Student commits to a vegan lifestyle

Student+commits+to+a+vegan+lifestyle

Madeline Walker

BY MADELINE WALKER (17)

High school sophomore Jackie Spieles offers a fresh perspective on the traditional American diet. Spieles practices a vegan lifestyle, in pursuit of better health and a clean conscience. A vegan diet does not allow the consumption of any product derived from animals, including both meat and dairy.

“To me being a vegan means making a conscious decision to avoid using animal products,” Spieles said.
There are many reasons someone would want to become a vegan. For many people it is a way to improve their health, but for some veganism has a deeper purpose. Many vegans are driven by empathy for mistreated animals found throughout the food industry.

Although this seems like an ethical thing to do, veganism seems to draw critics of all kinds.

“There are a lot of stereotypes about being a vegan,” Spieles said. “A lot of people think vegans aren’t strong, that we can’t handle animals being killed. But making a decision to go against the flow, and stand up for what you believe is right. I don’t think that’s something a weak person would do.”

Spieles is a vegan of eight months, and claims to have seen great benefits already.

“I feel very different physically,” Spieles said. “I have a lot of energy, and don’t have mood swings like I used to. I’ve also noticed that my immune system is much stronger, I haven’t been sick in months.”

In high school vegans seem to be few and far in between. Spieles claims to have found support on the diverse world of social media.

“I’m not really close friends with any vegans, which can be hard,” Spieles admitted. “Sometimes I wish I had a best buddy that I could go through this experience with. I have found kind of a community on social media, which can be helpful. There are a lot of girls on Instagram who blog about their experiences and it’s nice to relate to them.”

Through veganism Jackie Spieles says she has developed both strength and discipline. But perhaps most rewarding of all, she has the chance to empower and inspire others who want to become vegans.

“The most important thing is to educate yourself,” Spieles advised. “Because even if you only want to lose some weight, you won’t be able to stick with it unless you really research what veganism is about. It’s important to have the reasoning behind it.”