Tribune Tries It: Veganism

For the uninitiated, to be vegan is to consume (or use) no animal products at all. No meat, dairy, or eggs. It may seem outlandish in our society centered around animal agriculture and McDonald’s. Since 2012, the interest in vegan free searches quadrupled on Google. For 2018, going vegan is considered to be the largest trend when it comes to food.

As someone who has been vegan for over a year, I can attest to the growing trend of this “extreme” diet. To answer some brief FAQs: Yes, I get enough protein. No, I don’t want to fight you if you eat meat. And, yes, I have done extensive research on veganism and I know my facts. So with that, the Talawanda Tribune decided that we should all try a day of veganism, and, well, they tried.

Many of us participated in a lunch period of all-vegan options, which were all very highly praised by the journalism class: Oreos, potatoes, and Waxy’s vegan chili that had everyone quite excited. While not everyone was purely vegan for the day, the things we had at lunch were certainly approved by the Talawanda Tribune. Though it may just have been us, veganism has taken the world by storm over the last several years

And, in fact, one of the top tips about going vegan is to take it slow. The first crucial step is to recognize the reasons why you want to make such a lifestyle change. Is it for health? The environment? Animal treatment? Is it a combination of the three? By determining the factors that you’re most concerned in, it can be easier to move forward with that transition.

Personally, I initially stopped eating meat during the summer before eighth grade, out of realization that I didn’t, in fact, want to be consuming other animals who didn’t want to die. After another year and quite a bit of research and observance, I chose to take the leap to go all the way and cut out animal products entirely, learning that dairy companies aren’t any more merciful than the meat industry is. I realized that the distinction between a cow and a dog or a rabbit and a chicken shouldn’t be as prevalent as it is. The things that we do to farm animals are things that would never be done to household pets or, dare I say, an endangered species. What makes that difference so stark? Speciesism, mainly, and the assumption that humans and certain other animals are inherently superior to others.

If you haven’t stopped reading yet, I applaud you. You’re doing better than most of my relatives at family gatherings.

So what can vegans eat? I could give all of my personal favorite meals and snacks, but we’d be here for a while just talking about toast and potatoes. Instead, take some tips from Talawanda alum Mary Marshall (nee Rucker), an experienced, six-year vegan who says that, yes, there are vegan versions of pretty much everything. “I like to eat from a variety of cuisines and styles,” Marshall said. “Tacos, pasta, falafel, chili, stir-fry, pizza, et cetera. There are tons of great vegan replacements for meat, cheese, dairy, butter, et cetera, so I really enjoy taking old recipes and making them vegan.”

Like I mentioned, people go vegan for various different reasons. Some world cultures and religions just aren’t on board with eating animals or animal products. Veganism has been proven to have a multitude of health benefits as well, including lowering risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cholesterol levels. Some people may come across a page online, or a documentary such as “Earthlings” or “Cowspiracy” that open their eyes to the ethical and environmental issues that are present in the meat and dairy industries.

“I did some of my own research, and realized that pigs, cows, and chickens are no different than my own pet dog and I certainly wouldn’t eat him,” Marshall said. “I also learned about the environmental benefits to eating vegan, and that has been a driving reason why I went vegan.”

Globally, the trend of veganism had increased dramatically in the past years, and is expected to only go up from here. For instance, vegan alternatives to dairy are now taking up 40% of all dairy products, according to a LiveKindly article, which also says that almost 50% of Americans are in support of banning slaughterhouses. An article produced by The Guardian also attests to the growing trend, reporting that 20% of people under the age of 35 have tried a vegan diet.

Overall, animal agriculture is known to use more water, take up more space, and destroy more forested land than any other industry, being part of the large reasons why environmentalists and scientists agree that veganism is being adopted by impact-conscious people.

If any of this information has intrigued you, or if you’re just interested in trying out any vegan recipes, check out the following:

High-Key Great Vegan Brownies (via Chocolate Covered Katie)


  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup spelt or all-purpose flour, or packed 3/4 cup Bob’s gf flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or packed 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup unrefined sugar OR stevia baking blend
  • loosely packed 2 tbsp cornstarch (flax meal also works)
  • 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips, optional


Whisk together the first three ingredients, then set aside. If using flax, whisk it in as well. Preheat oven to 330F. Grease a nine by 13  pan or line with parchment paper, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine all remaining ingredients. Pour wet into dry, stir to combine, and pour into prepared pan. Smooth down. Bake 16 minutes. The brownies will look a little underdone when they come out, but that’s okay! Refrigerate – they start to firm up after a few hours and are nice and cut-able by the next day, and the taste is much better the next day as well. Store in the refrigerator for up to four days, or freeze.


Oven-Fry Potatoes


  • 3-4 medium potatoes (of any variety)
  • Salt (as desired)
  • Paprika (as desired)
  • Tumeric (as desired)
  • Any other spices you like (garlic, cumin, cayenne, etc)
  • Canola or olive oil


Preheat oven to 420 degrees F. Place tin foil over a baking sheet (ideally one with sides) and spread a thin layer of oil on it. Slice the potatoes into ninths and put them on the foil, so that they aren’t touching. Use a baking brush to spread a bit more oil on the potatoes and add salt and spices as desired. Place in oven for fifteen minutes at a time, flipping potatoes around periodically. Repeat for about forty-five minutes until done.

Waxy’s One Pot Spicy Vegan Chili


  • 1 can black beans (do not drain)
  • 1 can corn (drained)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 yellow onion finely chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 1 yellow squash chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (any color) chopped
  • 1 jalapeño minced with seeds for added heat
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 5 or so tbsp olive oil

Optional Toppings

Sliced avocado, Fresh cilantro and Frito corn chips (do it!)


Heat 5 or so tbsp olive oil in a pot on medium to medium-high heat.  Add carrots and when they begin to soften add chopped bell peppers. When bell peppers begin to soften add chopped yellow squash.  Next add minced jalapeño and let cook for a minute or so. Next add onion. Stir the veg occasionally and be careful not to burn. Once all veg is softened add garlic and stir for a minute or two.  Add beans (with liquid) and corn (no liquid). Stir. Add tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes. Add all spices and stir. Cover and reduce heat to med-low and cook for 45 minutes to an hour checking and stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat if needed.

Ladle into a bowl and add some avocado, cilantro and Fritos for a great vegan meal on a cold day!

Put leftovers in a sealed container and refrigerate for up to four days.  Microwave for three to four minutes in a microwave safe bowl (cover with paper towel to avoid a mess).

NOTE:  It tastes even better on day three!!!!

You can also cook the whole shebang in a slow cooker.  Soften veg in skillet first and then add it along with all ingredients to slow cooker and cook on low for at least six hours.

Side Note:  OREOS ARE VEGAN!!!!!