Plant-based on a budget

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Written by: Camila Fernandez/PR Representative

Non-vegans claim that being a vegan on a budget is a mission impossible. Much of this stereotype is due to people believing that particular vegan food items are far too expensive. However, we took the liberty to shop for our plant-based diet at Publix, which surprisingly has plenty of discounts for a vegan on a budget.

Being a college student is already expensive as it is, with tuition and fees, but the club has created a one-week vegan challenge to welcome newcomers to the team.

Please check out our one-week vegan challenge created by vice president, Sarah Bird. Click on One Week Challenge for a PDF. Don’t forget to send us your feedback on our Facebook page, Plant-Based Society at FIU.

Here are a couple of tips to avoid an expensive shopping spree by

  1. Avoid pre-chopped veggie options: Go for regular veggies, which will bulk up your diet and help keep you full. They are mostly more inexpensive.
  2. Avoid trendy diets: Nothing is fancy about veggies, legumes, nuts, seeds and fruits. Just stay focused on your plant-based diet.
  3. Go for Everyday Superfoods instead: These include affordable, plant-based foods, like teff, chickpeas, and butternut squash, so you don’t get bored of your everyday lettuce and broccoli.
  4. Love bulk: Instead of buying beans and legumes in a box or bag, look for them in the bulk section. Buy only what you need, which will save you money and keep your food items from going to waste.
  5. Go for generic condiments: Like, peanut butter, tahini, mustard and spices. If you can’t afford Whole Foods, shop at Wal-Mart where organic condiments and some produce are also offered.
  6. Be beverage smart: Avoid non-nutritional drinks and instead, buy more cleansing water and non-dairy milk. You can also add fruits, like lemons and lime to flavor your water.
  7. Learn to love beans, legumes, seeds and grains: These foods will keep you full and are not hard to prepare.
  8. Buy only what you need, but buy enough
  9. Visit farmers markets and farms whenever possible

Images by: Camila Fernandez


Plant-Based Society featured on FIU News!


In 2009, only 1 million people in the United States­–approximately 1 percent–reported being vegan or vegetarian. Today, that number has grown to 16 million, or around 5 percent. According to a 2011 Harris Interactive study, 33 percent of Americans eat less meat than they did seven years ago, even though they do not maintain vegan or vegetarian diets.

While the university offers a few vegetarian dining options, finding highly nutritious vegetarian and vegan meals can be challenging. This spring semester, freshman dietetics and nutrition major Stephanie Bird took it upon herself to change this by founding the Plant Based Society at FIU. …to read more, click here.

A little history of the FIU Plant-Based Society Club

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Written by: Camila Fernandez/PR Representative

Much has happened this spring at Florida International University, where the new Plant-Based Society Club has garnered more than 100 members.

The club began with a merge between the Plant-Based Society Club and the Vegan/Vegetarian Society. Since then, the club has hosted different events to promote their cause against eating or using animal products.

Plant-Based Society is led by club President, Stephanie Bird and Vice-President, Sarah Bird, two sisters, who are passionate about sustainability. Both traveled to Thailand, where Thai food, like other Asian cuisines, can easily be vegan. Vegan food include, rice, noodles, vegetables and no cheese, butter or milk.

PBS has worked with different campus organizations, like the FIU Garden Club, which hosts an organic farmer’s market every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. near the University’s Green Library.

The two clubs have raised funds together selling organic and vegan foods on campus, like peanut butter and chocolate Buckeye Balls.

“I first went vegan my freshman year at FIU, almost three years ago,” said Sarah Bird, a junior environmental engineering major.

Sarah said she met vegan students during a road trip to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania for an environmental leadership summit. She said they inspired to live a plant-based lifestyle, which allows her to make an impact on health and the environment.

According to Food Navigator USA, 36 percent of U.S. consumers either prefer milk alternative and use meat alternatives, which is substantially greater than those who claim they are vegan at 7 percent.

“I feel better than ever since going vegan. [The club] is here to support anyone interested in living a healthier, greener, and more compassionate lifestyle in whatever way we can,” Sarah said.

The clubs also worked to fight against developers and administration on campus, who are currently building athletic facilities at the University’s Nature Preserve at the Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

A petition was created to show the number of students who opposed the plan.

During the semester, PBS and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) 2, have worked closely together to promote veganism. PETA 2 is similar to PETA, which promotes animal rights campaigns, which include ending fur and leather use and meat and dairy consumption.

PETA 2 representative, Erica Melamed, helped host Humane Meat April Fools on April 1. Nearly 50 people participated at the tabling event, which was funded by PETA 2. Free vegan meat was offered, and a petition on getting more vegan options on campus brought attention.

The club and PETA 2 also hosted a Rainforest Tarp Demo event, where about 100 people participated. A red tarp was used to demonstrate how eating meat destroys a certain amount of rainforest every 1/10 of a second.

Food was funded by PETA 2, and several members from PBS brought homemade food.

“A lot of people were a bit confused on the statistics of the demo, but after some quick research, I was able to come up with a short monologue to tell people about how much they make sense,” said Melamed.

“Many of the members were actually very interested in learning how to go right out and speak to people and have the confidence to do it. This event was so much fun and a really great way to get people to notice us and come speak with us about the issue,” she said.

PBS and PETA 2 have also hosted several film screenings, like Cowspiracy and Vegucated. On April 26, both will host a Meat-Out day event, where they’ve used the hashtag #DaretobePlantBased. Speakers include James Wildman, Animal Rights Foundation of Florida humane educator and Elyssa Diehl, Humane League SouthFlorida Grassroots director.

With hopes to continue to grow and promote sustainability and plant-based diets, PBS will continue their progress as one of few vegan clubs on campus.

Fruits & Vegetables to Fight Cataracts


Here’s another reason to eat your fruits and veggies: You may reduce your risk of vision loss from cataracts.

Cataracts that cloud the lenses of the eye develop naturally with age, but a new study is one of the first to suggest that diet may play a greater role than genetics in their progression.

Researchers had about 1,000 pairs of female twins in Britain fill out detailed food questionnaires that tracked their nutrient intake. Their mean age was just over 60.

The study participants underwent digital imaging of the eye to measure the progression of cataracts. The researchers found that women who consumed diets rich in vitamin C and who ate about two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables a day had a 20 percent lower risk of cataracts than those who ate a less nutrient-rich diet.

Ten years later, the scientists followed up with 324 of the twin pairs, and found that those who had reported consuming more vitamin C in their diet — at least twice the recommended dietary allowance of 75 milligrams a day for women (the R.D.A. for adult men is 90 milligrams) — had a 33 percent lower risk of their cataracts progressing than those who get less vitamin C.

The researchers concluded that genetic factors account for about 35 percent of the difference in cataract progression, while environmental factors like diet account for 65 percent.

“We found no beneficial effect from supplements, only from the vitamin C in the diet,” said Dr. Christopher Hammond, a professor of ophthalmology at King’s College London and an author of the study,published in Ophthalmology. Foods high in vitamin C include oranges, cantaloupe, kiwi, broccoli and dark leafy greens.

”This probably means that it is not just vitamin C but everything about a healthy diet that is good for us and good for aging,” he added.

Written by Roni Caryn Rabin, courtesy of The New York Times

Vitamin C