Duval’s dish on veganism


Junior, Makena Duval snacks on a plant-based lunch, which is both nutritious and easy to prepare.

Every day, more and more reasons to ditch meat and dairy products are accessible to teens online. With organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) able to reach larger audiences through social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, more  teens are changing their diets and lifestyles. Veganism, a diet and lifestyle that includes abstaining from meat and animal products, as well as from eggs, dairy and products tested on animals, has become more popular among teens.

For Junior Makena Duval, it is an important aspect of her life that has come to shape many of her dietary and moral decisions.

“I first became vegan after attending the Ann Arbor Art Fair this past summer,” said Duval. “There was a PETA booth handing out pamphlets describing it, and I became vegan the next day.”

For Duval, it was this constant feed of online information and a final push of real-life explanation of veganism that convinced her to make the lifestyle change.

“I had always found it interesting, and just looking at the pamphlet and seeing how the animals involved are treated made me really aware of why I should give veganism a try,” said Duval.

In terms of veganism at Mercy, Duval believes that people should give it a try. She also wishes that the Mercy cafeteria offered more vegan and vegetarian options for lunch and snacks to inspire other students to swap out food containing meat and animal products for more plant-based items.

“I recommend it to anyone, especially people our age,” said Duval. “It just feels good, like you’re doing something for the animals and for your health, even if it’s a small step.”

Aside from social media and informational sources like the one Duval received, her family played an important part in helping her pursue this new lifestyle.

“My mom has been vegetarian since she was 16, and I’ve seen her being vegan and vegetarian over time,” said Duval. “On top of that, a lot of social media has shown veganism, and it’s always been something I’ve been interested in, but nothing I’ve pushed myself toward until the Ann Arbor fair.”

Duval, a varsity ice hockey player, considers nutrition to be an important aspect of her life. While she has recently switched from veganism to vegetarianism, adding some animal products back into her diet for allergy and health concerns, she is still passionate about the message of veganism.

“I still try to use makeup and hair products that aren’t tested on animals,” said Duval. “The whole experience has just made me more aware of what goes into common products.”