Vegan Diet Becomes Increasingly Popular

Becoming vegan has been on the rise since 2009, due to people’s rising health awareness.  About three percent of the U.S population is vegan, totaling around one million citizens, according to Huffington Post. Being vegan requires the removal of animal-based products from one’s diet.
Altering eating habits is more than just about what one eats but can heavily affect someone’s life. Junior Cassidy Keller said she experienced this first hand.

“It was hard, and it was difficult to find places I could eat or things to eat in the area,” Keller said. “My family wasn’t [vegan] so it put a strain on my new lifestyles.”

Taking into consideration Coos Bay’s smaller size, it is difficult to obtain food fitting to a vegan’s diet. There are more fast food establishments than health stores or available nutrients without animal products. Similarly, most local restaurants do not typically offer vegan-friendly meals.

“I had to constantly ask for specific changes when I went out with friends for food,” Keller said.

Junior Madelyn Sturges is currently testing out the vegan lifestyle. While some try it for the animal saving aspect, she said she is doing so for her health.

“I’ve wanted to try it for a while and was finally able to,” Sturges said. “I can feel the difference and discovered a lot more of what I was actually eating.”

Lately, some have only become vegan for a short time period to try it out. Others accuse them of doing it for the wrong reasons or not truly being vegan and only for the trend. Keller said other opinions should not deter one from becoming vegan.

“It doesn’t really affect anyone else because you’re doing it for what you believe in,” Keller said.

Those who are vegan often receive a surprised or doubtful response, according to Sturges.

“Whenever I tell someone they laugh at me because they can’t believe it can be done,” Sturges said. “I often try to refrain from telling people so they don’t question me.”

According to Keller, altering one’s eating choices provides evident benefits to those who follow this lifestyle and noticed the difference.

“I learned my willpower during it,” Keller said. “I was being healthier, and I could feel it.  My body felt better.”

On the other hand, becoming vegan can impose negative or risky effects, according to science teacher Scott Stockert.

“Yes, most benefits come from a vegan diet, but you still have to be conscious about getting your nutrients,” Stockert said. “Just eating bread, salads and vegetables is not healthy for someone. And considering most teenagers don’t eat healthy as is, it could be bad.”

With an increase of people trying veganism, some think it would be good to provide vegan friendly options to help lead to community health.

“One person going vegan won’t make much of a difference,” Sturges said. “It would be really cool if we had a community garden or vegan friendly places to promote healthier eating.”