Veganism on the Rise

IMG_8704By Tatiana Solomon

Millennials are willing to consider veganism as a healthy lifestyle choice as shown in a recent poll on campus.

Veganism, a term many people are unfamiliar with, is the practice of abstaining from eating or using animal products—particularly in diet—including eggs, dairy and cheese. Vegetarians still consume these products.

An informal poll of 100 students attending College of Southern Nevada’s Charleston and North Las Vegas campuses was conducted March 9. There were eight students who were vegan or vegetarian. There were 92 students who were not. Of those 52 were willing to give a plant-based diet a try for three weeks: the time it takes to break a lifestyle habit. There were 37 students who would not consider switching at all. Three students were unsure if they would consider.

“Every aspect of my life got better the second I decided to stop consuming animals,” said Rio Knudsen, a CSN student that has been vegan nearly four years. “I feel lighter, happier and my conscience is completely clear.”

IMG_8694A 2012 study conducted by Nutrition Journal revealed that embracing a vegan diet could make people feel happier and less stressed.

“I used to be depressed and not happy at all,” said Priscila Tovar-Guzman, a student at CSN that became vegan in June 2016. “Now I am happy all the time. I now have the energy to put into making others feel great around me and I am just completely in love with this lifestyle. I will be vegan for the rest of my life, for sure.”

There are still students who are not convinced that the vegan lifestyle is for them.

“I don’t think being vegan would be hard but I just don’t want to scout out my food,” said Josh Herrera, a student at CSN. “I enjoy meat dishes way too much to let them go.”

Flavor seems to be the leading factor why students aren’t foreseeing themselves giving up meat in the near future.

“I love the taste of vegetables but I like the taste of meat more,” said Elizabeth Correa-Sanchez, CSN student. “My family is always cooking meals that revolve around meat, so it’s just more convenient for me to eat that way since that’s what my parents are providing for me.”

IMG_8718“The market for vegan products is exploding with growth evident around the country and especially on college campuses,” said Marissa Price, college campaigns strategist at PETA2, a non-profit organization concerned with animal welfare. “We’re seeing an unprecedented rate of growth in the number of vegetarians and vegans in younger generations. In fact, research shows that an estimated 12 percent of Millennials say they’re faithful vegetarians compared with 4 percent of Gen Xers and 1 percent of Baby Boomers. Not eating meat is directly linked to helping combat world hunger, cruelty to animals, environmental degradation and other issues that Millennials consider crucial.”

Although the United States is one of the world’s largest consumers of red meat, many people are interested in following a health-conscious plant-based diet.

Las Vegas was crowned the 8th vegan friendly city in America in PETA’s 2015 annual list of the best plant-based cities in the country.

Some restaurants on the Strip at the Wynn and Encore have vegan menus inspired by Steve Wynn’s own diet. Off the Strip there are new eateries offering plant food and a unique new-concept restaurant called Vege-way, which has drive-thru options for vegan fare. Even on CSN’s campus, salads, fruits and nuts are offered as options.

During the spring and fall semesters last year, CSN offered several plant-based cooking courses taught by vegan chef and entrepreneur Mindy Poortinga. “I taught simple vegan cooking, raw and baking classes at CSN. My students were interested in learning how to make easy, affordable and tasty meals.”

veg2Poortinga, the founder of Vegan Meals by Mindy, keeps the busy lifestyle of college students in mind when creating dishes for her plant-based ready-to-eat meal service. “My meals give people a huge variety where they can order every week and not get bored. The meals are also large portion sizes and I’ve been told that a lot of my clients split a meal into two meals. The meals are just so easy and convenient to grab and go.”

With the rates of veganism across college campuses expected to ascend in the years to come, there’s an abundance of resources. For a free vegan starter kit with recipes, tips and information on why veganism is ethical, environmental and healthy click this link

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