Harrisites root for veganism

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Many students at Townsend Harris follow unique and special diets for a variety of reasons. For instance, many students stick to a strict regimen of vegetarianism or veganism for the environment and to improve their own health. Although many perceive these diets to be limiting and difficult to maintain, others find that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks and continue to follow this lifestyle. 

Juniors Anil Singh and Victoria Ciszewska both chose to go vegan for similar reasons. “I chose to become vegan because I didn’t think it was ethical to eat animal products. I learned how unsustainable meat consumption was,” Anil said. With the growing awareness of climate change, Victoria said that the environmental impact of animal agriculture was what really convinced her to go vegan. “I chose to become vegan as the climate movement began to pick up in the mainstream. Aside from ethical and health reasons, the environmental impact of animal agriculture is what really made me go vegan,” she said.

Sophomore Danielle Chiu was first introduced to veganism through her family. “My family was resistant to it at first and my sister had to argue for months,” she said. “But once my mom watched Forks over Knives (a vegan documentary), she realized the benefits of veganism. Since diabetes and Alzheimer’s run in the family, [my mom] wanted to go vegan because both my parents want to see us and their grandchildren grow up.” Although Danielle is not fully vegan, learning about veganism has made her more conscious of what she eats. “It can be really hard, but I’d rather be limited in what I can eat than be limited in how long I can live,” she said. 

A common assumption about veganism is that it is difficult to find vegan options when out in public. However, Victoria expressed that many restaurants offer vegan alternatives. “The only challenge that I’ve adjusted to is that I have to make time out of my schedule to go grocery shopping and cook my own food since nobody else in my family is vegan,” she said.  

Victoria added, “My go-to meal is definitely quinoa with beans and a Mediterranean style salad with tomatoes and cucumber since it’s really quick to prepare. I’ve also recently learned how to make homemade falafel and vegan pad thai at home, so I’ve been eating that a lot as well.” 

Considering the many beneficial effects of veganism, Anil and Victoria would both recommend their diet to anyone who is willing to give it a try. “I would recommend [it], but you should do it the right way. Try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables as well as beans and nuts for protein,” Anil said, advising to “take it slowly, maybe become vegetarian first.” Because of its restrictive nature, the diet may not be for everyone. However, Victoria said, “Everyone should give eating less animal products a try, even if it’s just a few meals per week.”

Photo by Jason Bacalla, Photography Editor.