Wanna be vegan? Lettuce tell you about it

Haley Cooper, Contributing Writer

The University Environmental Club has recently released a plant-based food guide in partnership with the app abillionVeg. The app, which aims to shift consumption away from animal-based products to create a more sustainable world, seeks to start a movement by creating a community of people who share their plant-based eats. These values fit perfectly with many of the goals of the Environmental Club, so it was a no-brainer for the two groups to collaborate. The Environmental Club used the hashtag #abucknellveg on the app to keep track of all of the reviews of the vegan dishes they ate.


The executive board of the Environmental Club was given funds from abillionVeg to try out different plant-based dishes from restaurants on-campus and off-campus. Although Lewisburg does not have many options, they did some digging to find out where they could get the best plant-based meals at restaurants. Some of the best places they found were Siam Restaurant and Bar, Ard’s Farm Restaurant, Gram’s Eatery, Lanie’s Bare Bowls, and Amami Kitchen and Espresso Bar.


On campus


On campus, the participants outlined the vegan options at the three dining locations for undergraduates. The Commons Cafe, Bison, and Bostwick Marketplace have all become much more inclusive to vegans in the past few years.


Bostwick recently has opened a V2 station, serving only vegan meals. They also have the sauté station and a peanut butter grinder, with many options to customize your meal to fit your diet.


The Commons has a chopped salad station with a weekly rotation of salad toppings and tofu as a protein. The Commons also recently added stuffed mushrooms as a vegan option. The Bison has made many switches to be more vegan-friendly, including Bison Fresh which has smoothies and even vegan chocolate pudding, as well as Bada Basil, which has vegan sauces to add to grain or pasta bowls.


University Plant-Based Guide


Once they tried a dish, the Environmental Club members helping with the guide took a picture of it and uploaded it to the app with the location of where it was from and the name of the dish. Then they rated it out of five stars and had the option to write a short blurb about the dish. All of these compiled together are what formed the Bucknell University Plant-Based Guide, which you can check out on the abillionVeg Facebook or on the Bucknell University Environmental Club Instagram, @bucknell_enviro.


Environmental Club President and vegan Abbie Winter ’19 was a major contributor to the guide and was shocked to see just how many vegan options are hidden in Lewisburg. “Restaurants like Caribbean Connection [now Roots and Culture] and Siam have always been on my radar since they have been known to serve many vegan options or are very flexible to make plant-based substitutions.” She reflects on her experience reviewing the eateries fondly, noting that “it’s restaurants like Ard’s Farm and Gram’s that caught me by surprise – recently they have made strides to be more accommodating for the plant-based crowd. If it weren’t for this guide, I would have never thought to go to an animal rearing farm like Ard’s to get the best Buffalo Cauliflower Bites I’ve ever had!” Winter said.


Winter mentioned that being a vegan isn’t a difficult challenge (once you get over the cheese cravings) since she has an array of eateries to choose from on and off-campus. She does choose to rely mostly on cooking her own meals, which she enjoys since “cooking vegan is way more satisfactory than cooking conventionally. It requires so much creativity and improvisation. That being said, there’s nothing better than trying something novel at a restaurant, so I’m so ecstatic to see the options expanding for the vegan community in this small borough!”


This plant-based guide sends a message about the club and our community as a whole, one that the Environmental Club has been trying to spread across campus. Transitions to more plant-based diets are a huge part of the work that Environmental Club is doing. Veganism not only helps the environment tremendously but is also shown to improve health.


The release of documentaries like “What the Health” and “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret” have prompted a vegan movement that is spreading across not only the United States, but also the world, and it is slowly coming to college campuses across the country.


The profound effects of veganism


There is no doubt that the climate is changing because of greenhouse gases, and it is having disastrous effects. Most people believe in global climate change but don’t know what to do about it. Many people think that cows producing methane gas are a huge factor in the increase of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, which leads to global warming. While it is true that this has a viable impact, the impact of animal agriculture on greenhouse gas emissions goes a lot further than that. The production of meat and the industry itself requires extensive amounts of energy. What people need to know is that by simply changing our diets to include more produce and less meat, we can have a significant impact on limiting the use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases.


Much more energy goes into the process of meat production than one may think. The burning of fossil fuels occurs when animals are raised, slaughtered, and transported – 51 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions worldwide are accounted for by livestock and their byproducts alone (Goodland, R., and Anhang, J., 2009). Someone who eats meat can have twice the environmental footprint than someone who is vegan.


A study in 2018 found, “comparing the water footprint of different foods … a soy burger has a water footprint of 158 liters, a beef burger has a water footprint of 2,350 liters, which is over 14 times as big.”


By limiting or removing animal products as much as possible, you can help the world by reducing humanity’s damaging impact on the environment and play your part in acting on this serious issue. That is the goal of the abillionVeg guide in collaboration with the Environmental Club, to spread awareness about the impacts our diets are having on the environment, and to show that it is not hard to find plant-based options, even in a small town like Lewisburg and at a school like ours. This guide is designed to make it that much easier to help people find these options, especially the tastiest ones.


We should also be doing our best to conserve water as it is a finite resource. The best way to do that is limiting meat consumption as much as possible. For those not able to go full vegan, a good idea is instituting a Meatless Monday where you do not consume meat for just one day out of the week. Even though you might not think it will make a difference, it will save the lives of animals, reduce water usage, and lower your carbon footprint.

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