Veganism: The Story of Cara Montes

by: Hannah Fogg

To those who may not know, vegans avoid eating any animal products. This includes milk, cheese, butter, any meat product, and even desserts such as ice cream or marshmallows. That may sound difficult to some, but student Cara Montes has had a vegan diet since high school. Reporter Hannah Fogg sits down with Cara to discuss the ups and downs of veganism as she demonstrates cooking a typical vegan meal. If you have been considering switching to veganism, but are curious as to what kind of meals to cook, Cara helps by explaining what can be substituted to make a delicious dish.

Cara Montes is a sophomore at the University of Nevada, Reno. However, many may not know that she is also vegan, and has been since 2014.

“I have been vegan for two and a half years, this August will be my third year being vegan,” says Cara.

She originally started as a vegetarian then went vegan for the health benefits, but then soon got involved with the ethical and environmental side of veganism. Documentaries helped influence Cara’s decision to commit to veganism, and she hasn’t looked back since.

“I got into the animal aspect of veganism by watching documentaries really and seeing all the stuff that happens to animals and realizing that they should be treated like equal living beings,” says Cara.

[Cowspiracy is Cara’s favorite documentary about veganism, and it still is to this day.]

During the early stages of Cara’s transition to veganism, her family wasn’t too supportive. However, she didn’t let their negative comments keep her from going vegan. She would fight with her brothers about her decision, but now they are more accepting than ever.

I had Cara show me the ropes of cooking a vegan meal. She uses typical ingredients that she has stocked in her fridge, while still being sure she sticks to her vegan ethics.

Cara walked me through two different meals: the first one being a loaded veggie stir fry, and the second being a burrito bowl similar to Chipotle.

(Note: the audio focuses on the stir fry while the photos focus on the burrito bowls)

Typically, Cara places tofu in her meal as an alternative to meat, but tonight she chooses to incorporate mushrooms, which is surprisingly an excellent source of protein.

These mushrooms will act as the meat substitute for the burrito bowls.
The mushrooms are added to the pan along with some water to make sure they are sauted properly.
The tomatoes are added later to the burrito bowls, but Cara chops them up now to make sure everything is prepared at the same time.
The mushrooms reach a boil and finally it’s time to assemble the rest of the ingredients to form a beautiful, vegan, burrito bowl.
Cara mixes all the ingredients together: mushrooms, rice, black beans, tomatoes, and avocado.
The finished product is delicious and vegan. Creating a vegan dish is more simple than it seems!

Cara’s transition to veganism has been one of the easiest things in her life, but having a good support system makes it that much easier for her, and anyone else hoping to make the transition.

“When you have friends who are vegan, it makes things a lot easier just to find places to eat together and make food together and stuff.”

Cara plans to be vegan for the rest of her life and will continue to cook delicious meals such as her veggie loaded stir fry and burrito bowls.

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