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Being Young and Plant-Strong : The College Greens

We want to introduce you to three wonderful plant-strong people! The College Greens, Tara, Jenna and Craig will be guest blogging for Engine 2! They are all in college. Tara is a junior at Bucknell University, currently majoring in Education and minoring in Creative Writing, and planning to do a nutrition program upon graduation. Jenna is a sophomore attending Duquesne University, and she is studying to become a Physician Assistant. Both Tara and Jenna are certified in Plant-Based Nutrition through Dr.Campbell’s eCornell program. Craig is a senior at Bucknell University. He is majoring in Chemistry and minoring in English, and is planning to go to medical school to become a pediatrician, where he hopes to incorporate lifestyle medicine in his practice.

Please give them a warm welcome! We are excited that they are advocating plant-strong nutrition and hope they can help to change the way younger people look at nutrition!

Being Young and Plant-Strong

Two weeks ago, we attended the Farms 2 Forks Immersion in Hudson, New York where some 400 people gathered to learn about plant-based nutrition from the experts. Of these 400 people, we were the only college students. The only people younger than us were a few children who had been dragged along by their parents. We, on the other hand, had been the ones to drag our parents.

As college students, we are in the years typically characterized by late night pizza and beer, an atmosphere where people live by the adage “eat it while you can”. So as you can imagine, eating a whole food, plant-based diet puts us in the extreme minority. Not only for what we eat, but also for the way we think about what we eat.

So why do we care? As Dr. Esselstyn put it, we are “still under warranty”, not seeing any negative health effects yet. But in our minds, why wait? Why wait until something is wrong and needs to be fixed? Why not prevent anything from going wrong in the first place?

We care about our health. And even now, we see benefits. Eating plant-strong has a positive effect on our mood, clarity of mind, workout recovery, and digestion, to name a few. And in general we just feel SO GOOD! Also, even though young people don’t usually see any negative health effects, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. In autopsies done on Vietnam and Korean war soldiers, even the soldiers who were in their late teens and early twenties had visible signs of atherosclerosis in their arteries.

And not only do we feel great now, we’re setting ourselves up for a healthy future! In firefighter terms, we’re preventing the fire instead of having to put it out later. We’re practicing healthy habits that we can carry with us into the future for ourselves and for our future families.

We also care about improving the health of others. Each of us hopes to incorporate plant-based nutrition into our future career, and we practice what we will preach. We want to be living role models for what we believe in so that we can positively influence others and improve public health.

And, last but definitely not least, THE FOOD IS DELICIOUS. We eat better than we ever have before in our lives! We don’t miss the pizza. We don’t miss the french fries. We crave mangoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa salad. We eat colorful meals that are bursting with flavor. When you’re eating the rainbow, it really does feel like you’ve found the pot of gold.

So yes, we’re young. But we’re plant-strong and proud of it! We’re excited to become more involved with the Engine 2 community, and we hope to be bringing lots of fun and helpful plant-based posts this year. -The College Greens

Sources: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health

 

About the author

The College Greens
The College Greens: Tara, Jenna, and Craig. Tara is a junior at Bucknell University, currently majoring in Education and minoring in Creative Writing, and planning to do a nutrition program upon graduation. Jenna is a sophomore attending Duquesne University, and she is studying to become a Physician Assistant. Both Tara and Jenna are certified in Plant-Based Nutrition through Dr.Campbell's eCornell program. Craig is a senior at Bucknell University. He is majoring in Chemistry and minoring in English, and is planning to go to medical school to become a pediatrician, where he hopes to incorporate lifestyle medicine in his practice.
  • Ginger

    Glad to hear your perspective.

  • Thomas

    This article is amazing! Thanks so much for this

  • http://www.facebook.com/robin.reese.581 Robin Reese

    Awesome! I wish my College son would listen!!!! We keep trying to set a good example, and of course when he is home he eats plant strong. That’s all we offer here!

  • Debbie

    Most cool! it would be good to hear how these kids do this on a college budget, and where they can get there food from. I know it can be done!

    • Laurel

      There is a great book called Eat Vegan on $4 a Day by Ellen Jaffe Jones, her recipes do call for oil but she also offers water as a substitute.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ellenjaffejones Ellen Jaffe Jones

        Thanks for that! See my comments posted above re: oil.

    • Tara Kemp

      Hi Debbie,
      We will be writing once a week, so hopefully we will be able to answer more of your questions in our later posts :) Our post next week is on being “Plant-Strong in the Dining Hall,” and in the future we will try to cover more generally the issue of eating well while lacking time and being on a budget.

  • plantstrongS

    So glad you’re here! We have two daughters in college. I’m looking forward to reading more about how to stay plant-strong in a school setting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alaina.l.davis Alaina L. Davis

    I’m a 24 year old college student at Western Nebraska Community College. I have not met another plant based person yet. Keep up the good work and welcome!

