WILD’s brand new short series ‘The Vegan Diaries’ accounts various aspects of living a vegan lifestyle as a student, featuring articles by Katie Watson.
As a student, I lead a busy life including lots of badminton, reading, and going on nights out. Minus the drinking, I try to stay relatively healthy. It feels good to eat right and I wouldn’t have the energy to do everything I do without eating well. During this series, I want to prove that you can still live a normal lifestyle AND follow a vegan diet.
How did I get to where I am now?
I went vegan on February 1st, 2017 so I’ve not been a vegan that long at all. I was vegetarian for two or three years beforehand but that was based mostly off a dislike of meat rather than a love of a plant-based diet. It was after watching Cowspiracy and my love of animals that really pushed me to make the change. During my first few months at university I gradually cut out egg and dairy. One day, my housemate and I decided to go vegan together. We’ve never looked back.
Is it worth it?
Over the last two years I have educated myself on the pros and cons of a vegan plant-based diet. It is important to appreciate both sides of the argument: vegan documentaries unveil hidden truths, but there is still a lot to be discussed and defined as more research is undergone. It should also be acknowledged that the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘plant based’ are not synonymous. For example, someone could live off vegan cheese toasties and dark chocolate can be ‘vegan’ but not healthy. A plant-based diet is still obviously vegan but you eat mostly plants in their basic form in order to get all the minerals and nutrients from there. And I can reassure you, this is perfectly possible!
Apart from B12 – that’s the only supplement you really need. I will use the term ‘vegan’ as a kind outlook where diet and other activities are adjusted to minimise suffering. It is not always easy but it definitely is worth it.
How does it make you feel?
In the beginning I felt a little tired when I didn’t eat the right sized portions or the right foods. I bought a lot of branded food and I struggled to make my meals interesting in a short time period. The best you can do is educate yourself! Going vegan requires real commitment and an understanding of what you’re fuelling your body with. A year and a half on, I have got the hang of it. Be patient, changing diets means you have to be knowledgeable and find balance. I have never felt better, never had more energy, better skin, and I think most significantly, I’ve found better way of seeing life and trying to implement kindness into everything I do. A vegan lifestyle really encourages awareness of your actions, that you really do have a power to change things. All the benefits that I have experienced really makes me want to share how anyone can be vegan. I never want my views to come across as oppressive but if you’re open to the reality that it’s easy being a student on a budget AND vegan AND healthy, then here is a little insight.
About the Author: Katy Watson is a third year English Literature student at the University of York. She loves veganism, badminton and books.