Veganism plants itself at Etowah


There is a growing population at Etowah: the number of vegan students. As students become more aware of climate change, many are choosing to opt out of consuming meat or other animal products.  Vegetarians are people who choose not to eat meat while vegans do not consume any products made from animals. From veganism to vegetarianism, Etowah has many students who are dedicated to making a difference. 

“The reason I decided to become and stay vegetarian for the past five years would most likely be for the way the animals are treated in facilities that produce the meat for larger companies,” Taylor Bartos, senior, said. 

One of the main reasons why people choose to become vegetarian is fothe environmentAnother reason is it goes against their religion. Other students stop eating meat to protest animal crueltyor because they dislike the taste of meat, or for cultural reasons. 

“I was originally vegetarian for four years because I, in general, did not like eating meat. Then, early this year, I became vegan for the health benefits,” Brooke Hurley, freshman, said. 

Vegans refuse eating meat as well as using animal byproducts.  Compared to vegetarians, vegans go a step further and avoid buying any products tested on or produced by animals.  Some products that are off limits include certain makeup and dairy products. Beauty lines that are not cruelty-free include Maybelline, Dior, and Sephora.  Other everyday brands that use animal byproducts are Jif peanut butter, Dawn dish soap, Florida’s Natural orange juice, among others. Vegans do not consume any of these products because they are opposed to animals in captivity. 

It is difficult finding things to eat that have protein and don’t have meat. I’m always looking for new sources of protein to keep my food exciting and healthy, Chloe Mnich, senior, said. 

Many assume it would be difficult to be vegetarian or vegan because it takes more effort and planning compared to eating without restrictions, but there are many alternatives to meat that contain plenty of protein. Mnich suggests alternatives like nuts, seeds, or beans. Many companies, such as Beyond Meat, MorningStar Farms, and Gardein, also produce meat alternatives. 

I think becoming vegetarian is more popular, so there are generally more menu options,” said Jacob Stein, senior. 

While Etowah’s cafeterias do offer vegetarian meals, they do not have any vegan options. Students must bring lunch from home to avoid this issue. Despite this, many Etowah students are still working to reduce their carbon footprints by lowering their beef consumption.