Pete Gamlen

Oh, you're not a vegan? Why do you hate the planet so much?

Seriously, do you think you can keep on consuming meat and dairy and propping up the nefarious agro-industrial infrastructure required to produce your cheeseburgers forever, without dire consequences? Well, I hate to break it to you, but your eating habits are slowly but surely murdering the earth. Eventually, humans are going to have to go vegan—or perish in a world ravaged by the wasteful methods of bringing flank steak and kung pao chicken to your greedy maw. (Read George C. Wang's "Go Vegan, Save the Planet" on CNN.com for elaboration.)

Now, you may think that the preceding paragraph is unnecessarily harsh. I get it. You're simply an aspiring scholar trying to get an education that will forever cripple you with debt. Such ambition is admirable. But what you decide to toss down your gullet while you pursue your ambitions has ecological and political ramifications. This shit is too important to mutter "whatevs" while you stuff another pork rind in your face hole. Carnivore-shaming has its time and place, and that time and place is college.

If you consider yourself an environmentalist yet continue to chow down on beef, you're a bloody hypocrite. It's like complaining about pollution while smoking a cigarette.

Am I laying this on too thick? Am I coming off like an annoying evangelist? Perhaps. IDGAF. And you shouldn't, either—not if you're going vegan in college. Because people will give you grief. Strident rhetoric is your armor. It's your protection against other people's apathy, inertia, and sarcasm. Your words need to slice through other people's impediments and illogic like a hot knife through butter.

Studies show the manifold environmental benefits of eating a diet devoid of things that once had faces. Globalcitizen.com has an accessible post titled "9 Ways Veganism Is Helping the Planet" about how going vegan can help halt environmental degradation and make you healthier. Some of veganism's benefits include reducing energy consumption, cleansing soil, conserving water, and ameliorating world hunger. Sometimes philanthropy begins at your mouth.

If you're still on the fence, ask yourself this: Am I okay with the thought of being responsible for forcing millions of animals to live miserable lives or to have their existences brutally curtailed just to satisfy my taste buds? If you answered yes, please use your head as a punching bag for 24 hours straight while playing the Smiths' "Meat Is Murder" on repeat.

Maybe you need other motivators. How about this? Veganism, if practiced practically, can lead to overall greater health. A New York Times article from 2015, "Meat and Cancer: The W.H.O. Report and What You Need to Know," cites statistics showing that consumption of red and processed meats increases the chances of colorectal cancer. If you're worried about protein deficiencies, you can get protein from tofu, quinoa, lentils, beans, peanut butter, and many other foods. And if I have to tell you about the salubrious properties of fruits and vegetables, well... your parents did a lousy job.

So now that you're all gung-ho about veganism, where can you get some good food? Seattle is a vanguard city for vegan cuisine, and options abound. If you have money to spend or your parents are treating you, go to Cafe Flora, Plum Bistro, or Chaco Canyon Cafe. Their dishes display inventiveness, abundant flavor, and a richness that whispers of gustatory decadence, but without all that pesky slaughtering going on in the food's backstory.

If you're a typical impecunious student, you should check out the reasonably priced menus at In the Bowl, ChuMinh Tofu & Veggie Deli, Araya's, Wayward Vegan Cafe, HeartBeet Organic Superfoods Cafe, Silence-Heart-Nest, and the Highline Bar (also a solid music venue). There are many other options (go to happycow.net if you're traveling to other cities or want to find even more options in Seattle). Not all of these places are 100 percent vegan, but they do offer many such dishes. This food is delicious and you won't have a drop of animal blood on your hands.