Salt Lake Community College students who use the campus gym might know Adrianna Kallas. She always greets visitors with a smile from behind the check-in desk at the Lifetime Activities Center.
Kallas has been living as a vegan — eating no meat or any animal by-products — for two years now. For many students that sounds unfathomable, but for Kallas it’s not just a diet, it’s a lifestyle.
“It’s been 10 years now since I ate meat,” says Kallas, a second-year psychology student. “I’ll never go back [to eating meat]; I know too much.”
Many vegans like Kallas start out as vegetarians, and often find making that transition easier.
“I did my research on the meat side so I was very informed on that industry, but I wasn’t informed on the dairy side, so I decided to just be vegetarian because I missed cheese so much.”
After going back and forth between the two lifestyles, Kallas decided to research the dairy industry. What she found completely changed her perspective.
“Eating meat is more ethical than eating dairy, the dairy industry is just heartbreakingly terrible,” Kallas says.
Could anyone become a vegan? Kallas thinks so.
“This lifestyle is for anybody,” says Kallas. “I was raised [blue collar] on happy meals and Ramen noodles, especially coming from a Greek family, it’s meat, cheese and wine.
“It was very hard starting out,” adds Kallas. “The vegan community was so much smaller, and I was on my own.”
Over time, through research and label-reading, Kallas became a self-taught vegan. But the vegan lifestyle doesn’t come without regrets.
“The most negative thing about this lifestyle is to know you can save them all,” says Kallas. “Nobody’s perfect, there’s no such thing as a perfect vegan.”
Although SLCC catering is making moves to buy their produce from organic local farms, it’s a small step towards reversing the ways of a society that has lived one way for so long.
When Kallas was asked if bringing vegan food to SLCC would attract more students she answered, “Oh yeah, vegans stick together, when we hear of one place that has a vegan option, its spreads and grows from there.”