Veganism at NYU
Many New Yorkers prioritize being mindful of your body and taking good care of it. You might accomplish this by going to a yoga class, drinking kombucha or using organic cosmetics. With the variety of options available for starting a healthier lifestyle, it's possible to feel lost in following through on your new inspiration. To help, I have some tips from my 30-day vegan challenge during which I learned why and how to become a vegan.
What is Veganism?
Veganism is a form of plant-based diet that restricts the consumption of products made of or produced by animals. This includes meat, dairy, eggs, leather goods and honey. Reasons for becoming vegan vary; some choose the lifestyle due to environmental reasons, as the agricultural methane output is a big contributor to climate change. Others because of ethical reasons such as the treatment and slaughter of animals. The motivation for most, though, is the many health benefits of the diet.
Research and Motivation
Before you dive right in, it's important to research and understand the lifestyle for both your health and motivation. If you are finding it hard to motivate yourself or want to learn more, there are two great documentaries called "Cowspiracy" and "What The Health" available on Netflix. These documentaries present substantial research on why becoming a vegan is a great choice. Through the movies' accompanying websites, you can find the “30-Day Vegan Challenge,” a free dietary plan developed by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, a vegan advocate and nutritionist, that helps you with this transition.
Though groceries might seem like an obstacle, many common grocery stores are vegan-friendly. Countless stores around NYU such as Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, West Side Market and St. Mark’s Market offer vegan options. An extra tip - Vegan Pocket is an app that can be helpful when you're unsure of product ingredients. Simply scan the barcode to see if the product is vegan or not!
There are so many good food options around campus that you don't want to miss - and you don't have to! Vegan-friendly places around campus include: By Chloe, Peacefood, Beyond Sushi, Butcher's Daughter and fresh&co. All of these places are either 100% vegan or have clearly-labeled products. Of course, the food is also delicious so feel free to bring your non-vegan friends. In terms of dining halls, each dining hall always has a vegetarian/vegan friendly option. For example, Lipton has a vegan station and Meatless Mondays while Weinstein has a vegan-friendly wok station. If maintaining the vegan diet while eating out is too difficult, there is also the option of adopting a “Flexitarian” diet that allows the occasional inclusion of meat products. Don't feel like you have to commit all at once!
Even though a vegan diet can be healthy, this is only if it is done right. Make sure that you are consuming enough vitamin B12 and protein, which are mainly (but not only) found in animal products. You can find vitamin B12 in plant milks and soy products. Protein can be found in edamame, tofu, or chickpeas. You can also make use of the NYU Nutritionist in the Health Center who can help you construct a balanced diet. There are also vegan fast foods, so be mindful not to eat too many foods that are high in sodium or processed foods which contain a lot of oil.
Vegan Nyu alumni
Many famous NYU alumni switched their raw meat for raw plants. Alec Baldwin became a vegan after his prediabetes diagnosis. Tom Ford, uncomfortable with the use of animal skins in fashion, became vegan and recently introduced faux crocodile leather during the 2018 Fall NYFW. Actress Kristen Bell became a vegetarian when she was only 11 years, and adopted the vegan diet in 2012, although she reintroduced dairy and eggs during her pregnancy.
the takeaway and other options
Whether you decide to become a vegan or not, it is important to acknowledge that no one is perfect. If you get into a situation where eating vegan food is not an option, that doesn't make you a bad vegan. Having meat cravings does not make you a bad vegan either. Lastly, it is important to realize in today's day and age that you are free to choose from a variety of diets. These diets include veganism, vegetarianism, pescetarianism, fruitarianism and more. Let us know about your experiences with various dietary lifestyles, and drop any tips in the comments!
Written by: Sarah Teskova