KORENICH: Veganism is a privilege

0.5 percent of the United States adult population follows a vegan diet, according to VeganBits.com. It is no secret that the vegan lifestyle is becoming more prevalent, and companies are adapting to cater to this crowd. However, there are many areas that are not improving their vegan options, and even more areas that can be considered food deserts.

There are people who wish to be vegans because they share the mindset, but are unable to do so because of their location, financial situation or a combination of both. Being a vegan is a privilege, and those who are able to do so should feel fortunate to have the ability.

There are different kinds of vegans. For those who have a lower income, it is still possible to be a vegan. There are many of junk foods that happen to be vegan that people don’t know about. Oreos are a great example of this. There are surprisingly no dairy products in Oreos, despite their creamy filling. Certain flavors of Doritos, including some cheesy flavors, are also vegan. This just goes to show that not all vegan food is healthy, despite the stereotype.

When a lot of people think of veganism, they think of places like Whole Foods, a grocery store that carries many organic and vegetarian/vegan substitutes. However, these substitutes are usually not cheap, and diet staples for vegans can really add up, especially because most grocery stores tend to price these items by weight.

Fruits and vegetables are important for maintaining a vegan diet, and luckily fresh produce can be found at various stores and markets for relatively cheap prices. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have access to these places.

Many people throughout the U.S. live in food desserts. This means that they do not have access to food, or more specifically, nutritional food. Living somewhere where the closest places to get nourishment are fast food restaurants and convenience stores would make it nearly impossible to live a vegan lifestyle.

This happens frequently, however, because many low income people live in food deserts. It is a vicious cycle because homes located in food deserts are usually cheaper, causing lower income families to purchase them.

They then are faced with the struggle of not having money or transportation, but still needing to provide food that is healthy for their families.

It can be difficult for some people to get other vegan products such as personal care or household items as well. It is becoming more commonplace for stores to carry a variety of products including ones that don’t include any animal derivatives, but this really depends on an individual’s location and living situation. Sometimes finding the vegan equivalent of something may only be possible online, and some people don’t have that luxury.

Veganism isn’t something everyone can do, whether because of financial reasons or lack of vegan options.  While there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing a vegan lifestyle, those who do should feel lucky to have the option. It would be sad for someone who strongly believes they should not be using animal products to have to do so anyway because of monetary issues. Unfortunately, this happens often.

Veganism is a lifestyle that may be easy to take for granted. If that is how an individual is used to living, they probably wouldn’t notice how it could be challenging for other people to follow this lifestyle. Perhaps companies should adapt and make vegan food available to more people because no one should have to eat something that they feel uncomfortable about. People shouldn’t have to go hungry because there aren’t any ethical options available.

Overall, being vegan is a privilege and it is important to be thankful to be lucky enough to live that lifestyle.