“Ew vegan food is gross”. I am almost one hundred percent sure that you have heard that statement at least once in your life. Many people with this opinion haven’t even had the opportunity to try vegan food. I myself used to believe that vegan food was gross and pretty much consisted of just leafy greens. I hadn’t tried vegan food when I thought that. I later learned that that was VERY far from the truth.
To start off I would love to explain some terms that will be used throughout this blog. The main one is “Vegan”. Vegan means to not use products derived wholly or partly from animals. I can’t count how many people I have had to explain the difference between vegan and vegetarian to. Vegetarians don’t eat meat, that is the only restriction. Vegetarians can have cheese because it’s not meat but vegans can’t because cheese comes from cows. Vegans can’t have honey either because bees produce it. Basically vegan food is food that has nothing to do with animals.
I am not vegan yet but I have started swapping out most of my products for vegan alternatives. This is actually a lot more accessible than you may expect. A lot of people usually assume that a vegan diet is expensive, not tasteful, and not nutritional enough.
Is veganism really as expensive as you can imagine it? The short answer is no. A recent study done by the university of Oxford shows how in the United States and other high income countries, vegan diets are less expensive than a meaty diet. Being vegan can reduce food costs by up to one-third. The only vegan products that cost a lot are the fancy meat alternatives like vegan salmon and steaks. They can sometimes be up to $100. Though that is not a necessity because you can get protein from lentils, chickpeas, tofu, quinoa, and black beans which are all super affordable. Plus all those options are delicious. Vegan food tastes almost identical to non vegan food. Sometimes they are made to have certain flavors and textures that match the non-vegan food. I recently took some friends and family to a vegan restaurant called “Kale My Name”. There was a wide spread of different foods like empanadas, burgers, wings, waffles, pancakes, “chicken” tenders, and some other foods but the point is it was all vegan and delicious. I think that if i hadn’t known the food was vegan i would not be able to tell. I didn’t tell my family that the food was vegan, when I did they were shocked by how good it was. This is a perfect example of how people judge vegan food just because it’s vegan.
Have you ever heard people say that vegans are not getting enough nutrients and that they aren’t healthy? I know that that is not true. Maintaining a vegan diet helps your heart health and can protect against certain cancers. Several studies report that vegan diets are higher in some nutrients such as fiber, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins A, C and E.
Vegan food is so good! Now I know you’ve probably got the idea that vegan food is delicious by now. It is but…it’s also good for the environment. If you change your diet to a vegan one, your global consumer emissions reduce by 28%, land use by 75%, and water pollution by about 60%. Just imagine if we supported vegan food more. It could be a solution to our major climate crisis. IT could better our future and not just for us but for many generations ahead. Think about not just yourself but about people who will thank our society for making a small change that saved their lives.
I hope you guys have learned something new and amazing about vegan food. Maybe I didn’t change your mind on a vegan diet but at least you understand more reasons why people are vegan and its benefits. So now that we’re done I just want to say OMG vegan food is wonderful!
Jocelyn Olvera – Lincoln Park High School – DMSF Class of 2027