I’m Nicole, a 20 year old college junior who has been fielding questions like ‘Where do you get your protein?’ and ‘Don’t you miss cheese?’ for nearly two years. My younger sister is a vegan for health reasons, and after reading Kris Carr’s Crazy, Sexy Diet, I was convinced that becoming a vegan would be a good way to become healthy and lose weight. Right after Christmas Day in 2011, I cut out meat, dairy, and eggs, and stocked my tiny dorm refrigerator with kale and celery. Being at college, a place notorious for its bad food options, was difficult, but I was able to stick with it until summer time, when things like ice cream and chocolate became too tempting for my sweet tooth. After that, I referred to myself as a strict vegetarian, mostly vegan. On a day to day basis I followed a vegan diet, but made exceptions (for dairy and eggs only, never meat) for dinner at friend’s homes, or special occasions; that is how I have been eating for the past year.
However, within the last 6 months, my educational interests have shifted towards sustainable foods and plant-based nutrition. I joined my campus’ Slow Food and Real Food Challenge groups, and checked out a number of books from my library. With my renewed interest in good, healthy food and nutrition, I decided to give raw a try while spending my summer on campus conducting research on the presence of lead in local community gardens.
Being a busy, pretty poor college kid, I can’t exactly afford a VitaMix and an Excalibur food dehydrator (although I am saving up for that one!), so I make do with my $10 food processor and Farberware blender. I can’t buy all organic, but I do what I can; that’s one of my strongest beliefs – doing what you can, where you are, and showing others what is doable with the resources available to them. My room may be small, my produce may be from Aldis, but I’d like to think that any money spent on raw is an investment in my health, and any time spent learning about and sharing information on healthy nutrition is an investment in the health of others, too.