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To be or not to be (vegan): Why veganism isn’t for everyone

To be or not to be (vegan): Why veganism isn’t for everyone

To be or not to be (vegan): Why veganism isn’t for everyone
February 04
17:54 2019

According to a study by Global Data, six percent of Americans have ditched hamburgers and ice cream and adopted a vegan lifestyle. While a vegan diet is similar to a vegetarian one because both diets exclude meat, vegans also choose not to consume animal by-products such as dairy, eggs and honey.

While veganism has its benefits, a vegan diet is not realistic for everyone and is by no means the only way to live a healthy and eco-friendly life.

Before coming to UNT, I only knew a handful of vegans. Since attending school here, nearly every person I meet is either vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian. This could be due, in part, to the easy accessibility of vegan food at Mean Greens Cafe on campus. While Mean Greens does not explicitly encourage students to commit to veganism, it has fostered a meat-free culture on campus.

A perpetuated stereotype about vegans is that they have a superiority complex and condemn non-vegans for their choices, even using words like “carnivore” as an insult. Just like religion or political beliefs, a person should not be judged or ostracized based upon their food choices. Whether or not someone is vegan is a personal choice that should not require an explanation.

Additionally, a vegan lifestyle may not be appropriate for everyone due to dietary restrictions or pre-existing health conditions. While some people thrive with a vegan diet, others may not have the genetic disposition to maintain healthy bodily functions without certain nutrients. These genetic factors include vitamin A conversion, gut microbiome makeup and amylase levels, according to Healthline.com.

Veganism can also be a precursor to disordered or obsessive eating, which may have health consequences. Veganism is a very restrictive diet and cuts out many foods, which may prove difficult to those who are at risk for developing eating disorders or who already struggle with unhealthy relationships with food.

It is essential that those on a vegan diet get the same nutrients as non-vegans and meet their personal caloric needs. There are foods, such as Oreos and potato chips, that technically fit the vegan criteria, but do not have the same nutritional value as foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grain breads. In some cases, veganism leads to an even more unhealthy diet as picking up a bag of Doritos is much easier than preparing tofu or chopping vegetables.

The inconvenience and time-consuming element of veganism is a huge downfall and is typically the main reason veganism is not realistic for some. What many people don’t realize before adopting a vegan lifestyle is the amount of time, effort and money that goes into meal-prepping. Additionally, vegan food typically comes with a heftier price tag and may make your grocery bill skyrocket. Below is a price breakdown of a few vegan items and their non-vegan counterparts:

$4.69: A single portion of Amy’s vegan macaroni and soy cheese. The version that uses real cheese is $3.69.

$5.49: Coconut milk yogurt, 16oz. A 16 oz. container of Chobani is $3.99

$9.59: Frozen vegan cheese pizza. A DiGiorno frozen cheese pizza retails for $3.69.

Veganism is an expensive and tedious commitment that many people, such as college students, low-income individuals or those who work multiple jobs can’t realistically maintain.

It is still possible for non-vegans to live a healthy lifestyle by choosing nutrient-rich, diverse foods and choosing organic foods over processed ones. Additionally, there are many other ways to help the environment such as walking more instead of driving, recycling and using reusable products. While a vegan lifestyle may have positive benefits for health and the environment, it is neither the only “correct” lifestyle nor is it realistic for all demographics — and that is perfectly okay.

Featured Illustration: Chelsea Tolin

About Author

Abigail Hurtt

Abigail Hurtt

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4 Comments

  1. Maxrebo5
    Maxrebo5 February 05, 12:50

    This article is all over the place. I agree some vegan foods are more expensive but it is not a “tedious commitment” as the author claims. How hard is it to cook up a veggie burger versus a regular burger or make pasta?

    Also most vegan foods are super cheap. Oatmeal, fruits, veggies, corn, rice, potaotoes, beans, nuts, grains, pasta. It’s just not true that only rich people can afford to go vegan. Anyone can afford most vegan foods. Add steak to your grocery cart and your food bill goes way up. Add in Bacon, Fish, eggs, ham, lobster, and chicken and your bill is super high. This article just lacks common sense.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Eagle Rooter
    Eagle Rooter February 05, 15:29

    Ugh…so much old re-hashed bad I nfo here. Think about someone other than yourself (ex. animals). Plus, the environment you are messing up affects me too. Buy real, instead of packaged, food. If it takes a long time to prepare you are doing it wrong…There’s a lot of help out there if you want to be compassionate and environmentally conscious. One day we will all (myself included) be ashamed of how we abused animals and destroyed this planet.

    Go Mean Green!

    Reply to this comment
  3. vegan
    vegan June 05, 13:22

    Beans are cheaper than meat. Almond milk is the same price as cow’s milk. It takes more time to cook meat. Animal products will never be more sustainable, no matter how organic or local it is. Well-planned vegan diets are appropriate for all stages of the life.

    Reply to this comment
    • Doom
      Doom July 23, 08:25

      Edible bugs say hello. Black Soldier Flies can turn waste, including shit, into edible food at an astounding rate. http://heilufood.com/blog/black-soldier-fly-larvae If you want a non-corporate source, take a look at this GODSEND of an article by the FAO(page 61): http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3253e/i3253e.pdf

      What this means is that we can turn our waste into food, meaning that we will not need to use as much land to grow crops. This is important because the pesticides used to grow crops poison the environment, and growing them takes a tremendous amount of land, causing habitat loss. Palm oil is controversial among vegans because of this.

      Insects, on the other hand, do not face this problem. They can be raised vertically, meaning that as long as there is an ample food supply, you can build skyscrapers that make tons of insects with little land or waste.

      According to pages 55-56 of the same FAO report, manually picking pests off of crops diminishes the need for toxic pesticides, as well as increasing the productivity of those crops by bringing in a side stream of tasty insects. Again, this reduces the need for more land to be turned into cropland, ect ect.

      This article, which utilizes info from FAO-funded research, found that insects can be turned into oil that is more sustainable than the palm and sunflower oils commonly used today: https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2015/08/19/Insect-oil-Bugs-aren-t-just-about-protein

      Reply to this comment

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