Vegan in College

I became vegan my sophomore year in college and learned a lot along the way. Here are my top 12 tips for all the college students out there who are vegan or thinking of going vegan!

  • Get Informed. Read books, watch videos, find some good vlogs, learn about vegan nutrition (this book is the ultimate vegan nutrition guide), and check out the great organizations out there (Mercy for Animals, Vegan Outreach, Farm Sanctuary, etc). Learn as much as you can to give yourself the best foundation possible to begin a compassionate, healthy, and fun life as a vegan!
  • Order a few vegan cookbooks. My favorites are by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, but there are also vegan cookbooks written specifically for college students. PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook is stocked full of 275 easy and cheap recipes that can be made with generic ingredients using your college dorm microwave. 3-minute pancakes in a cup, anyone?

  • Always carry granola bars or energy bars with you. Everywhere. Keep some form of energy bar that you don’t plan on eating in your backpack at all times. Because eventually you will be stuck on campus for longer than expected, and you will start feeling your stomach growl, and you will be tempted by those grimy vending machines conveniently located in every building. But not to worry, you know that if you dig deep enough in your bag you will find an energy bar waiting for you. Not only will this keep you safely on the vegan track, but it will also save you from eating fatty chips and candy bars. Some good options are Clif Bars, Raw Revolution Bars, Larabars, and Luna Bars.
  • Be crafty and thrifty. I’m all too familiar with the tight college budget. For the first time you’re paying for your own food and realizing that sustaining yourself isn’t cheap. I’ll be sharing plenty of quick, easy and dirt-cheap meal ideas on future Vegan Break videos, don’t you worry. Be sure to subscribe to stay updated! P.S. if you’re looking for a vegan alternative to ramen noodles, try these Noodle Bowls which are slightly more expensive but more filling and even easier to prepare!
  • Veganize your cafeteria. Here’s how. Get chummy with the dining hall director. It is the dining director’s job to make sure the dining options are suitable to all students, so let him know it’s important to students that school cafeterias offer kick ass vegan options! Vegans should have the opportunity to gain the Freshman 15 too, dude.
  • Fall in love with the best study snack of all time—Tings! Yes, they deserve their own spot on this list. But if you aren’t into Tings, there are zillions of other delicious snacks that will make you love being vegan and turn you off from vending machines for life. Stock up on delicious vegan snacks and treats so anytime you’re tempted by ice cream or cookies you’ve got your own vegan versions on hand to turn to. You must try Tofutti Cuties (vegan ice cream sandwiches). And Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks.  And Nana’s Cookies.  And Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers. And Vegan Rice Krispy Treats.  And Primal Strips Vegan Jerky.  I could go on and on ;)
  • Get witty. There’s one thing you can be sure about when you go veg. You will get nagged and pestered by friends about being vegan. Whether it’s the relentless “are you sure you’re getting enough protein?” question or people dangling dead flesh in your face as if it would make you want to eat it, be ready with a witty or intelligent comeback. You’re not only standing up for yourself, but you’re speaking out for the animals as well.
  • Find a friend. Going vegan is so much easier and more fun if you have the support of a friend making the same change. Don’t worry if you can’t find anyone at your college…you’ve always got plenty of support online! I’ll be your friend :)
  • Get involved in Vegan Outreach. You can order free literature from Vegan Outreach to hand out at your college. I wholeheartedly believe that this is the most important and effective thing you can do to help animals. After all, inspiring just one person to go vegan can save as many animals as being vegan yourself for your entire life! So grab some leaflets, head to the busiest area of campus, and be the influential person the animals are counting on you to be!

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  • Connect with other vegans. Seek out your college’s animal rights or vegetarian club. Don’t have one? Well, now you have an opportunity to make a huge impact on your college campus. Yup, you know what you need to do—what the animals need you to do: start a club! Also look for grassroots organizations that are active in your community. Try searching “vegetarian,” “vegan,” and “animal rights” on meetup.com to see what’s in your area.
  • Veganize your wardrobe. There’s nothing more hypocritical than leafleting in a pair of Uggs (or sporting other clothing or accessory items made from leather, wool, down, or the like). If you can afford it, donate your non-vegan items to people who can’t afford clothes, and go shopping for some cruelty-free gear! If you can’t afford it, just make a vow never to buy another item that is made from animals. Also, when you’re shopping for your college dorm, remember that down pillows and comforters are not vegan!
  • Have fun! This should probably be number one on this list. Too many times I hear stories about people going vegan and constantly thinking about what they can’t have. Stop! Start thinking about all the foods you can have more of now! Focus on discovering new foods and crowding the non-vegan foods out of your diet. Trust me, if you are still thinking it is hard to be vegan, there is a whole world of delicious food out there that you don’t even know exists. Plus, the best way to inspire others to go vegan is by showing how happy, healthy, vibrant and energetic it makes you! Grumpy, complain-y, intolerant vegans may just be doing more harm than good. Kick your pessimism to the curb and get happy, because you’re finally rocking the most compassionate diet on the planet!

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