Photo courtesy of Haley Cidarholm |  Homemade vegan chickpea salad sandwich.

Being a vegan for five years now, Haley Cedarholm wanted to incorporate her passion for veganism into her Honors project by creating a cookbook. She was interested in digging deeper into the difficulties college students who follow a vegan lifestyle come across.

The cookbook is designed for people who are already vegan or are heavily leaning towards adapting to a vegan lifestyle. It contains six recipes that Cedarholm has made and taste-tested prior to solidifying which recipes would be in the book. It also has a forward containing need-to-know nutrition information.

“My project is more of a resource for [people] who are already vegan or interested in becoming vegan and how you do it on a lower budget with less time,” Cedarholm said.

After getting her proposal approved, Cedarholm assembled a focus group. In her focus group she lead discussions about where people get food inspiration from, the most common meals they cook and how to go out to eat as a vegan.

From her focus group, that was made up of all vegans, she was able to get an idea of what recipes she may want to include in her cookbook. Recipes also came from Cedarholm’s experience and preferences of foods that she enjoys. She proceeded to test making these recipes herself and from there selected the ones that came out the best.

The discussions also lead to discussing concerns about receiving information from traditional nutrition sources.

“A lot of people in my focus group talked about not trusting traditional sources of nutrition information such as the FDA and the food pyramid,” Cedarholm said. “Because these sources included animal products in their daily foods. They feel these sources are bias.”

With members of her focus group, Cedarholm held a taste test to confirm which recipes she definitely wanted to include. Two out of six of the recipes chosen were for blueberry muffins and chickpea salad.

An obstacle that Cedarholm had to overcome when working on her project was finding a faculty member to sponsor her project, a requirement for all honors projects. Cedarholm wanted to make sure she found a faculty member who fully understood her passion for the project and had background with knowledge about nutrition. She fortunately found Dr. Geoffrey Greene, nutrition and food sciences professor, who has been a great help with her project.

Cedarholm was raised vegetarian. At the age of 17 she choose to no longer consume any animal products and adapt to a vegan lifestyle.

“I started to realize that even though I wasn’t eating meat I was still harming animals,” Cedarholm said. “It was a lot easier than I thought it would be and I just never went back.”

Overall, Cedarholm feels really confident about the content and the aesthetics of her cookbook and is looking forward to presenting her hard work.  

The Honors Project Conference will be held on Wednesday, May 2 in the Memorial Union Ballroom. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. there will poster presentations and from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. there will be an awards ceremony.