More Students Kale Themselves Vegans


Swap out meals with vegan options a few times a week to join in on the trend and reap some health benefits. (Courtesy of Flickr)

By Gabriela Christensen 

Swap out meals with vegan options a few times a week to join in on the trend and reap some health benefits. (Courtesy of Flickr)
Swap out meals with vegan options a few times a week to join in on the trend and reap some health benefits. (Courtesy of Flickr)

In the past decade, veganism has received a great deal of attention for their “radical” alternative lifestyle choices. They choose to eliminate all dairy, eggs and meat products from their daily consumption. Burger lovers and cheese fanatics are often astonished with how vegans are can make such a “sacrifice.”

The popularity of veganism is rapidly spreading, according to the website Food Navigator. Vegans are not only hippies from California. Now the growing group includes young people on college campuses everywhere. This has become especially relevant today among the student population of Fordham, where many students are practicing vegans or transitioning to a vegan diet.

One of the main attractions of veganism are the health benefits associated with the diet. Recent studies, including one by the American Journal of Clinical Health, have found that by eliminating animal products from one’s diet, one can improve their physical and mental health.

Current Fordham student Caroline Martin, FCRH ’20, found medical relief through her vegan diet. “I used to have horrible stomach issues, and those went away after a week or two of being vegan,” she said.

Many people have reported that the diet promotes an increase in consumption of nutritionally dense foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans. The combination of eliminating animal products and increasing intake of nutritionally dense foods can reduce the risk of heart disease and significantly lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The vegan diet can also be a helpful tool in weight loss and cutting down Body Mass Index. The diet helps promote thicker hair, stronger nails and even clearer skin.

The benefits of veganism are not not just personal. Veganism benefits the world through environmental means. In fact, that is how Martin initially discovered the alternative diet. She was impressed after learning that the best way to help the environment is by cutting out animal products.

Some environmentalists have also been pushing for increased adherence to the vegan diet. This is due to the link between meat production and upsurge in greenhouse gases, as well as the vast amount of water required for meat production and the pollution and destruction of the environment that follows.

Laura Rathjen, FCRH ’20, finds it is difficult not to want to change one’s lifestyle and put down that burger. In March 2015, Rathjen made the transition. Rathjen said she was pleased by the effort that Fordham has put into supplying an adequate amount of alternative foods for vegans on campus, but Rathjen is concerned by the tremendous amount of “vegan” mislabeling made by the university. Regardless, she reports that the marketplace has a great variety of food and believes that it is the best option for vegans. Almost every food vending location on campus has at least one or two vegan options on their menus. Martin disagrees and advises that Urban Kitchen has the best vegan options and more than just a few salad options.

The campus continues to develop with the increasing community by providing more vegan options or making Fordham overall vegan-welcoming. Both Martin and Rathjer agree that the community at Fordham has been accepting and even inspired by their decision to live a vegan life.