Community / Lifestyle

New student club encourages a plant-based lifestyle

During the pandemic, many people decided to reconfigure their lifestyles in order to lead a healthier daily routine. A major piece of a healthy lifestyle is maintaining a balanced and nutritional diet. This takes shape in many different forms, with one of the most popular diets being vegan and vegetarian diets. Four members of the Class of 2024 — Madeleine Reinhardt, Poppy Sager, Emma Houston, and Lea Leibisch — have started a new Plant-Based Lifestyle (PBL) Club to educate the Dana Hall community on what a plant-based lifestyle embodies.  

The PBL Club meets every other Thursday during the second lunch with a focus on educating the community on what following a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle truly means beyond just a diet. 

The heads of the PBL Club emphasize that they welcome everyone to come to join, whether you are plant-based or not. Poppy shared, “I don’t really enjoy being pushed to do something, and that’s definitely not what we are trying to achieve with our club. We don’t want anyone to feel forced to become vegan or vegetarian. We just want to show people that there are other options out there.”   

Emma noted that “there is a lot of stigma around being vegan and vegetarian, and the lifestyle piece is often just washed over.”

To remedy that, the PBL Club is inviting people to look into the benefits to the lifestyle and the environmental impacts. Madeleine said that the club is meant to “give people the subtle option to try out being plant-based, or even just hope that they consider it. If we can spread our message to the community it could help Dana Hall’s carbon footprint or even the world’s carbon footprint.”

According to Madeline, animal-based foods generally have a higher carbon footprint compared to plant-based foods because of agricultural emission produced in the processing of many animal-based products. The issue of agricultural emissions is especially prominent in cows as they are among the top producers of greenhouse gases worldwide. Cows are known as ruminants because of their complex digestive systems that chew and re-chew their food as it digests. The unique digestive system in combination with corn and soy becoming more common as cow feed results in increased belching. The belch of a cow is responsible for a significant portion of methane gasses released into the atmosphere. Therefore, following a vegan or vegetarian diet can result in a reduction in your carbon footprint. 

While the club is meant to educate the community, it is not meant to guilt-trip anyone into becoming plant-based. Emma specified that club meetings “are not forcing anyone to become vegan or vegetarian, but rather painting a full picture so people can make decisions for themselves.” Lea reiterated this, mentioning that “we want to encourage those interested in trying a plant-based lifestyle by providing recipe ideas and welcoming everyone to take a look at another option with simple recipes and tips to start out with.” 

One way that the club has been making themselves accessible to various audiences is through collaborations. In their most recent collaboration with the Baking Club, they welcomed the Dana Hall community to participate in making vegan chocolate cupcakes with ganache. 

The heads of the PBL Club hoped that the collaboration would allow them to branch out to a different audience that might not be as eager to approach a plant-based lifestyle.

Poppy added that “I hope the collaboration can show people that you can still eat sweet treats and desserts with a plant-based diet. Veganism shouldn’t be associated with just vegetables because there are so many options that are plant-based and delicious.” 

Emma emphasized that plant-based doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. “Take it day by day, and the option to go back is always there. Live by the motto of continuing to try new things.”

Image source: Getty Images.

Comments are closed.