Nicole Hadden is a member of the US Navy. She is also a vegan, and held her plant based diet for six months in \u201ccramped, dirty, and uncomfortable conditions\u201d, while deployed with 6,000 people on a naval aircraft carrier. Knowing how impossible the feat might seem, Hadden shared her story with VegNews to assist others who \u201cwant to continue- or begin- a plant-based lifestyle but feel they have a restricted lifestyle\u201d. Naturally, each person's experience will differ and not every deployment or field will have the same attitudes or food available. But here are a few experiences of those who have been, or are, vegan in the military. How to Survive as a Vegan When You Are in the Military Nutrition Hadden's job, like most in the industry, is demanding to say the least. So she knew attention to nutrition would be important, for both her job performance and well-being. Hadden stated: \u201cI didn\u2019t just want to survive \u2013 I wanted to thrive!\u201d. Naturally, meal options at basic training and onboard the ship were not created with vegans in mind. For MREs (Meal, Ready to Eat), animal protein was a feature and vegetables were sometimes covered in butter.\u00a0Fortunately, the salad bar often contained raw vegetables, legumes, fruit, nuts, peanut butter and bread, and various cereal such as oatmeal. To ensure she was meeting nutritional needs, and to have variety in her meals, Hadden brought aboard Textured Vegetable Protein, chickpea flour, and protein powder, as well as vitamins. Amazon also delivered items to the ship. For field exercises, YouTuber Yaku Yabai recommends vegan ramen for a quick snack. And for situations where noisy wrappers are an issue, foil-packaged peanut butter on crackers is a great alternative, according to Yabai. Cassie Lovell, who is also a vegan in the military spoke about the food she ate, including rice, vegetables, fruit, and pasta. She recommends purchasing your own food when possible. Though it can be challenging, Lovell stated,\u00a0\u201cIt\u2019s all a mindset\u201d. Training Hadden\u2019s position as an Aviation Technician with a Growler squadron requires\u00a0\u201clifting heavy equipment and running them up and down steep stairwells across a flight deck the length of a football field, and the planes are moving constantly\u201d. Throughout her training and deployment, Hadden ate plant based meals and reported maintained weight and energy levels, and an increase in strength and flexibility. Member of the Air National Guard and vegan\u00a0Liz Strassman\u00a0also shared her experience with training. According to Strassman, herself along with other vegans in her unit, all hold personal training scores of over 95. Additionally, they are all Physical Training Leaders and fitness mentors- "so people know our vegan diet doesn't hinder our athletic ability. (And it actually helps us!)". Difficulties YouTube user Victorious Vegan shared his views on using non-vegan products in the military, including leather boots, handling weapons and using hand grenades. He says that the "unethical" behavior is not dwelled upon in the moment, he only feels \u201cfocused and concentrated\u2026 you can\u2019t afford to make a mistake\u201d. His advice to others in similar situations is, \u201cThe best thing you can do is understand that\u2026 it\u2019s a part of the process\u2026 it doesn\u2019t make you a bad person\u201d. He added, \u201cIt\u2019s an experience that you\u2019re experiencing\u2026 but it\u2019s not you\u201d. Hadden used vegan website and app HappyCow to research restaurants at her port calls in Guam, Korea, and Singapore. On the matter, she stated: \u201cI\u2019ll never be certain that I was 100-percent perfect in my food selections at the ports, but I\u2019m confident I did the absolute best I could". She said that after time, she \u201cstarted to hear more admiration than criticism\u201d from her co-workers. On the experience, she considered it \u201ca success on all accounts\u201d. \u00a0 Advice Yabai responded to the frequently asked question: Why would you worry about being vegan in the military? His response? \u201cThe same reason you\u2019d worry about anything else that you care about\u201d. Strassman\u00a0explained, \u201cCompromising ethical beliefs to best perform your job shouldn\u2019t be an issue, when the solution is very simple\u201d. She also told LIVEKINDLY, \u201cBeing vegan is really the least I can do. Regardless of my profession\u201d. Being a vegan in the military clearly presents some unique challenges. But according to the people who are serving, it\u2019s completely worth it.