Modern Day Veganism

If you’ve been hearing a lot about vegans lately, there may be an explanation.


Kennedy Humphrey, Staff Writer

Veganism has been around for centuries, but recently there has been a spike in the percentage of people who have chosen the lifestyle. According to Plant Proteins.Co, veganism in the United States has risen from 1% in 2014 to 6% in 2017.

The spike could be from an interest in young adults, who make up a large percentage of the vegan population. YouTube channels such as Jubilee have made videos in the past showing conversations between vegans and  non-vegans. Their most watched video on the topic, “6 Vegans vs 1 Secret Meat Eater” has 14 million views. 

It’s not certain why the diet has been trending in recent years, but celebrities might have something to do with it. Many household names, such as Joaquin Phoenix, Kourtney Kardashian and Natalie Portman are all vegan.

A lot of fast food companies and restaurants have also come out with plant-based options, making it more accessible to consumers. One example is Starbucks, which currently sells a plant-based breakfast “sausage” sandwich made with an Impossible patty. Carl’s Jr. has also contributed to this, offering an Impossible patty for all of their burgers.

Michelle Fernandez, former Grossmont student and recent SDSU graduate, has been vegan for a year and a half. According to Fernandez, she decided to go vegan after randomly watching the movie “Okja.” 

“Okja” is a fictional Netflix movie that centers around a girl in South Korea, whose lifelong pet is taken away from her and sent to a slaughter house. “Basically after that it was like, I have a dog and then, I kinda resonated with that girl’s pet pig,” Fernandez said. 

But that’s not the only reason she decided to go vegan. Fernandez said that she also decided to become vegan after watching debates on YouTube and documentaries about the meat industry. “There wasn’t anything to excuse from being vegan at that point,” she said. 

According to Fernandez, the transition from eating meat to being fully plant-based was a hard process. She said she had to remind herself why she initially started. “I think it was only hard for me and others when we were thinking about ourselves,” she said.

“We think, ‘Oh, it’s going to  be hard for me to change my diet,’ and whatever, but these animals, they don’t have a choice and they don’t even get to live,” she said.

Being vegan, like most diets, comes with pros and cons. Some cons of being vegan may revolve around the nutritional aspect of the diet as it might not be suitable for everyone. Common supplements that some vegans have to take include: vitamin B 12, vitamin D, iron and calcium. Students might also find it hard to find affordable meat substitutes. 

However, there may be pros as well, such as being a part of a new community, cleaning up your diet or improving your cooking skills.