“Where do you get your protein?” “Do you only eat salad?” “How can you afford Whole Foods?” If you’ve been asked one or more of these questions before, you just might be a vegan.
Veganism has suddenly become mainstream. Pictures of acai bowls on Instagram and commercials for almond milk featuring DJ Khaled are prime examples of the trend. There is debate about whether or not this recent trend is helping or hurting the vegan movement.
Many influencers and celebrities–Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth included–converted to the diet, igniting its popularity on social media and making it a frontrunner in pop culture. While it is bringing veganism into the mainstream, will this cause it to quickly fade away just like every other trend? Why should veganism stay relevant even after the hashtags get bumped from the charts?
Veganism obviously is a positive step toward preventing animal mistreatment, but many people aren’t aware of the environmental benefits. To process meat, dairy, and eggs, it takes a huge toll on our earth.
Animal agriculture requires a shocking amount of water and food. “If we’re eating vegetarian, then we’re eating the corn directly, instead of feeding the pigs to then feed us,” said Heather Berry, A.P. environmental science teacher. “We don’t have to grow as much [corn] and then that frees up land for habitats and also frees up water for the farming we actually need.”
Veganism also cuts down on transportation and waste pollution. “We take the pigs and the cattle after they’ve been slaughtered to be packaged and then all of that needs to be transported to all the different grocery stores,” said Berry. “That’s another environmental impact with all the packaging that we use and throw away and dump into a landfill.”
Berry herself has been vegan for a month now and she’s noticed an increase in energy and some weight loss. She also doesn’t get headaches anymore and finds herself enjoying her food more than she used to.
I have been vegan for a few months now. Since making the switch, I have way more energy and I stopped craving sugary foods. Many people experience positive changes in their health after going vegan, including stronger nails/hair and clearer skin.
Even with the ethical, environmental, and health benefits of veganism, many people are switching to the lifestyle simply to stay trendy. But is this necessarily a bad thing?
“It would be nice if people were going vegan for the animals, but the trend is still benefiting the cause,” said Delaney Knoebel, senior and vegan. “But it’s always a possibility that when the trend dies out, people will convert back to eating animal products.” The hope is that people will see the positive effects and stick with the lifestyle.
It doesn’t really matter whether people are trying to save a baby cow or just following in Miley’s footsteps, at least they are supporting the movement. For more information on the benefits of veganism, watch Cowspiracy on Netflix.
Megan de Guzman, Co-Editor In Chief