Many students are choosing to make healthier decisions in their lives and daily routines.
For some Central Michigan University students trying to live a healthier lifestyle, the next level might involve a vegetarian or vegan diet.
A vegetarian is a person who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products, especially for moral, religious or health reasons. Those who are vegan do not eat or use any animal products.
“I became a vegan about six years ago,” Hemlock sophomore Rebecca Clements said. “I made the decision after learning more about the meat industry.”
Clements said she made the decision to become vegan because she wanted a healthier lifestyle.
“It’s all about putting healthier stuff in your body,” she said. “That even includes animal byproducts like gelatin, dairy, eggs and honey.”
Sometimes she finds this difficult, especially when looking to eat food on campus. Clements said she generally has to avoid the dining halls, even though they offer vegetarian options and have salad bars.
“Unfortunately, eating in the dining halls is incredibly difficult for any vegan,” she said. “Even the vegetarian options of things that you don’t think would have any dairy in them generally have been ‘egg washed.’”
When something is egg washed, that typically means a mixture of beaten eggs and some other liquid is brushed onto the surface of food.
“While I would love the convenience of eating in the dining halls, it offers no real plant protein, and I’m not about to pay for a meal plan when the only thing I could eat is lettuce and a few seeds,” she said.
Clements said she didn’t have any difficulty making the transition to veganism and others should not either – if they go about it the right way.
“The important thing is to make sure you’re educated,” she said. “Make sure you know what you can or cannot eat.”
Sault Ste. Marie sophomore Kaitlyn TenEyck is a vegetarian.
“I’ve been one since about third grade,” she said. “It’s been kind of on and off for years, but obviously I’m one right now.”
Being a vegetarian makes things difficult at times, TenEyck said, especially when people aren’t aware of her unique diet.
“It still kind of is a little awkward,” she said. “If I go to a friend’s house, you have to deal with what they make or them not knowing you’re vegetarian.”
TenEyck said she does eat in the dining halls on campus, but sometimes she has to be careful about what she eats there.
“I just end up eating a salad,” she said. “You just have to get creative with it. You end up cooking for yourself a lot.”
Her advice for anyone thinking of becoming a vegetarian is simple: Be sure to balance nutrients.
“There are a lot of health benefits to being vegetarian,” she said. “You have to balance that out with the things you would be giving up.”
TenEyck said she thinks vegetarianism, or any form of that, is common on campus.
“I think it’s relatively common, because there are many different types of vegetarianism,” she said. “My choice to become vegetarian is from a moral standpoint, and I think if less people demanded meat, fewer animals would be inhumanly slaughtered.”
She said while she encourages people to become vegetarians, it is ultimately their decision.
“I would love it if more people chose to go meatless, but I can only influence that choice through a moral point of view,” TenEyck said.