I love eating plant-based, and I’ve never found anything that made me feel so good in so many ways. I feel healthy, and I get to help the environment and animals—wins all around! Navy or not, I was committed to keeping this crucial element of my well-being.
My first dietary hurdle was to negotiate the food lines in basic training. The mess hall’s main line offered hot dishes—animal protein, carbohydrate, and a hot vegetable that wasn’t vegan. So I spent the eight weeks living off of the salad bar. For breakfast, I had oatmeal with peanut butter and fruit. For lunch and dinner, I had a raw vegetable salad with balsamic vinaigrette and fruit. Pretty boring, but hey, even the omnivores were bored. For eight weeks we all suffered together, both in training and in the mess hall, but we made it through. I came out of basic training still a vegan.
I originally kept my plant-based lifestyle from my peers because I wasn’t jazzed about spending the next four years hearing, “You’re vegan? That’s weird.” “I could never live without steak!” or “You’re not getting enough nutrients.” But people figured it out by wat …
Nicole Hadden is a Naval Aviation Technician whose job involves helping maintain the electronics for an EA-18 Growler Electronic Attack Squadron. She’s also a committed vegan of over six years and volunteers as a mentor for vegans through the Vegan Outreach organization.