Let me preface this with a quick and obvious disclaimer: I am just a meager freshman and I still have so much of the vegan agenda that needs to be spread.
I slowly and discretely transitioned to a vegan lifestyle when I was just 17. For the most part, I kept my decision pretty much a secret, even from my closest friends. In fact, I refrained from calling myself a vegan for a very, very long time. Instead, and I kid you not, if the topic ever came up I would say something along the lines of,
“…yeah I’m allergic to eggs and dairy, so I don’t eat those. And then meat kind of grosses me out and it’s really difficult for me to digest, same thing with fish. Oh and the declining bee population really scares me and I’m still not sure how honey cultivation actually affects them so I avoid that too…”,
to which almost everyone would respond by saying: “oh so you’re vegan.” And it was after so many of these interactions that I finally decided to fully embrace the vegan hippie I had become. With high school graduation crossed off my list of life achievements, I moved on to my next to-do; being an unapologetic (maybe even border-line obnoxious) college vegan.
1: Hit ’em hard with the vegan apparel
I absolutely LOVE this Kale sweatshirt. You can find different versions of it pretty much everywhere now, but I coped this one from Nordstrom a few years back. This is my favorite layer to just chuck on when I’m feeling a bit chilly or I need to run off to class. But the best thing about it has got to be its subtle veggie message. I have gotten endless compliments on this little number and it works as the perfect plant based conversation starter.
2: Flaunt smoothies as your new go-to accessory
Smoothies are the perfect quick nutritious breakfast for when you’re running late to that 9 am lecture. It is so easy to throw a bunch of fruit and a handful of veggies into the blender and then run out the door. One thing that I can’t believe more people aren’t doing is bulk making smoothies. Whenever I have produce that’s about to go off, I just throw it all into the blender and freeze the leftovers! Then I will either thaw a smoothie overnight in the fridge for an effortless breakfast, or pack a frozen one fresh from the freezer and let it thaw during my morning for a light hydrating lunch.
3: Always. Pack. Snacks. (and don’t be afraid to share)
One of my favorite things is snacking. For me, a perfect day consists of just grazing on little bites all day long. I live on campus but I don’t have a meal plan, so instead I just bring a bag of assorted snacks basically everywhere. It is so much more convenient to throw a bunch of little treats in my bag versus actually planning out a cohesive lunch. These are a few of my favorite nibbles as of late:
- Fresh fruit (apples, oranges, tangelos, basically whatever is on sale for the week)
- Cut up veggies (celery, carrots, cucumber, snap peas, edamame)
- Dried fruit (raisins, dates, apricots, prunes, figs-if there is a dried fruit option, you can bet I’ve tried it and loved it)
- Rice cakes (cover them in PB, hummus, avocado, or just eat ’em plain)
SNACK HACK: I love air popped popcorn but I don’t love paying for the prepared packaged kind. Instead, I make my own popcorn ~~in the microwave~~. Just take a brown bag and fill it with 3 tbsp of popcorn kernels and then microwave for 1 min 30 sec. It is that easy. Not only do you get fresh, warm, AND oil free popcorn, but you don’t have to clean up any pots or pans-you can just eat straight out of the bag.
4: Revel in the fact that you are better
Don’t let other people make you feel bad for your own personal decisions. So what if you like soymilk and eat plain unsweetened pumpkin puree? (both of which I am guilty of). Go ahead and eat your salad. Bust out your super food smoothies. Unapologetically crunch on those carrot and celery sticks. While other kids are noshing on pizza and ramen, take a moment to actually thank yourself. Because the habits you are choosing to form today are molding your future, and I would much rather live a healthy balanced life, than one full of junk food and feeling crappy all the time.