By Lauren Pascocello
Murrowite Angelica Abreu said she’s basically a plant-powered princess.
Abreu is one of the many vegans in Murrow’s diverse body of students who have sworn off all meat and dairy products.
“Every day I feel as though I’m contributing to something bigger than myself,” she explained. “I feel happiest when I suddenly realize how I’m eating and how much pain I’m preventing.”
Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry. Vegans, in addition to being vegetarians, do not use any animal products whatsoever. This includes dairy, leather, wool and more. People usually choose a vegan lifestyle for either health, environmental, or ethical reasons.
Abreu went from being a vegetarian to a devoted vegan last year.
“It’s given me confidence,” she said. “It’s given me a choice, which in its own way is liberating.”
Physical Education teacher, Ms. Lydia Espinoza, has been a vegan for five years now and says she reminds her students that there are steps you need to take in order to maintain your health.
“They have to really become educated on the foods they need to intake because people tend to stop eating and that’s mistake number one,” she explained. “When they stop eating something specific like let’s say meat from a cow, they have to replace it with something that will give them protein, carbohydrates and good fat.”
According to a 2016 poll by The Vegetarian Resource Group, approximately 3.7 million U.S. adults are vegan and 4.3 million are vegetarian but not vegan.
Abreu isn’t the only proud teenage vegan in Murrow. Indira Yuldasheva became a vegan last December when she watched a Youtuber explain why they chose this lifestyle. She has been a devoted vegan since.
“It means making a positive change in the world,” the junior said. “Even beyond cutting out animal products.”
Some Murrowites, like Nikol Novitski, are interested in becoming vegan but are unsure if they’d be able to handle it.
“I’m part of a group chat with a lot of people from around the world and they’re all vegans,” said Novitski. “I learn a lot about veganism from them and they’ve definitely made me think about it. It’s just very hard considering my family eats meat every day and I love dairy just too much to give up.”
October marked the one year anniversary of junior Vivian Ra’s vegan lifestyle and she has loved every moment.
“It means respecting the sentience of other life, fulfilling one’s responsibility to the planet we all share and understanding that just because life doesn’t share your human form doesn’t mean that life is not complex, emotional and worthy of all existence,” said Ra. “Overall, it means having compassion for humans and non-humans alike.”