Does it vegan matter?

Natalie Holbrook

College introduces you to many different types of people. I have a friend who came to college as a vegan, and I watched my roommate transition over the past few

Vegan stereotypes create a vivid and incorrect picture. I have seen firsthand how easy it is to eliminate animal products from your daily diet on a college budget.

I wanted to help debunk myths about the vegan diet and answer the questions my friends get most often.

Q: Do vegans only eat fruits and vegetables?

A: No. Carbs and beans are vegan-friendly staples. There is minimal effort in selection at the grocery store. My roommate and I get the same bread and noodles you probably buy, the cheapest kinds. A typical college diet consists of plenty of animal-free foods like Oreos, chips, hummus and crackers.

Q: Can you afford healthy food in college?

A: Yes. Healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive. There are a few tips and tricks to lowering the costs.

Frozen fruits and vegetables are much cheaper than fresh ones, and just as healthy. From experience I can tell you that splitting costs with someone else helps a lot. It will also save you from throwing out produce that goes bad quickly, like spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, etc.

Besides, splurging a little on healthy foods will save your health in the long run. Consider how expensive meat is. Leave all the meat for the end of your grocery order next time and watch your bill run up.

Q: Aren’t cows supposed to be milked?

A: Yes. Pregnant cows are supposed to give milk to their babies, or at least be milked. It’s not natural that they’re denying the calves milk and slaughtering them because they’re in excess. Also unnatural is  farmers inseminating the cows so that they keep producing veal and milk. This gives the milk hormones, and also results in sad living conditions for the cows. Cows are gentle animals and don’t deserve to be given chemicals so they can be in milk factories. If you’re interested, “Cowspiracy” is a vegan-approved documentary that’s taking Netflix by storm.

Q: Can you go out to eat at restaurants?

A: Vegans can go out to eat at restaurants, just like everyone else. It takes some research in advance though. The Internet knows how to eat vegan at fast food/popular restaurants. There are salad options at many places that include dairy-free dressing. Many burger chains have been adding Boca burgers or black bean burgers to their menu. Sometimes I order them just because they’re delicious.

Q: Where do you get your protein from?

A: Protein can be found in dairy-free milks, like soy or almond. Beans also have lots of protein and even more possibilities. Lots of things have protein and as long as you have a balanced diet, you can get all the protein you need. For vegans, that means nuts, vegetables, whole wheat products, oatmeal, peanut butter and tofu to name a few.

Q: Are vegan meat alternatives all chemicals?

A: No. Vegan meat alternatives are perfectly healthy for you. Many of these imposter products involve soy or lentils. On you can find recipes to make different vegetables as a substitute for meat, including cauliflower, eggplant, potato, beets, mushrooms and even nuts. These products are usually flavored with herbs and spices. All of the same rubs you would put on meat, you can put on the fake meat.

Steak seasoning, and poultry seasoning aren’t made with meat; they’re a collection of spices that enhance the flavor. You wouldn’t eat meat without the seasonings and adding them to imposter meat gives you the same delicious taste.

Q: Why did you choose to go vegan?

A: Everybody has a different reason. Most answers involve a love of animals and the planet. Health concerns are another big contributor. With each answer, knowledge can be spread about the benefits of being vegan. But only ask if you’re curious; don’t do it just to rag on someone.

Going vegan isn’t just a diet; it is a lifestyle. This means researching for brands that don’t test on animals. Vegans don’t go to places like SeaWorld that have animals purely for human entertainment. If you’re curious about this, the documentary “Blackfish” is for you.

Q: Is vegan food gross?

A: Vegans eat a lot of the same foods you do. Salads, Oreos, potato chips, fruit, bread and pasta are all “regular foods.” There are many vegan foods that you wouldn’t notice. You probably eat candy that you don’t even know is vegan. Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, Starburst, Swedish fish, Fun Dip, Dum Dums and Jolly Ranchers are all free of animal products.