Fruits, veggies and college

Shelby Tankersley

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Being vegan or vegetarian used to be synonymous with being a hippie. Now, people do it either to be healthy or to do what they feel is morally right. It’s becoming more and more common to say no to meat and dairy.

 Despite the world around us becoming friendlier to vegans and vegetarians, it’s still an inconvenient lifestyle.

College students like to joke that they’re poor. Quite frankly, being vegan or even vegetarian isn’t cheap. Doing either has to take some major budgeting skills.

“It’s a little more expensive, but now more stores have vegetarian and vegan options,” Eliza Hensley, a senior majoring in communication and psychology who has been a vegetarian for six years, said. “I’d say it’s become more popular within the last three to four years to be vegetarian. So it’s not as hard to find stuff as it used to be.”

Hensley said that she started living a vegetarian lifestyle because she thought it would be a reasonable way to stay healthy, and in her experience it has been beneficial.

She added that being vegetarian keeps her from having fast food and making her conscientious about what she puts in her body, which in turn helps her live a healthy lifestyle.

Eating at home is one thing, on campus is another. Hensley is a commuter, but she said that she eats in the Oakland Center from time to time.

“It’s hard to eat on campus. Even if something is just made with chicken broth, I can’t have it,” Hensley said. “You can only bring so much that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, so it can be tricky sometimes.”

Hensley later said OU has added more things that are vegetarian friendly this year. Kevin Peasgood, the executive chef for Chartwells at OU, said that almost every restaurant on campus has dishes that are both vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Now, what does it mean to be both vegetarian and vegan friendly?

“Being a vegan means that you don’t use any animal products in clothing, cosmetics, food or anything that has even been tested on animals,” Melissa Hunt, a junior majoring in psychology and a vegan of four years, said.

In other words, vegetarians don’t eat any meat. Vegans don’t use any animal products.

Hunt said that in her experience, being vegan is a little pricey, along with being tricky at times.

“It isn’t so bad if I’m not buying a substitute for something like milk,” Hunt said. “But beauty products are more expensive for sure.”

She, like Hensley, also said that she finds it hard to find something on campus to eat as a commuter. But she thinks that Moe’s is particularly vegan friendly.

“There’s not a lot of options,” Hunt said.

Hunt said that she, along with many other vegans she’s met, live that lifestyle for moral reasons, and health is just something that happens to come along with it.

“I think that vegetarianism is more common for health,” Hunt said. “But veganism is so complete, with clothes and everything, that most of the time it is for moral reasons.”

Both Hensley and Hunt said that living their lifestyles takes a little more money and planning, but they both find it manageable to juggle both that and getting a degree.