Answers From a Vegan


Leilani, a vegan, sitting in front of an anti-vegan sign. She and her friends laughed as she posed for the photograph.

Leilani Gibbons, Features Editor

After being vegan for over a year, I have had my fair share of confused and curious strangers. Whenever the topic is brought up I am often asked a series of identical questions:


“Do you get protein?”

“Is your family vegan?” and lastly, the ever looming

“So what can you eat?”

I frequently respond with “For my health… yes… no… a lot of things”, but let’s go more in depth.

There are plenty of reasons to go vegan, but my top three reasons are: for my health, for the animals and for the planet. Dairy and other animal byproducts are extremely heavy on your body and have detrimental effects on your skin and digestion, including acne or causing bloating. It has been proven that our bodies are not able to handle milk, technically everyone is at least slightly lactose intolerant. Plus, humans are the only species that drink milk after the nursing period

My second reason for being vegan is for the animals. This does not resonate with everyone, people are taught that animals are merely food, but I can guarantee that after watching some documentaries such as Vegucated (2010), Forks Over Knives (2011) or Earthlings (2007), it will change your perspective or at least cause you to have second thoughts regarding what you are eating.

Not many people realize it but the meat and animal industry have a massive effect on the environment. For example, cows are one of the most commonly exploited animals; producing milk, cheese, butter, beef and plenty of other products. Because they are so popular in our fridges and dining tables, they are being mass produced and multiplied exponentially by farmers. Now think of this: each year a cow releases between 70 and 120 kilograms of Methane, a greenhouse gas that depletes the ozone layer leading to global warming. In short, one cow is equal to driving 7,800 miles per year.

Now for protein- most every vegetable contains at least a small amount of protein. Some vegetables that are the highest in protein include peas, spinach, kale, broccoli- the list is endless. It is not hard to find replacements or alternatives to the foods that you already love, there are even vegan cheese and ice cream options.

Something that is important about this dietary choice is that you are an outlier, especially depending on where you are. I am the only vegan in my family and of my close friends, but we all still eat together and eat similar foods. Do not attack or shame people on what they are eating either because everyone has their opinions and views and guilting people will only make them disagree more. Plus, there are vegan options practically everywhere that you eat, so you are not missing out on social events or special occasions.

If you are considering going vegan or testing the waters, I would highly recommend it, it has been proven to clear up skin and improve health overall. For any questions visit