ANIMALS

UM students discuss their reasons for going vegan

Amanda Hill
Oxford Eagle
abhill3@go.olemiss.edu

Veganism is a lifestyle in which the consumer does not eat any animal-based products, such as meat, yogurt, eggs, etc. Some see it as a health fad, but Anna Spencer has been a vegan for about seven years and wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I became a vegan because I was interested in the common misconceptions of what society believes to be healthy,” Spencer said. “About two weeks after I became a vegan, I noticed a difference. My weight, my mood, sleep cycle, and energy all changed for the better.”

Spencer said we are taught at a young age that animal products are a necessity. “This is completely untrue and driving multi-billion dollar industries, such as factory farming,” she said.

Factory farming is used for poultry, cattle and pigs. “Animal cruelty is another reason I became a vegan,” she said. “Animals are treated as products in a factory. We are completely brainwashed to think this treatment is fine because, you know, ‘Everyone does it.'”

Spencer said becoming vegan is the smartest thing she has ever done. “People judge me for it and think my decision is unrealistic and ridiculous,” she said, “but I know what this lifestyle change has done for me, and I will never be turning back from it.”

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Spencer making one of her vegan smoothies. Photo by Amanda Hill.

Spencer also loves the food. “I have never enjoyed cooking more due to all the interesting flavors, veggies and fruits I get to use,” she said. “The food is always so colorful and full of life.”

Her favorite vegan food is sushi.

“I learned to role it and got to add all the vegan food that I wanted,” she said. “I made mine personally with baby carrots, tofu, avocado and  secret vegan vegetables, which I can’t say.

Spencer said her new lifestyle has made others curious about becoming vegan. “They see how many options for food vegans really have,” she said. “I can honestly say I am never hungry, and I can always get something I enjoy when I go out to eat.”

Spencer’s friend, Chloe Tullman, recently became a vegan because she didn’t like the way the dairy industry is run.

“It’s a disgusting industry,” she said. “They seem to try as hard as they can to get around laws regarding killing animals humanely, and even sanitary laws … That’s quite horrifying to watch. Once I became a vegan I started to do more research on why it’s so good for, not only our bodies, but the world.”

Tullman said cutting red meat intake by 50 percent could have a great impact on the world and environment.

“Cow’s require an insane amount of water and crop intake,” she said. “Just watering the crops it takes to feed one cow is so incredibly wasteful. Cows emit a certain greenhouse gas that is worse than carbon. Carbon is what we emit, what cars emit, what nuclear power plants emit… and trees are what soak that up, and put oxygen back into the environment.

“Cows emit a methane gas. One molecule of it is almost 25 times worse than a molecule of carbon. If you combine these facts about cows’ affect on the environment with the global deforestation crisis, climate change is inevitable, and if things go on the way they are, Florida will not exist in 2140.”

Tullman said going vegan is not just about the treatment of animals. She said research indicates being vegan is incredible for the body.

“Many argue that protein is something we must eat mass amounts of, when in reality, the body can only process a certain amount, and the rest, honestly, comes out in our excrement. So that all having been said, the protein you can get from tofu, nuts, and beans is plenty and will not result in any form of protein deficiency.”

Tullman said meat was considered a delicacy, and humans are generally lactose intolerant. “Yes, our bodies have evolved to allow a tolerance to dairy, but as you can see by the amount of lactose intolerant people, our bodies are still adjusting,” she said. “It’s been proven time and time again that even just being vegan for two months decreases our chances of heart disease, cancer, etc. by a lot.”

Tullman said she feels “invincible” since she started living off a plant-based diet. “I make sure to get protein from a vegan protein shake place I go to, and I take a B-12 vitamins, as well as probiotics each day,” she said. “The benefits I’ve reaped is an incredible amount of energy, the clearest most glowing skin I’ve had since I was a baby, a natural shed of weight, and a brighter mood.

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Tullman and her favorite little animal at a park in Noosa, Australia. Photo taken by Amanda Hill.

“I sleep better, I feel better, but above all, I feel like I’m doing an incredible thing for the environment, for animals, and for myself. Just by not supporting the dairy or mass meat industry, I feel like I’m sort of casting my vote into society, if that makes sense.”

Tullman said she doesn’t shame anyone who eats meat.

“I used to love meat and cheese and everything,” she said. “I just think that if everyone could reduce their red meat intake, we could have a profound impact on the environment, and if they cut out meat and dairy all together, they would reap a lot of personal benefits.”

Kylee Rossiter, a close friend of Tullman and Spencer, said she has cut back on meat a bit.

“I have taken a step forward in helping out our planet and fighting off these gross factory farm industries,” she said.

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