Chopping carrots, peeling onions and mixing in some concentrated garlic and pasta, junior Trace Robertson prepared a meal that is unique to his lifestyle as a vegan, a change he made to his life not long ago.
“Certain information led me to believe that things were not as they seemed,” Trace said. “I started questioning society based on what I learned.”
In the two years since he first considered changing his lifestyle, Trace has reevaluated what choices he made regarding his health. Becoming a vegan was among the biggest changes. Along with that, he has made new decisions on how he views and interacts with the world.
“I’d have to say I realized that life really has value no matter what way you look at it and that really shapes my mentality…makes me work selflessly,” Trace said. “[Becoming vegan] and that mentality that all creatures have the same right to live shapes everything else.”
That belief is key in his decision. A stricter form of vegetarianism, veganism is a lifestyle in which a person avoids consuming or purchasing any animal by-products, including leather bags. To re-design his diet to fit a vegan lifestyle, Trace had to put in the effort to create a healthier life for himself, avoiding the typical stereotype of vegans. As Trace put it, “looking like a Holocaust victim.”
“A negative connotation with vegan people is that they don’t get all of their nutrients and they’re all skinny,” Trace said. “But ones that don’t do the research on it will be.”
That research has enabled him to maintain his health by not missing out on all of the nutrients and vitamins his body needs, increasing his own well-being.
“I was making as healthy choices as I could with the information I had at the time,” he said. “The problem I had was limited information and misinformation and perhaps even ignorance.
Trace’s research led him to find approximately 150 various recipes, all of which coincide with a vegan lifestyle and his own desire to be in the best possible health. To do so, Trace has been thinking deeper into the subject than he believes others do, making changes that he says some people won’t because they think that it’s too hard.
“They don’t want to change the current way they’re living their lives,” Trace said. “People just don’t want to change their lifestyles because it’s too difficult because they don’t want to do the research. As of now, people have a sense of invincibility because their systems are new but eventually it won’t be able to work as efficiently and it will fail. Maybe then they will reevaluate things but by that point it might be too late.”
The changes also extended to his hobbies and how he did his work. Instead of playing as many video games or watching television, he “changed it up a little bit” and did more reading, research, learning and helping others out, as well as improving how he did his work.
“I put more effort into my work,” he said. “My work ethic really didn’t change, I just put more effort into it.”
Originally, people doubted Robertson’s ability to successfully make the change to veganism, but that soon changed.
“They thought it was odd and that it was funny I had even made the choice and that I wouldn’t be able to last [as a vegan],” Trace said. “They didn’t necessarily support it but when I didn’t go back on it and now that I’m obviously successful, people are like, ‘Oh, he knows what he is doing. He looks healthy.’”
His mom, Susan Robertson, was one person who at was at first unsure of him becoming vegan.
“Originally I was concerned because I wanted to make sure he was getting nutrition because he’s still growing but he did research and I did some reading myself and…I think he’s being pretty responsible,” Susan said.
Now, Susan says she completely supports the changes he has made and has even been affected by them at home. According to Trace, his personal changes have influenced how his family thinks about their own health.
“My family may never become vegan but they have definitely reevaluated their health choices,” Trace said.
His mom agrees.
“We have definitely changed our eating habits at home,” she said. “We have started eating leaner meats and…more fruits and vegetables. We haven’t gone to the extreme he has though.”
Overall, Trace says that he feels the best he ever has, will never revert back to his old lifestyle and doesn’t feel as if he’s missing out on what he used to eat. Instead, all he has to say about it is: “I like to eat my veggies.”