BY Anthony DiGennaro
“A vegan or plant-based diet is not only something that is good for the environment, but it also helps your health and the animals,” said president and founder of the vegan club called The Veg, senior Kayla Kanakry.
There is a difference between being a vegetarian and being a vegan and the reasoning for being either one can be very personal.
“The standard definition of vegetarian is a person who refrains from eating animal flesh and a vegan is a person who does not eat animal byproducts or anything that comes from an animal, meaning anything during which animals are involved in the final product, such as cheese or honey,’’ said Kanakry.
Veganism can affect people’s lives in many other ways as well, through clothing and products you may buy for your daily life, such as cosmetics.
“There are lots of different definitions of veganism. It is even involved in fashion, such as leather or fur products during which animals are involved in the process,” Kanakry said.
According to Harvard Women’s Health Watch, “Vegetarian and vegan diets can be healthy, but they lack certain nutrients. You may have to use a little creativity to ensure you get enough protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12.”
Senior Kaitlyn Pellerin, a nursing student, is the Vice President of The Veg. When Kanakry graduates in December, Pellerin will take her position as president.
Pellerin was not a vegan before she came to Sacred Heart University, but she discovered vegan options on campus.
Pellerin said, “I found more vegan options on campus at Linda’s. We have talked to the head chef, who has made more vegan options available, such as the veggie burger, vegan pasta, and vegan cheese in all of the stations, so that you can get a pizza with vegan cheese.”
One factor some people consider when choosing to be a vegan is the cost.
“The biggest thing that took me the longest in becoming vegan, was that I thought it would be very expensive and that I would not know how to cook or grocery shop. But being vegan can actually be more affordable in many instances,” said Pellerin.
There can also be positive physical changes that come from choosing to be vegan.
“I can see a huge change in myself from when I started up until now. One thing is when you cut out dairy, you notice a change in your face and skin. It also makes your body shape a bit different. I had a more round, chubby face and I noticed when I went vegan, I started to slim down. The biggest thing is that I have more energy to do things like working out and making a fitness routine does not take a lot of change,” said Pellerin.
Pellerin has a few different quick vegan fixes for when she wants to eat a simple meal on the go. One of these meals is a chickpea salad sandwich.
“A quicker recipe would be a chickpea salad sandwich which contains chickpeas mashed with egg-free mayonnaise, pickles, or other seasoning on a wrap or bread. It is something that you can keep in your fridge to throw together. I usually keep a container of it made for a lunch or a snack,” Pellerin said.
Junior Maria Serpiento has been in The Veg club since last year and is the Treasurer. She is not vegan or vegetarian herself.
Serpiento said, “I support it, but I am not quite ready to jump into that lifestyle. I think it is cool to have someone who is not vegan or vegetarian in the club to get their opinions on it.”