I owe my transition to a vegan diet to two college professors I had at Notre Dame: Matthew Doppke and Megan Halteman-Zwart. 

Before I took Prof. Doppke’s “Food Fights” seminar my sophomore year, I barely ate vegetables and hadn’t critically thought about the implications of what I ate. I rolled my eyes when we were assigned a chapter centered about vegans, but before Thanksgiving that fall, I called my mom to ask her to buy a Tofurky. Prof. Doppke facilitated this class in such an incredible way—we learned about the origins of our industrialized animal agriculture and were able to truly examine our roles in larger food systems, all in the context of greater understanding (and without any sort of judgment). 

Prof. Halteman-Zwart taught a philosophy class I took and encouraged us to explore the ethics of our food choices. One of her assigned readings struck such a chord with me and is still printed out on my bookshelf —“Compassionate Eating as Care of Creation.” To say that both professors dramatically changed my perspectives and behaviors for the better is an understatement. 

This fall will be 14 years since I became vegan, and in that time, I’ve been able to share vegan food with friends and family, visit farmed animal sanctuaries, and become a person more connected with the sentient animals I had overlooked for a long time. My husband Tom became vegan when we got married in 2013, and we love to see how far options have come (thank you Beyond, Impossible, Violife, and Miyoko’s), although there is still a lot of work to come in moving things along. We moved back to South Bend two years ago (most recently to the Near Northwest Neighborhood) and look forward to sharing vegan beers and food with fellow Michiana vegans as soon as we can!