I was offered extra credit for a course I was taking this semester if I attended a lecture for one of the Global Understanding sessions my school offers annually. I attended a lecture on veganism entitled, “Forks, Knives, and Invisible Violence in Our Daily Lives.” I attended this session pretty blindly, thinking it was about the fair trade food and labor laws in other countries.
I was surprised to find it was actually a lecture on veganism. For those of you who don’t know, vegans do not eat or use any product that comes from animals, including products such as dairy, honey, leather, and furs. It was a lot to handle at ten a.m. and really had me thinking about my choices. After listening to the lecture, learning some facts, and seeing some graphic and emotional videos, I made the choice to become a vegetarian again. After that morning I haven’t eaten meat since.
About a week or two later, I was offered another extra credit opportunity to attend a local vegan society’s potluck, where a speaker from Molloy College’s Sustainability Institute spoke about veganism in regards to environmentalism. I learned a lot of new things I didn’t know about how our food choices and the meat industry contribute to environmental concerns. For example:
- A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people. (Source)
- One hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce – the equivalent of 2 months’ worth of showers. (Source)
- The meat and dairy industries combined use nearly 1/3 of all the fresh water in the world today (Source)
There’s tons of more facts out there and I encourage everyone to do their research! However, one of the best parts for me aside from learning this new information, was trying all the different vegan dishes people brought.
Luckily for me, I was only required to bring a fruit salad, and other students in our classes were required to bring things such as utensils, waters, plates, and napkins. But those involved in the vegan society brought such a wide variety of foods to try. They ranged from appetizers, to casseroles, to desserts.
It was a great experience to try new things that proved vegan food doesn’t have to be all nuts and berries. There are some great options out there to try. Some of my favorites were spinach meatballs and a corn and bean salsa with chips. There were also different homemade chocolate cakes and cookies that proved to be a great alternative to the dairy desserts.
If you’re thinking about trying veganism, don’t think it’s going to end eating tasty food. This potluck proved there were more options out there then I ever dreamed of. Although I am still just a vegetarian, I can begin to incorporate vegan dishes into my diet now that I know more about veganism and the types of food available with this diet.
What do you think of veganism? Ever tried it? Share your thoughts & tips!