Humxns of UCT – Cait Tyler

What makes Her Campus UCT so special and unique from the other chapters is that our members, writers, and students are incredibly diverse. Each person has something beautiful and interesting about them – a story to share, a talent, or an outlook on life. We’d like to celebrate our diversity by zooming in on individual’s stories, speaking to them about what they’re most passionate about and letting them shine on our platform. Whether it be just for a chuckle or to actually share some wise words, we’d like to introduce a new series to Her Campus UCT: Humxns of UCT

This Humxn of UCT is Cait Tyler, a second year English, Philosophy and Religious Studies major, and an aspiring writer. This is the full interview that was conducted to share their story on social media. I met Cait in a first-year philosophy lecture. Her passion and deep love for nature and art immediately stood out to me. On a Jammie bus ride a few days later, I found myself once again sitting next to Cait. I remember her glancing at my screen, which showed that I was listening to Tame Impala, and I knew by the thrilled look on her face that an interesting conversation was about to unfold. I learned that Cait is vegan and dreams of opening an animal sanctuary one day. The Humxns of UCT project was interested in finding out more about Cait’s experiences living a vegan lifestyle.


What were your main reasons for choosing to become vegan? 

I became a vegetarian in Grade 2 as soon as I realised who my food actually was. Veganism was naturally just the next step for me. I couldn’t stand my hypocrisy when I said that I loved animals and I valued the lives of all beings whilst still contributing to heart-breaking industries that exploit sentient beings. For me, the root of all injustice in the world is that some lives are considered more important. I needed to do what I could to eliminate my part in feeding the injustice that exists. 


It is said that veganism will eventually become the dominating worldview. Is this something you believe in, or what is your opinion on the matter?

Veganism is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing ethical revolutions that have ever taken place. In a few short years, I’ve already noticed a huge shift in thinking. When I first went vegetarian, going to eat out was always challenging as it was rare that a restaurant would offer anything vegetarian besides a simple salad. Nowadays, I can stumble into arbitrary places and find an abundance of plant-based food. Only a small percentage of the population needs to make the shift and the rest will follow suit. You can see the exponential growth of the movement everywhere in the world. It’s just a case of awareness and understanding. Most people you ask would say that they’re against animal cruelty and veganism is the logical step in abolishing this cruelty as well as eradicating numerous other universal problems. 

How do you manage to maintain a vegan lifestyle while living off a student budget and staying away from home? 

People assume that veganism means health shops and soy matcha lattes. In reality, it’s not as glamorous. Veganism, as a student, means foods like rice, legumes and pastas. These are some of the cheapest foods in the world. Everything is so accessible now, not just food but things like cruelty-free cosmetics too. The internet is also your best friend in discovering new recipes and altering your perception of food. Mainly though, I’m just super thankful for roast potatoes. 


Was your family supportive in your transition to becoming vegan? How did you find the transition process? 

There was some expected scepticism revolving around my transition to veganism. This was more a parental concern as I struggle from chronic health issues and my family just wanted what’s best for me. I asked my mom to watch Earthlings with me and my dad did his own research. After that they understood and when my health started rapidly improving their minds were at ease. I know I am very lucky to have the support system I have. The transition itself, however, was challenging for me. I had to really be aware of what my body needed. I struggled in the beginning but after the first three months I had never felt better. I had more energy, less pain and just a greater sense of contentment. 


If you had one piece of advice for anyone thinking of becoming vegan, what would it be?

Do your research. You need to realise that people are going to question you about everything. We all get the dreaded question, “But what if you were stuck on a deserted island with nothing to eat?” or the infamous exclamation that “plants have feelings too.” Know how to work your way around these occurrences. It helps to know your facts and stand by your reasoning. Also, learn to acknowledge when an interaction is not going to be fruitful, in other words, pick your battles. But most importantly, realise that everybody has a different journey and we will all face different challenges but you don’t need to do these alone. If you don’t want to start the journey alone or are struggling along the way, join challenge 22 or a vegan support group on Facebook.