I walked into crying and nothing else. The girl had already taken care of her food and was trying to gather herself after what she just did.

People told her that she was gaining weight, that she was "chunky" or fat. She wasn't the only girl around that dealt with horrible comments like that. It's also not just girls dealing with issues like this.

Boys and men are constantly judged and only "ideal" if they are muscular. Young boys are called pigs or disgusting only because of their weight and looking bigger than the "average" person. Men are downgraded to a lesser meaning when they are thin and "stick like".

Even as we grow up kids and sometimes adults say things without realizing the effect. Being called tiny or skinny all of the time can make someone just feel small. Getting comments to eat a hamburger and fries can make someone feel insulted.

Having comments made about your skin or hair and people making assumptions about you can make someone feel misunderstood or judged. Being told that you need to eat more or go tanning because your body doesn't "look right" can torture a person.

There are so many things that play into a person's self-esteem. Average size, too small or too big is simply just words coming out of someone's mouth that don't understand the true beauties in life.

Do you ever look at a big oak tree and say, "You're too fat, you should really lose some weight."

Do you ever see a flower that blooms smaller than a quarter and tells it, "You are tiny! Why don't you go eat a burrito or something?"

No. You probably don't. Just replace the oak tree with mom and see how that feels coming out of your mouth. Replace flower with a teenage girl and see if you can actually say all of those things. Imagine if you were a parent and it was your little girl or boy that you were talking to and you said those words. Would you be happy with yourself? Would you feel guilty? Would you push them to make their body unhealthy just to fit society's standards?

I hope that you wouldn't

There are so many of us out there being told what to do with ourselves in order to be happy with our bodies. How can someone else determine our happiness for us? I have personally gotten to the point of breaking.

I see friends on a daily basis that want to change their body because it's "ugly". Many of those thoughts are because of things society has put in our minds, and not what truly matters.

As a society, we need to push towards total acceptance. Now, I am not meaning the sexuality or ethnicity type of acceptance because those are important on a different level. Respecting each other and our bodies are something that needs to be understood and enforced as much as sexuality acceptance is pushed.

I want to live in a world and raise children in a world that doesn't make people feel horrible about their bodies. It is THEIR body, not ours. The only body we should be worrying about is our own. I want my future daughter to grow and love playing dress up without wondering if her body looks right in what she's wearing. I want my future son to go to gym class and be able to do only one pull up with all of the other boys cheering him on to do better.

Is that too much to ask?


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