Vegan?
But you’re a student!
I didn’t think student loans covered the cost of all that vegan food.”

 

Let us stop you there, inquisitive friend.

What do you really mean by ‘vegan food’? If you’re referring to the chia seeds, spirulina and Booja Booja Organic Chocolate, well then fair enough. But those foods are as necessary for a healthy vegan diet as goose liver is for an omni diet. Although there’s a plethora of funky vegan meat alternatives (fishless fingers, tofu smoked bacon, Linda McCartney chorizo sausages) the staples of a vegan diet are a bargain compared to meat products. Last time I checked, a kilo of lentils cost £1.80 whereas a kilo of chicken breast cost £6.52.

Pound for pound they also have similar amounts of protein: 42g/£ for lentils and 47g/£ for chicken. No one said you have to eat organic veg either – Veganism and ‘organic’ aren’t one and the same, allowing you to thrive on a plant-based diet without the added cost! If you’re finding your student loan runs out worryingly quickly, cutting out the animal products could be the saviour you’ve been looking for.

Despite what many think, veganism isn’t merely a diet, but a lifestyle choice based on compassion. For us at least, this means living as environmentally friendly as possible – which might sound like a strange priority for students. But saving money on your electricity and gas bills is definitely beneficial in a world of student debt.

Environmental living gives you the perfect excuse to turn off the tumble dryer that keeps you awake and to turn down the heating so it’s not high enough for your flatmates to prance around in their underwear. Plus, with a reduced thermostat, you can be a friend to the planet while also helping your flat bond by snuggling up on the sofa to keep warm. Win-win.

Believe it or not, living sustainably can actually be both cheaper and more fun for students.

“Sounds like an inconvenience.”

Many people doubt that they could manage the transition without a solid support base of fellow vegan friends and housemates. Admittedly, living with other vegans is a delight and can make your introduction into a new way of living a lot easier. Need tips on how to cook that sweet potato? How does this tofu stuff work? What the heck is B12? Someone sitting on the couch can help.

But even if you don’t have the pleasure of living with other vegans and are becoming your home’s solo vegan rep, you need not worry about lack of support. Universities are known for their abundance of student societies, like – you guessed it – ‘VegSoc’ and there is an abundance of Facebook groups for you to delve into. If there’s ever a time to find like-minded people, it’s at university.

group hands and feet

“You’ll be home just in time for the Sunday roast!”

When you are vegan, going back to your omni family when term is over can then be a little daunting. Will mum buy the right foods? What will I eat if we go out for family meals?

The best thing you can do is communicate. Make it easy for your family to know what essentials should be on the weekly shopping list or just go out and get them yourself. Try cooking meals for the whole family to show them how easy and delicious plant-based meals can be.

While you relish the pride as your family praise your newly acquired skills of creating miraculous cheese-free mac ‘n’ cheese, you may nonetheless find yourself concerned that as you enjoy your break away from university, someone may have forgotten to clear out that food cupboard, worse still a fridge shelf in your university home. Imagine the thought of returning to dreaded curdled milk (the horror, the smell!), or, the dreaded rotting chicken.

“But that never happens!”you think –

Our flatmates cooked a beautiful Christmas dinner this December before we all parted ways – a chestnut and roast vegetable ‘cake’ for the vegans, and roast chicken for the omnis. Through the pain of fullness and bloating stomachs we vegans kept our forks in hands and the cake was devoured. The meat-eaters did not manage this small feat, and into the fridge the remaining chicken was put.

There did it remain until it was found – or rather smelt – when we returned back to university after some weeks. The remaining chicken was, to say the least, unappealing, and the cleaning that the fridge had to endure bit into valuable revision time.

On a similar note, students are all too frequently guilty of letting the bins overflow, finding excuses (too busy watching Netflix) to avoid putting the rubbish out. This is inevitable living with students, but a whole lot more tolerable without the smell of decaying meat wafting from the bins.

Want a cleaner smelling student kitchen? (Is that even possible?!) Quit the meat.

“Would you eat a pig if you were stranded on a desert island?”

If you’re considering going vegan, you might want to pre-plan your answer to this. It might sound annoying, but questions and propositions such as these by the ever-inquisitive omni may aid you in your degree. If your degree requires logical rigour and impressive persuasive skills, becoming Vegan will benefit your learning. Not only does meat and dairy make you tired, but veganism increases your argumentative skills ten-fold. You will receive so many questions regarding your beliefs and how you’d cope with amazing hypothetical scenarios that will literally never happen, that your skills of persuasive argument and rhetoric will soar.

“Do you still get cheesy chips on a night out though?”

And no, somehow, we cope without… but thanks for your concern :¬)