Vegan Patriots share their lifestyle

Kenadi Browne and Mary Russell

“It makes me feel strong.” Sophomore Jana Merca describes her vegan diet this way.
“I saw a video about the benefits of veganism, and that peaked an interest, so I began researching, and I learned about how our food system actually works,” Merca said. “I am a big believer in loving your body enough to take care of it.”
Veganism is a lifestyle where a person does not consume any kind of animal products. This is often expressed in a vegan diet, but can also include avoiding other animal products in cosmetics and clothing.
There are many reasons to choose veganism, Merca says, including its environmental impacts and its health impacts. Merca and her friend, sophomore Grace Miner, say that the biggest reason they have chosen to be vegan is the latter.
“Many people told me that if I went vegan, I would be able to make healthier choices and overall feel a lot better,” Miner said. “Since then, I have been much happier and more energetic.”
Science teacher Mark Buchli also partakes in this lifestyle, saying that he was influenced to become vegan by his girlfriend. He says that he has done so because a plant based diet is healthier for both humans and the planet.
Buchli has been vegan for two years, and in those two years, his health has changed dramatically.
“Older people have a problem with cholesterol, and cholesterol leads to heart attacks and clogs the arteries,” Buchli said. “When I go to look at my test results, and I go back two years ago, I believe my cholesterol was around 237 and my triglycerides were 228; that is high.”
Ever since Buchli went vegan, both his cholesterol and triglycerides went down to a healthy and stable number. But even with the health benefits, living a vegan lifestyle is difficult, especially for Buchli who grew up on a farm eating meat.
“It’s all around you; you sit down to eat with your family and all of these people are eating meat, but I just keep coming back to looking back to what it was doing to my blood, and it’s not worth it,” Buchli said.
Merca also found herself in tough situations with her family when she first became vegan, but she explains how they have changed their views on her lifestyle.
“Being Filipino, we eat meat and rice very commonly, and my parents said veganism was against my culture,” Merca said. “But after I started getting into it, they recognized how passionate I was, and they became supportive. Whenever they see something that says ‘vegan’ on it, they will just pick it up for me.”
With all of the health benefits that the three experienced through veganism, Merca, Miner, and Buchli all encourage others to partake in this lifestyle.
“If you are feeling gross or weighed down or foggy all of the time, then being vegan could positively affect your life,” Miner said.
All three also said that they will continue to be vegan for a long time in hopes of a healthier, and possibly longer, life.
“I would rather live to be one hundred years old and eat plants then live to be seventy five and eat meat,” Buchli said.