In America, 6 percent of the population eats plant-based diets, up from just 1 percent in 2014. As Thanksgiving approaches, The Vanguard spoke with Angus Crafter and Thomas Sheft (both ’22), a strict vegan and a sworn carnivore, respectively, about their experiences with the turkey-centered holiday and the reasons behind their diets.
What is the better diet?
Thomas: As a vegan, you’re just limiting your options because you want to help the environment when actually tofu is more damaging to the planet than meat.
Thomas: I found an article.
Angus: By whom?
Thomas: The Independent. [“Tofu worse for the environment than meat, say farmers”.]
Angus: Which is subsidized by?
Thomas: I don’t know what that means, OK? Use smaller words. Tofu is processed; I don’t know what it’s made of, but it’s not tofu, and it takes energy to put it together. More than meat.
Angus: Veganism is better for the environment, it’s better for you, and the animal industry is also super cruel.
Thomas: Well, not everyone is rich; hamburgers are cheap. What if I don’t have the option to eat super expensive healthy foods? Meat is the cheapest quality protein.
Angus: Can’t you just go buy bread?
Thomas: Bread’s not protein. That’s not a healthy diet.
Why did you choose your respective diets?
Angus: I’ve been vegan for a year, and it was because of the environment and the health impact. I watched “Cowspiracy,” which inspired me. It’s a movie about how meat affects the environment—until recently, nobody acknowledged the effects of the meat industry on the environment, and the biggest environmentalist corporations pushed it aside. The ones that should be doing something didn’t.
Thomas: I’m not vegan because “Cowspiracy,” as the name implies, sounds like a fake conspiracy movie, but also because meat has always been my favorite food—it’s delicious, nutritious, and it’s how you’ll grow to be big and strong one day, Angus.
Angus: I’m fully grown.
Thomas: I couldn’t tell.
What does Thanksgiving dinner look like for you?
Thomas: My mom, my aunts, and my uncles prepare a nice variety: turkey, stuffing, some veggies. But I’m more of just a turkey and gravy guy. I eat a significant portion of turkey until I fall asleep. It’s amazing.
Angus: I never really did a Thanksgiving before moving to America from Australia, but now it’s fake meat or vegetables and stuffing. The same stuff—just no turkey.
Thomas: So not the same stuff.
Angus: The same stuff except for the fake meat.
Thomas: Yeah, it’s fake.
Thomas: I just wanted to emphasize that.
If you could eat synthetic meat that tasted the same as real meat, would you?
Thomas: No. My diet is a very simple but effective approach: I just want to eat stuff that’s natural, not like tofu. Meat is out there, and cows are just sitting there. And not just cows—chickens, turkeys— they’re just meant for eating, and it’s natural.
Angus: It’s not natural.
Thomas: How long have people been killing cows and eating them? Thousands of years.
Angus: The human teeth are made to grind vegetables.
Thomas: Who subsidized that?
Do you have a favorite fast-food restaurant?
Thomas: Subway. You can’t even call it fast food because it [has] such quality ingredients at reasonable prices, but it’s a chain.
Angus: Chipotle. Chipotle is the best.
Thomas: And what does Chipotle serve?
Angus: Beans and tofu.
Thomas: And meat! Lots of it. When I go to
Chipotle, I get two burritos with double meat each. Do you know how much meat that is? Enough for four people.
What would you say to someone who is considering being a vegan or a carnivore?
Thomas: That’s your choice. But if you want to be a vegan, you go do you because it means more meat for me.
Angus: I’d say do whatever you want; just consider the impacts of your choice on yourself and on the environment.
Thomas: So, you’re peer pressuring them?
Thomas: Eat vegetables or else. Am I incorrect?