Vegan Club promotes healthy living and ethical awareness

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During its first semester as an official club on campus, the Vegan Club has created a community of its own with a focus on promoting healthy eating habits.

Despite its name, the Vegan Club welcomes members with a variety of diets to join its group.

“The club is meant to promote healthy living, plant-based foods, not veganism,” Vegan Club president Richard McGreevy said. “Vegetarians, carnivores, omnivores, pescitarians, everyone is welcome but it’s mainly plant-based nutrition.”

According to club member Margaret McKenzie, 59, undecided major, the main motivations for becoming vegan are noncompliance with animal cruelty, environmental factors such as greenhouse gas production within the factory farming industry, personal health, and conscientious awareness.

“We’re all connected and we don’t want to realize how connected we are on this planet,” McKenzie said.

Meeting topics range from local vegan eateries to vegan recipes, and act as a haven for some who want an environment to speak openly about vegan ethics and ideologies.

Paloma Flores, 19, art major, found that most people she had encountered in life had a militant view of vegans, as people with strict dietary habits that they were eager to force upon others.

“I joined this club because I would like to have a community where I can share recipes and talk to people about vegan politics,” Flores said. “I just like having people who also have the same point of view as me.”

During her time in the club, she found that the militant stereotype didn’t apply to all vegans.

“Everyone doesn’t just get to see that it’s very hard to attain. (For example), processed vegan food,” Flores said. “You can see that there are different types of vegans that all exist on a spectrum.”

McGreevy and McKenzie both have diets that are led by the ideologies of John McDougall, author of “The Starch Solution,” focusing on the replacement of starches with whole foods and grains..

“We live very simply. We are not gourmet. We don’t spend a lot of time making food. We concentrate on whole foods, simplicity, and health,” McKenzie said.

Flores has her own goal when it comes to vegan cooking, one that she’s eager to share with the vegan community.

“I still bake a lot and I’m finding ways to veganize recipes,” Flores said. “I grew up with my grandma making desserts for us, so I’m trying to slowly veganize all her desserts.”

Although all of the club members have varying diets, intermingled with long-term and newfound vegans, the club primarily acts as exposure to a new way of thinking about veganism.

“Understanding that vegan experience is part of the importance of having a club,” McKenzie said.

The Vegan Club meets on the Library Lawn from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays. They will be having elections for fall club officers on Wednesday, May 30. In the case that they don’t have a quorum with which to elect the officers, elections will take place in the fall of 2018.

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