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Not just a diet, but a lifestyle Vega n i s m goes a b ove a n d b eyo n d m ere f o o d c h o i c e s DANIEL O’KEEFE At first thought, I saw veganism as being virtually the same as vegetarianism. Vegans are those people who don’t eat animals, right? Not quite. In order to gain an understanding and appreciation of veganism, what better way to learn than to go directly to the source? I went to visit a pair of vegans. After spending time with sisters, and fellow vegans, Alice and Gemma Stanton-Hagan, my eyes were opened as these women explained to me the differences between the various alternative diets and lifestyles. There are several diets that refrain from the consumption of animals. Pescaterianism is a diet that excludes meat, but allows fish. Vegetarians avoid meat as well as fish. Veganism aims to avoid the exploitation of animals altogether. Not only does this obviously eliminate the consumption of meat and fish, but vegans also refrain from eating eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, honey, or other animal products. This can be very tricky when trying to determine specific ingredients in a product. Many processed sugars are filtered with bone char. Anything with gelatin, which comes from animal skin and bone, isn’t allowed. This also rules out many candies, cookies, and jellies. Veganism, however, doesn’t just stop with food. Vegans also

try to avoid leather, wool, and activities that exploit animals, such as horseback riding or going to the zoo. About seven years ago, at age ten, the sisters adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. They realized where meat

[We considered] the intellectual reasons and factors, and realized veganism was the logical place to be. Alice Stanton-Hagan Katie Malo

came from, and didn’t like the process by which meat went from the farm to the plate. “[We considered] the intellectual reasons and factors, and realized veganism was the logical place to be,” said Alice. The sisters say that the lifestyle can be difficult. Parents often don’t realize that veganism can be a very healthy lifestyle, if a proper and balanced diet is maintained. “Many parents resist [the change to veganism] because of ignorance,” said Alice. “[Our mother] had trouble at first, but now she supports it,” added Gemma. Their mother, Anne-Marie,

said that some other parents thought she was making a mistake by allowing her girls to take on the vegetarian lifestyle, saying that it would stunt their growth. With Alice and Gemma both being nearly six-feet tall, however, AnneMarie is no longer concerned. Being on the road can be tricky, but Alice said that problems can be avoided by doing research ahead of time to find the vegan-friendly stops along the way. More difficult is going to friends’ houses, because the girls don’t want to offend their hosts by not eating the food they provide. But they do want to remain true to their decisions.

To go vegan is to make a conscious decision to go against the cultural norm and it requires a whole new mentality about food. The girls find it frustrating at times because of the North American culture. In all honesty, we typical omnivores do make it difficult. From an outsider’s perspective, becoming a vegan may seem like limiting what you can eat, but Gemma and Alice don’t feel deprived. They have very diverse diets, and there are plenty of options. Just like you or I may order pizza or make macaroni and cheese when hungry and short on time, vegans also have their turn-to

recipes, and choice favourites that they can always make and enjoy. “We eat better now than before,” said Alice of her updated diet. The sisters’ diets may appear to be lacking, but in actuality, they are quite complete. They eat far better than most people. As a precaution, however, the sisters take a vitamin B-12 supplement, since the main sources of B-12 in human diets come from meat, milk, and eggs. The sisters are also quite aware of how to stay healthy. They ensure that their diets include complete proteins. Complete proteins are proteins that contain all the essential amino acids. To prepare a meal with complete proteins, simply serve a meat alternative with a grain product. Possibly the best example is beans and rice. When I spent time with Alice and Gemma, they were busy preparing dinner. They treated me to vegan sausage with kale and quinoa. Vegan sausage. An oxymoron? Perhaps. Delicious? You bet. Kale is a type of cabbage, a little bit hardier, and comes in green and purple variations. Quinoa is grown for its edible seeds, and is related to beets and spinach. The meal was simple to make, delicious to eat, and healthy for the body. While veganism can make things somewhat difficult, it is easy to adapt and take on this very healthy and rewarding lifestyle. With a little perseverance and research, nearly anyone can avoid exploiting animals while retaining a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle.

Gryphons sweep national cross country titles for fourth straight year <


that Brunsting, still feeling fresh, made his big move. “I was looking around at the other guys in the pack and at my teammates and Kyle and Allan both looked pretty good. I felt terrific but it looked like some of the other guys were labouring a little bit,” said Brunsting. “They looked like they were more strained than I felt like I was. That was the reason why I made the move (ahead) when I did. At that time, it felt like the right thing to do.” Scott-Thomas praised the fourth-year runner’s awareness of the right time to make his break. “[Brunsting’s] control is fantastic and sometimes in cross-country, you’ve got to feel when the other guys are vulnerable and when you’re not,” said Scott-Thomas. “When he went, it was a definitive move, and BAM! He was gone. The only other guy who was close to reacting to it was Kyle.” Brett, the Gryphon OUA champion from two weeks ago, finished fifth and fellow teammates Nigel Wray and John Parrott finished 11th and 12th, respectively. The Gryphon women cruised to their fifth consecutive national title,

final two qualifying runners finished well back. It was the Gryphon depth that secured the title. “The thing about cross-country is that even though it’s always important to have those low sticks (leading places), the reality is that depth wins,” said Scott-Thomas. “Fifth, sixth and seventh runners decide titles and medal spots all the time. “With around 140 women racing, someone way back in the sixties and seventies places is really determining the title – the swing position there is huge,” he continued. “Individual battles (at the front) are great, but the realities are that these races are often won based on your depth.” As a whole, the Gryphon cross John Goodfellow No fewer than five Gryphons dominated the lead pack as the team went on to win their fifth consecutive country program has now taken 15 national titles, eclipsing the mark of national title. 13 that they previously shared with doing so in record form by winning from injury to win the silver medal body was telling her and said ‘I’ve the University of Victoria. On the by the largest margin of victory on Saturday, trailing only Toronto’s got to get back in this and I’ve got to men’s side, Brunsting, Boorsma and in CIS history. The women’s gold Megan Brown, who won for the be tough.’ And she did. She fought Brett were all named first team Allmedal-winning score of 57 points second consecutive year. her way back to second. It was a very Canadians, while Wray and Parrott made the second team. Carson and was 87 points fewer than second“She’s a tough kid and it’s easy to good race for her.” place U of T. say, but she’s a game day performer,” Carson was joined by a slew Cliff were female first team AllThe women were sparked by the said Scott-Thomas of Carson. of elite Gryphons as Rachel Cliff, Canadians while Lalonde, who return of Lindsay Carson, one of the “Halfway through the race, she got Genevieve Lalonde, Courtney was also named CIS Rookie of the top female runners in the country. rolled up by a pack of really good Laurie and Lindsay Furtado all year, was named to the second team. Carson was held out of the OUA women and she ended up on the finished among the top 25 female Scott-Thomas was named men’s and championships due to strained back end of that pack. runners. Despite the fact that U of T women’s Coach of the year for the muscles in her foot, but fought back “But her brain overrode what her had three runners in the top six, their fourth consecutive season.

November 19th 2009  

The Ontarion`s 10th issue.

November 19th 2009  

The Ontarion`s 10th issue.