Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

    Why college students should try vegan


    Going vegan may sound like a near impossible feat, especially in college, and in a place where barbecue is considering a sixth food group, but what if you knew that it was one of the best decisions you could ever make for yourself? 

    About 8 million Americans eat a vegan or plant­-based diet, meaning they do not consume any dairy, meat or eggs, and that number has been growing rapidly in the past few years. With some of those 8 million being Beyonce, Carrie Underwood, Mike Tyson and even our own Joe Namath, the vegan lifestyle has started to get some much deserved publicity and credibility. 

    After a freshman year full of late night Domino’s, early morning donuts and espresso, many trips to Julia’s Market and a few shameful Cold Stone deliveries from Crimson2Go, the typical college student diet took a toll on me. I came home for the summer sick, exhausted and a few pounds heavier. 

    I watched a documentary, “Forks Over Knives,”one afternoon that summer and realized that my quality of life could be so much higher if I just adjusted my diet. So I took the plunge, decided to go vegan and haven’t looked back since. 

    Why go vegan as a college student?
    Why shouldn’t you wait until it’s more convenient? 

    1. You’ll have a steady stream of energy all day that doesn’t require a steady stream of caffeine. Last season, on the popular tv show, “Extreme Weight Loss”, celebrity trainer, Chris Powell tried an experiment with the twins he was working with. He put one on a high carbohydrate and low fat diet and the other on a low carbohydrate and high fat diet. After two weeks, both lost the same amount of weight but the first twin had lasting energy to do the workouts and looked more muscular, while the other barely struggled to make it through his daily routine. While a low carbohydrate and high fat diet do bring quick results, they don’t produce healthful habits. Following a vegan diet means more time to get your work done, better ability to focus and an overall less stressful life. 

    2. You’ll never get sick anymore and can stop spending hours in the Health Center. Foods that are highly processed or have large amounts of cholesterol, saturated fat, and sugar deplete the body of its nutrients, which weakens the immune system. Many animal products have these and cause inflammation to the heart and arteries. They also destroy our body’s defense mechanisms, our white blood cells. Many plant foods are full of antioxidants and vitamins which help protect our immune system and keep us from being susceptible to sickness. 

    3. You can eat plenty of food anytime you are hungry and still maintain a healthy weight. As long as you aren’t eating highly processed foods or animal products, you do not have to count calories or restrict your intake. Vegans are encouraged to eat until they are full as many times a day as needed. Vegans also tend to weigh about 18% less than the average American even while eating as much as they need to. 

    4. You will actually save money on food and get to spend it on clothes…or more food. My grocery bills have drastically decreased since adopting a plant­-based diet. Your most expensive groceries are typically dairy products and meats. Some great vegan staples in college are black beans, brown rice, frozen fruits and veggies, peanut butter and pasta. Those are some of the cheapest foods at the grocery store and you can rest assured that your body will feel lighter while your wallet will feel heavier. 

    5. You are allowed, even encouraged to eat carbs!
    A vegan diet consists of about 75% carbohydrates that can be found in potatoes, beans, rice, corn, pasta, and whole grains. It’s all about eating the right kind of carbs that will fill you up and give you lasting energy without the crash. Protein and fat are important components too, but your body will soon tend to crave the right foods after a few weeks of abiding by a plant­-based diet. 

    If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to email me at: [email protected]. In the mean time, take a trip to the grocery store, head to the local Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning and get to eating! 

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