Sarah Skaf takes a couple more minutes to order her lunch than most people in AUD. She has to pay attention to make sure that nothing animal-based is in her salad or any dairy based sauce is on her pasta.

It wasn’t until 6 months ago, that Sarah’s friends noticed the great amount of detail that went into every meal she ordered. Curious by her actions, they started observing her and noticed that she had more energy, seemed happier and looked healthier even though she wasn’t consuming any poultry, meat or junk food.

“I’ve become vegan!” Sarah explained when her friends asked.

Sarah is well known amongst all her friends to be an animal lover and was finally taking part in something that she hopes will change people’s perspective on a cause that is very dear to her heart.

There has been an uprising trend in health conscious diets and lifestyle changeovers in Dubai, causing many to abandon their old routines and embrace new ones.

One of the trends is becoming vegan. Veganism is commonly misunderstood and mistakenly thought of to be Vegetarianism, when they are both on complete ends of the spectrum.

Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry, while vegans in addition to being vegetarian can’t consume animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy, or honey and avoid other things such as leather, fur, silk and wool.

More and more people are trying out this lifestyle and there have been reports that Beyoncé, a famous singer, and her husband Jay Z have tried veganism a couple of times where they have actually cut out animal products for about 22 days as part of a “ spiritual and physical cleanse.”

Juliet Gellatley, director of a vegan and vegetarian group, told the BBC “that people choose veganism mostly for two reasons – healthy concerns, and a greater awareness about how animals are treated.”

She also added that “people might be prone to heart disease or want to get their cholesterol down, or it might be because they’ve seen something on a factory farming.” And that sometimes people switch to veganism because of “environmental reasons such as global warming or deforestation.”

“I became a vegan because I actually got motivated by my brother, he started it off and made me watch this documentary that changed my whole lifestyle and the way I view the way we treat animals. Which eventually made me realize how alike we are and how animals shouldn’t be beaten to death so we can eat them or exploited for our needs.” Said Sarah Skaf, an undergraduate at AUD.

However, this lifestyle has gotten a lot of backlash due to the severity of the diet, causing skeptics to question if veganism causes people to be tired and weak and many to wonder where vegans get their iron and B12 vitamins since they are abundantly found in meat.

Sarah Skaf admitted, “Being asked questions like these are honestly the only tough part about this whole lifestyle,” to which she added that veganism “is a healthy lifestyle because you stop eating junk food and you start looking at food that is actually good for you. I mostly get my B12 from lentils, tofu, and almond milk and there are so many other healthy alternatives you can have that aren’t meat or chicken.”

Another fellow vegan is Sara Daher, an employee at UM, who has been vegan for 2 years now and she says that “I don’t think it’s a limiting lifestyle, I still go to work like everyone else, do Yoga like twice a week and still have the energy to go out with my friends and enjoy my time.”

When asked what advice she would give to someone who wants to start being a vegan, she stressed on the fact that it should be their choice, they should do some research beforehand and finally “just take it one step at a time and start slow.”

Sarah Skaf and Sara Daher both concluded that transitioning into veganism “is just different but not impossible.”

Over 56 billion farmed animals are killed every year by humans and more than 3,000 die every second. But by adopting a vegan diet, vegans can personally save up to 95 animals a year and thousands during their lifetime.