I am without a doubt a burger junkie. You name a joint in Erie, and I’ve had a burger there. A turkey burger with a handful of pickles and tomatoes from Sara’s should be renamed the Jake Slease special because I’ve ordered so many. The phone number to the nearest Five Guys is programmed in my phone. Yeah, I’m that kind of junkie.

As I get older – and hopefully wiser – I am actively trying to live a healthier lifestyle. I guess getting double bacon on anything isn’t exactly the best thing for you? This transition to a healthier lifestyle was cemented by a documentary I watched.

“Forks Over Knives” is a documentary delving into the research of two men: physician Caldwell Esselstyn and professor of nutritional biochemistry T. Colin Campbell. Both men, while traveling down different paths, came to the same conclusion: a reduction of animal-based proteins can reduce and combat a number of diseases, from heart disease to cancer. Using a regimented diet, they proved that what you eat could be the best medicine.

Both men advocated a vegan diet, concentrated in fruits, vegetables and whole foods. As a college student, this is the hard part. How does someone on a small budget afford fresh fruit and vegetables and whole foods when fast food and deep-fried anything is so cheap and easy? These foods are more expensive and harder to come by on a fast-paced college campus.

This led me to our cafeteria at Gannon. One thing I never noticed before was the food labeling at each station in the café.  There are new markings telling you if an option is vegan friendly. There is a healthy checkmark next to healthier alternative choices for lunch and dinner. Maybe these small nudges will help out some cafeteria-goers. It reassured me that a new diet could be possible.

Overall, the film got me thinking and motivated to try to change what I eat. While it’s overwhelmingly difficult to eliminate all of the animal proteins from our diets, a more conscious approach to limiting them could help you live a long, healthy life.