How to Survive as A College Vegan from Isabel Gaspar, '22

It is estimated that as of 2018, 1.6 million American adults are vegan. While people have a variety of reasons for choosing to forego animal products in their diet, many choose the lifestyle to reduce their impact on the environment and to live in a more moral way. However, those who are considering making the change, especially those in college, have a number of concerns. To shed more light on how a college vegan survives, I sat down with Isabel Gaspar, from the Agnes Scott Class of 2022.

Her Campus: How long have you been vegan?

Isabel Gaspar: I’ve been vegan for six years.

HC: Why did you choose to go vegan?

IG: What made want to go vegan at first was a project at the beginning of 8th grade. I had always loved animals so I wanted to research more on animal rights to present to the class. I was assigned to research the farming industry, which meant learning about all that goes on in the process of making meat.

HC: You were able to give up meat just through research for a school project?

IG: Well, at first  I was very much in denial and wanted to continue to eating meat. It was just too tasty, I thought. Luckily, I wasn’t able to just continue that way. Every time I ate some meat, I would enjoy it while eating it, but the after part of it was terrible. So I really needed something to convince me once and for all to become vegetarian, (at the least) which brought me to a documentary that was recommended by Ellen: “Earthlings.”

HC: So what was the process of going vegan like?

IG: I knew that I had to start small since I was a major meat lover. So, I had my last meals for everything. In the end, chicken was my last thing to give up… Slowly, I started to find alternatives and new ways of enjoying my food without causing any direct harm to the animals. Finally, my sophomore year, I was confident that I could be vegan.

HC: Has being vegan on a college campus been easier or more difficult than you expected?

IG: Being vegan in college has been easier than I thought. Maybe even easier than back home. Coming from a Mexican household, there was always dishes with meat. I was the only one who was vegan, so I had to find my own recipes and alternatives when I could not eat what my family was eating. Here, the students are lucky because they have options. The cafeteria is split into two, where the other side is exclusively vegan dishes. That’s usually where I go, if I’m ever on the other side, it would be for potatoes or broccoli. They also have lots of options for non-dairy milk!

HC: What advice do you have for current or aspiring college vegans?

IG: My advice to other college vegans would be to be careful to stay away from the vegan junk food! It is really easy to think that just because meat is no longer on your plate, you’re healthy. I, myself, haven’t mastered it! Of course, there are lots of health advantages that not eating meat brings, but just like everyone else, there needs to be a healthy balance. (Oreos are not dinner).