Vegans embrace a healthier lifestyle

February 4, 2017 — by Cassandra King and Alexandra Li

Seniors Alyssa Boldt and Saba Hakimzadeh-Abianeh share experiences of being vegans.

Senior Saba Hakimzadeh-Abianeh woke up in the morning and she started off her day with freshly squeezed orange juice and cereal with coconut milk. After preparing a salad or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, she walked out the door like any other student.

Abianeh became vegan in January of 2015 when she kept hearing about how “the world was becoming more and more sensitive to each individual’s decisions.” She decided to research more about the negative impacts of all foods produced by animals and watched documentaries like “Food Inc.,” which explores corporate farming.

The documentary’s evidence and conclusion that the industrial production of meat, vegetables and grains is environmentally and economically unstable motivated her to make a change in her eating habits. After becoming vegetarian for a week, she still didn’t feel satisfied with how she was contributing to what she didn’t stand for by consuming animal products. So, she made the ultimate decision to become a vegan.

Likewise, senior Alyssa Boldt made alterations to her eating habits after watching “Food Inc.” Boldt has been a vegetarian for seven years but chose to become a vegan last October.

Being vegan has occasionally presented her with difficulties since she found that, when friends make plans to get food, many of the suggested restaurants specialize in foods that are not vegan-friendly, such as ice cream or pizza.

“Finding substitutes for food items isn’t hard — it’s more of a social problem,” Boldt said.

Even so, Boldt and Abianeh have realized that being vegan hasn’t stopped them from spending time with friends, especially because many restaurants now offer vegan options.

Abianeh, who believes herself to be fairly adaptable, has chosen to look at the situation in a positive light. She “wasn’t super attached” to any specific food that she can’t eat anymore as a vegan, allowing her to make the transition easier.

For Boldt, she resists the temptations of non-vegan foods by thinking about what animals had to go through. Her transition has been made easier since both her parents are vegan as well and so she has no problem eating meals at home. However, every once in awhile it becomes too much to hold back, especially when she is with friends and is faced with sweets like chocolate-chip cookies, which can have eggs and butter.

“Sometimes I’ll cheat, but then I’ll feel bad afterwards,” Boldt said. “I’ll eat something with milk in it and it’ll taste really good but later I’ll feel awful because I’m not used to eating it and then I’ll think about the animals.”

However, the food restrictions for a vegan can affect the families who have to cook around one member’s diet, as making a dish without animals products can be quite challenging. Abianeh said that although her parents aren’t vegan, they usually make something that she can also eat for each meal, like soup and salad, or rice and some vegetables.

Despite the occasional challenges, both Abianeh and Boldt have found the change to veganism to be rewarding and enjoyable, both mentally and physically.

“It’s taught me how to have compassion and respect for all living things and this in itself has made me in touch with nature in a lot of ways that I couldn’t see before,” Abianeh said.

When Boldt switched from being vegetarian to being vegan, she actually noticed a health difference: better skin. She also feels as though she has more energy and feels less weighed down.

As for those interested in becoming vegan, Abanieh encourages them to make the choice to leave all animal products behind.

“It may seem really hard and like a big commitment, and it is at first, but there is something really rewarding about it,” Abanieh said. “But with the right mindset and patience, the transition will be so easy.”

 

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