Mariell Conwell, sophomore biology and pre-med major at Temple University, has been vegan for a year and a half. She has struggled with an unhealthy relationship with food for several years and her new journey of veganism has changed her life, both physically and mentally.
Conwell became a pescatarian at the beginning of high school and decided to go completely vegan her freshman year of college for her new year’s resolution. This is something she always thought about in the back of her mind and came to the decision for a multitude of reasons.
Conwell has several people in her life, including her older sister who she really looks up to and admires, that are vegan. These outside influences got her to start thinking about what she was putting in her body and how that was affecting her in her everyday life.
Conwell said, “I was looking at an egg one day and it really started to gross me out thinking that this is an animal I am about to eat.” This truly is what pushed her over the edge and why she has continued this lifestyle. Conwell said, “I started seeing meat and dairy products not as those products but as the animal.” She expressed how this all just didn’t seem right to her.
Conwell is also extremely passionate about the earth and saving the environment. She said, “Becoming vegan is one of the best things to reduce your carbon imprint.”
Amy Niebel is a registered nurse and has been around the vegan lifestyle for several years as her daughter deals with food allergies, which has led to her vegan lifestyle. She also expresses the significant impact this has on the environment. She said, “The way especially red meat is processed is extremely harmful to the environment and all companies that produce meat and dairy are creating a lot of environmental waste.”
Working as a waitress especially, it has always not been easy for Conwell to have a healthy relationship with food. She said, “I would eat something unhealthy, and then right away I would go into a weird binge for the next few days.” After a few months, Conwell realized this was not healthy for her and quickly got out of that routine.
She now feels she has a much better relationship with food and said, “I allowed myself to have good things without going into a binge.”
Now, the outcomes this past year Conwell has noticed are why she plans to be vegan for the rest of her life. She expresses that it is not just a physical change but a tremendous mental change as well.
She said that these changes do not happen right away. When Conwell first began this lifestyle she started to have less energy than before. But now, she expresses she has more energy than she has ever had. Her focus has become a lot better in both school and work.
She also said, “I used to get headaches very often at least once a week and now I barely get any.” After she used to eat a large meal, Conwell would quickly feel sick and nauseous, but now “I rarely do,” she said.
Animals Today said, “Veganism has long been seen as a peaceful, non-threatening way of following and promoting a non-violent lifestyle and has been gaining in popularity over the past few decades.”
Niebel has seen firsthand, the significant outcomes being vegan has on your body. When you are not eating meat you are avoiding a lot of added fats, preservatives, chemicals and hormones. She said, “It lowers cholesterol, lowers your risk of heart disease and you are consuming a lot more healthy nutrients.”
Conwell is also very passionate about ending the “stigma” of being vegan. She experiences first hand very often, people joking about her lifestyle. Conwell said, “Whenever I say that I am vegan, people joke about saying oh you are vegan you are better than everyone else.” She feels expressing this lifestyle, people think it comes off as being high strung in a way. Conwell knows that she is the opposite of that and doesn’t want people to let it stop them from choosing to go vegan.
She said, “if it didn’t have that stigma a lot more people would be comfortable being vegan and we would be fixing our planet and our bodies.”
She said the power celebrities who are vegan have with their words and influence. For example, celebrity actor Liam Hemsworth is vegan and said, “There are no negatives to eating like this. I feel nothing but positive, mentally and physically. I love it. I feel like it also has a kind of a domino effect on the rest of my life.”
Conwell adds, “If you want to be vegan I say go for it, but start slow. Don’t cut out everything you love right away.” This has been a decision that has helped her in more ways than she could have ever imagined and is grateful to be able to live this lifestyle.