    • Tara Kemp

      Yes Alaina, our age puts us in the minority of the plant-strong community. But the more we spread the word, the more we can help the plant-strong movement grow and reach young and old alike! :) Fly your plant-strong flag with pride and be an example for others to follow!

    • Tara Kemp

      Yes, Alaina, our age does put us in the minority within the plant-based community. However, the more we spread the word, the more we can reach out to others and grow the plant-strong community! both young and old alike :) Fly your plant-strong flag with pride, and be an example for others to follow :)

  • sabra

    So glad to hear you are preventing any future health problems! Have fun with food!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kathleen.hornbecker Kathleen Weilbacher Hornbecker

    Congrats! You all are inspirations! Not only to the youths of this world but to all ages. I was one of those “oddballs” that started my children on plant based in the 80′s in there beginning years. Now they are in early 30′s and still plant bound. Even in college they shared with their friends a new way of living. You are the ambassadors of the world…..thank you!!! Keep up your dedication in seeing the benefits of taking care of yourselves and spreading the word, I look forward to reading your weekly column. Again….THANK YOU!!!!! You make us all proud.

  • JamesRandolph

    Very good to read – young people like yourselves represent the future of the plant-strong lifestyle and will hopefully be able to talk of being pioneers as this approach to eating increasingly enters the mainstream. Wish I had got started so young!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ellenjaffejones Ellen Jaffe Jones

    Thanks so much for the mention all! Some of my recipes were featured by Mary McDougall in a recent McDougall newsletter. Almost all are added oil-free, low fat, and as mentioned in a previous post, oil-optional or modifiable when rarely mentioned. I was hoping to reach the Walmart crowd…since that’s where so many shop for processed foods, and where I’ve spent the past 4 years tracking food prices.

  • Penny T.

    I hope you all are able to spread the word to your peers about being plant strong. I definitely do not get very far with my own children who are teens and college-aged but maybe because I, myself, started too late on going the whole way. I originally thought eating healthy was good enough… my definition of “eating healthy” turns out wasn’t good enough. Thanks for the post and look forward to more in the future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fran.rush1 Fran Rush

    Wish y’all lived here in Austin and could influence a few future teachers! I have tried, but it’s just an older person giving advise and that doesn’t work as much as peer instruction.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mikebdaniels Michael Daniels

    Glad to see this post! 21 Year Old here at Michigan State University. Its good to find others with this plant strong mindset. It can be hard at times to be the only one in the area who thinks this way. I look forward to reading what you guys post! I really wish I made the trip to the Farms 2 Forks immersion now :(. I know this is just a comment on a blog but perhaps I could help out in someway someday. I’m a media arts major so I do all that video/tech stuff :).

    • Tara Kemp

      Great to know, Michael!! Thanks for the offer!! If we need anything, we will let you know :)

  • Joel Francis

    Stay strong College Greens! I started plant-strong following Engine 2 seven months ago without knowing anybody else eating this way. Now, after others have seen the changes in me and following my suggestion to watch Forks Over Knives and buy/read “Engine 2″ by Rip there are at least 15 people eating this way and experiencing great results So, whether or not your college-age friends follow your example right now, over time people will come to you unexpectedly and be open to change. However, you may have to help revolutionize the health of some of your college friends’ older relatives and friends who feel a need to change before your young peers get plant-strong. Keep it up. Stay strong…plant-strong!

  • Cathy

    Way to go College Greens! I hope you inspire many other young adults to eat plant strong. I didn’t find out about this way of eating until I was 53. Starting early is so smart!!!!

  • Tim Weant

    I love seeing other college kids being strong :) I’m in the same boat as Michael about wishing to go to the Farms 2 Forks Immersion :/ I am a 19 year old Nutrition and Community Health Education major at Kent State University. It is so sad to me seeing everyone go out drinking every weekend..I wish I could get the message across to more people! I’m very glad you guys are doing this, I’ll be following closely!

    • http://www.facebook.com/jenna.gigliotti.75 Jenna Gigliotti

      Good to hear about another plant-strong college student, Tim!!! Your major sounds really cool, too. Keep spreading the plant-strong message and keep leading by example – hopefully we will be able to influence many students =) GO TEAM KALE!!

  • http://asilentcure.org/ Kate Murray

    I love the name you selected “College Greens” very creative!!

  • http://twitter.com/chris_donofrio Chris Donofrio

    This is awesome, guys. Glad to know I’m not alone in this.

  • About Engine

    The Engine 2 blog will feature tips, plant-strong success stories, how to make plant-strong work, answer your questions and feature special guest experts. Our goal is to provide you with the tools to help you become and stay plant-strong. Please be sure to jump in the conversation by leaving comments on each post!
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