Trendy Newtrition: Meatless meals

Caroline Rabin, Lifestyle Editor

Compiled and designed by Rachel Lee and Maddy Placik.
Compiled and designed by Rachel Lee and Maddy Placik.

Foods 161 is challenging for junior Christine Lee. Ever since she became a vegan two months ago, Lee has struggled most with her willpower in Foods.

According to dietitian Judith Kolish, a vegan is someone who eradicates all animal products from his or her diet. This includes dairy products, meat, fish and other foods that contain animal products. Kolish said that there are many different kinds of vegans but at its root, being vegan is a lifestyle.

As veganism has developed into a way of living, a specialized society has been established. Samantha Calvert, The Vegan Society’s media and public relations manager, said that the purpose of The Vegan Society is to create a community and support system for all vegans.

“The Vegan Society is a representation of the vegan lifestyle,” said Calvert. “You can decide to quit being a vegan, but while you are one you abide by rules that, in a way, can overrule your life.”

Lee, however, said she does not believe that her choice of diet dictates her life. She said she did not choose to be vegan so that it could define her life but so that she could be healthier.

“Just because I eat less variety of food does [not] mean my diet is always safe,” said Lee. “I [am] on an 80/10/10 plan. Eighty percent of what I eat is carbs, 10 percent is fats and 10 percent is protein. I have to keep track of my food intake on a CRON-O-Meter, a food database and diet log.”

Kolish agreed with Lee that being a vegan can be dangerous.

“I deal a lot with eating disorders,” said Kolish. “And what I see is people being brought into my office claiming to be vegan but not making sure they get the nutrients they need to survive. They are undernourished and lacking in certain essential vitamins. Once I saw a young girl [who was undernourished] brought in… and had developed an anorexia-like attitude towards food after becoming a vegan and then not keeping track of her calories and protein.”

According to Calvert, although there is great risk in being vegan, there are also great benefits. She, a vegan herself, said that if it is done correctly, being a vegan is a much healthier way of life. To her, one of the greatest benefits is that you can to live a lifestyle that is kind to animals, the planet and world food security.

To Lee, who said she dabbled in body-building and vegetarianism before becoming a vegan, the best benefit is knowing that she can rise above temptation.

“I’m in [Foods 161] so I can’t eat any of the stuff we make,” said Lee. “And I do most of the cooking. My teacher even came up to me and said that it doesn’t seem fair that I’m having to cook and can’t eat. But really, this just makes me want to be vegan even more. Me not eating it gives me more motivation because I realize that I can overcome it. I’m not tempted.”