Vegan-American: The Other-Other Lifestyle

vegan-logoBy Sarah Johnson | Staff writer

Veganism is on the rise from sea to shining sea, despite America being burger central.

Veganism has grown to 2.5 percent of the United States population, according to Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG).

In 2013, one million Americans considered themselves vegan, 78 percent female and 21 percent male, according to VRG.

So, what is veganism?

Most people think vegetarianism and veganism are one and the same; this is a common misconception.

A vegan “chooses to avoid using or consuming animal products. While vegetarians choose not to use flesh foods, vegans also avoid dairy and eggs, as well as fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics or chemical products tested on animals,” according to

Some Americans, myself included, would ask why and how vegans eat the way they do.

Based on a survey on more than eight thousand vegans, 42 percent became vegan after viewing a film, or educational video such as “Food, Inc” or “Forks over Knives” (both are available on Netflix), 69 percent became vegan on behalf of animals, and 11 percent for religious reasons.

Jenon Mocilac, CSUSB alumnus, was once vegan. She says, “I did it just to try it out.” Aside from her concern for the animals and for the planet, it was more of a challenge for herself that she wanted to try out.

Some celebrities are vegans too. Ellen Degeneres, comedian and television host, is vegan because she is against the mistreatment of animals.

Usher, singer, songwriter, and dancer, eats vegan for health benefits.

Alec Baldwin, actor, producer, and comedian, is inclined to eat vegan due to his sense of responsibility to the health of the planet.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty amazing to me, seeing as how Americans consume 1/6th of the total meat consumed worldwide, when we only make up 1/20th of the total population.

Holy cow! We love meat.

You cannot watch a single football game without commercials reminding you about bacon and all of it’s satisfying juiciness.

Although bacon is advertised what seems like far too much these days, the companies behind those commercials are still aware of the vegan eaters and they take note and offer vegan choices on their menus.

The pizza crust and marinara at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse is vegan, just order the pizza without cheese or butter.

Chipotle offers what they call Sofritas, which is organic tofu braised with pepper and spices.

Sofritas can be ordered in a bowl, burrito, taco, or salad, and then top it with any of their vegan toppings such as mixed fajita veggies, salsa, lettuce, and the good ol’ guacamole that Californians so willingly pay extra for.

Dairy Queen offers vegan smoothies in several flavors when you have a sweet tooth, as well as Baskin-Robbins who offer dairy-free and gelatin-free icees and sorbets.

If you’re not looking to go full vegan, know that you can feel guilt free as you snack on your Oreos, unfrosted Pop-Tarts or Ritz crackers, as these are all vegan products.

While carnivores and omnivores are abundant, noticeable strides are being made for those few but growing individuals who follow a path their own—they’re vegans and they’re here to stay.

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