Since college students often face monetary and time constraints; they do not usually have the freedom to be health-conscious regarding their diet.
Generally, living a vegan lifestyle can lead to a healthier diet, Shannon Galyean, a Tech assistant professor in the Nutritional Sciences Department and a licensed dietician, said.
Vegans often have lower fat and higher fiber, Galyean said. They also consume more phytochemicals, which contain antioxidants and anti-cancer properties.
A vegan diet can be better for one’s heart and can help one manage their weight, Galyean said. This also can help with high-blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.
Eating a vegan diet could have different downfalls.
“It is going to be a lot less convenient to eat,” Amy Leigh Hampton, a registered dietician, said. “Eating out is very difficult, especially for vegans.”
Vegans, who exclude all animal products from their diets, including butter, eggs and honey, can have a difficult time finding vegan options, Hampton said.
When spending time in different environments, such as family gatherings and parties, vegans often do not find food options easily, Hampton said.
A vegan diet requires a lot more planning, Hampton said.
“Especially in a small place, like Lubbock,” she said, “where it’s just does not cater to people with different types of diets rather than typical American diet.”
Lilly Kiernan, a freshman creative media industries major from Keller, and a committed vegan of three years, said that she was surprised Lubbock had vegan places.
“I was so nervous; I thought I was going to have to eat Chipotle all the time,” Kiernan said.
Some on-campus vegan options also exist, but one can never have too many, Kiernan said.
Living a vegan lifestyle does not mean one is living a healthy lifestyle, Hampton said.
“Even well-planned vegan diets can be low in iron, zinc, calcium and iodine,” Hampton said.
Protein malnutrition, anemia and B12 deficiency are some of the most common deficiencies that come with a vegan diet, Galyean said.
Meat products contain certain amino acids that humans need but cannot produce, Galyean said. Soy products do contain those amino acids but consuming too much soy can have negative side effects.
Combining plant sources that have different essential proteins, vitamins and minerals is important to living a vegan lifestyle, Galyean said.
Living a vegan lifestyle, may also have an effect on a person’s wallet. But that effect may not be necessarily negative.
“If you’re buying specialty alternatives, like vegan chicken nuggets, those are more expensive,” Kiernan said.
When buying foods from the store, such as vegetables, fruits, rice and beans, it is relatively inexpensive, Kiernan said.
For example, if one was going to prepare their meals for a week, buying black beans, diced tomatoes, zucchini and quinoa for a soup can produce about three meals, Galyean said. Those meals would amount to about $3 per portion.
Products that are prepackaged, such as cauliflower rice and vegan sausages, will always be more expensive than putting in the time to make the products at home, Galyean said.
Overall, a well-balanced vegan lifestyle has both advantages and downfalls.
“There are several reasons people follow a vegan lifestyle, whether it be poor health or religion,” Galyean said. “You have to be aware of what you are lacking with no animal foods and what you need to include.”