Students across the Oklahoma Christian University campus have a variety of diets. Some choose gluten-free diets for either the health benefits or out of necessity, while others have chosen to be vegan, cutting both meat and dairy out of their meal plans.
According to The Vegan Society, many people adopt a vegan diet to spare animals or to improve their diet. A vegan doesn’t just cut out meat, like a vegetarian would, but all animal sources of food, including eggs, dairy and honey.
Junior Montana Priest has been a vegan for more than a year and said one of the reasons she does eats vegan is because it makes her feel healthy.
“I originally thought it would be extremely challenging but once I decided that I definitely wanted to do this it was actually pretty easy,” Priest said. “At first I just started eating smaller portions of meat and then I completely cut it out of my diet so my body just got used to it over time and then it became very simple.”
Veganism is driven by young people. According to The Guardian, almost half of all vegans are ages 15-34, while just 14 percent are over 65.
Priest said she originally became a vegan to improve her skin in a natural way.
“A lot of websites stated cutting dairy out of your diet and changing your diet could help clear up skin,” Priest said. “My sister is vegan and it seemed to keep her healthy and I noticed a lot of benefits she was gaining from this so that made me want to give it a try, especially since I had her to lead me in the right direction with it.”
According to Priest, a common misconception of the vegan diet is that there are not many options.
“It’s not as bad as you would think when it comes to deciding what I am going to eat,” Priest said. “For example, when I am in the caf I usually just get rice, vegetables, beans, a peanut butter sandwich and potatoes. There are way more options than people assume there would be. I may get weird looks at times but I think it is good so that’s all that matters.”
Priest also said the longer she has maintained a vegan diet, the less she craves animal products.
“Sometimes it does get hard when my friends make cookies or other things of that sort because I have a big sweet tooth, but other than that I really don’t struggle with not eating dairy products,” Priest said. “I love cooking different vegan recipes that I find and trying out new meals.”
Priest said she has no plans to move away from a vegan diet, because she thinks the health benefits far outweigh any drawbacks that might arise.
“I would encourage anyone to be a vegan,” Priest said. “I have noticed how much healthier it has made me and it has even caused me to branch out to try healthier foods like fruits and vegetables that I was never a big fan of before.”
Q: What was the process you went through to become vegan?
A: “At first, I decided to just cut meat out of my diet, but then I realized I didn’t crave dairy all that much so I decided to just cut all of those products out as well.”
Q: What do you eat for breakfast?
A: “I usually eat fruits or smoothies with vegan protein powder.”
Q: What is your favorite vegan meal?
A: “I love wheat pasta with marinara sauce.”
Q: Where is your favorite place to eat?
A: “Taco Bell- I always get a bean and rice burrito with guacamole.”