Veganism and Health
Many people worry that they will become unhealthy by choosing a vegetarian or vegan diet – which is understandable given the criticisms of these diets we tend to hear. Well-meaning and concerned individuals may suggest that you will not get enough protein or the right nutrients if you go veg. Luckily, the truth is that going veg in a healthful way is pretty straightforward, and can actually bring significant health benefits.
It’s important to become informed on what you should pay attention to when eating veg; the Toronto Vegetarian Association provides a clear and accessible resource for newcomers to vegetarian and vegan diets. Once you become acquainted with the basics, you’ll find that being a healthy vegan is easy! Often the biggest challenges are learning how to dine out and how to cook simple and delicious meals… but with just a little willingness to learn, curiosity, and commitment, you’ll feel like an old pro in no time.
Vegan on Campus and at Home
Outside the residence cafeterias, there are a few great vegan options on campus. For instance, Common Ground has a delicious and filling hummus and vegetable sandwich. MacCorry often has (cheap!) vegan soup or chili, as well as veg-friendly sushi. If you’ve got a big appetite, the Great Canadian Grilling Company offers a tasty vegan burger to go with your French fries. Once you start looking, animal-friendly options will become more apparent. In fact, many Queen’s eating establishments have made it easier for us to make ethical choices by using a handy labeling system: look for dishes labelled with VG (vegan) or V (vegetarian). Trouble is, animal friendly options are still in the minority. This is why we’re committed to improving the range of choices for those who have decided to eat in a way that doesn’t contribute to animal harm and exploitation.
It’s also healthy, economical, and often pretty fun to learn how to cook without animal products. Trying out different grains, plant-based proteins, and fresh produce is simple once you’ve armed yourself with a good grocery list and a few simple recipes. But you certainly don’t need to be a great cook to enjoy vegan food at home! If you’re not familiar with them yet, you will likely be seriously impressed by exactly how many products are out there that provide delicious and animal-free alternatives to your old favourite foods. Everything from ice cream (So Delicious Coconut milk ice cream – probably better than Hӓagen Dazs!) to ‘chicken’ fingers (Gardein brand are vegan and amazing) to Yves Ground Round, which is preferred to ground beef even by many meat lovers (it’s perfect in spaghetti sauces and casserole dishes) can be found at most supermarkets.
On the same topic, see Queen’s Hospitality Services’s page on vegan options on campus and “Campus food hacks for vegetarians” on The Queen’s Journal.
Whatever your favourite foods and cooking preferences are, you’re bound to find everything you need from the great selection of recipes, advice, inspiration, and opportunities for discussion in the online vegan community. Here are a few excellent resources to get you started:
- For a comprehensive grocery list to bookmark: Vegan Grocery Shopping List
- For methods to make the best transition to veganism, see this article from Huffington Post Canada Living.
- For a website full of recipes, information, videos, and a social forum: The Post-Punk Kitchen
- For an award winning food and wellness blog: Oh She Glows
- For baked goods that everyone will love and no one will know is vegan (until you tell them!): Have Cake Will Travel
- For a glossily packaged resource for thriving as a vegan, with information on the newest vegan products: VegNews