Being Plant-Based in Statesboro


Kaylan Peek, "You" Editor

With the rise of health consciousness, the vegan diet has become more popular than ever.

The vegan diet or plant-based diet excludes all animal products, including meat, seafood, eggs and dairy.

According to College Pulse, 1 in 10 college students follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. Although plant-based diets remain the minority in our general population, the need for a broader variety of vegan food alternatives and dining options in Statesboro, Georgia does not go without notice.

Statesboro has about seven grocery stores (including Walmart Supercenter). After visiting these stores, I observed that Aldi has the most vegan-friendly food alternatives, out of the seven, with Walmart following close behind. However, the plant-based choices are much fewer than what you would find at Kroger or Whole Foods.

Cinnamon roll bakery, Cinnaholic, is the only exclusively vegan restaurant in Statesboro out of over 120 restaurants.

Yes, you read that right. One out of 120.

There are other restaurants that offer vegan dishes like Sum’Mo Tea & Things and Mellow Mushroom, but no other primarily vegan establishments reside in Statesboro.

As someone who does not adhere to a plant-based diet, I feel that food options in Statesboro, Georgia are lacking. I couldn’t help but wonder, how is this for someone who follows a more restricted dietary lifestyle – like veganism?

I spoke with Senior Quason Parker, the vice president of Powered by Plants. Powered by Plants is a Georgia Southern University informational and social organization for plant-based students.

“Essentially what we try to do is spread awareness and clear up a lot of misconceptions,” said Parker. “When people think veganism, they think quinoa and stuff like that. We try to show them it doesn’t have to be like that. Powered by Plants also raises funds through potlucks and volunteer and donate plant-based foods for food banks.”

Interestingly enough, Parker adopted the vegan diet his second semester of college at Georgia Southern University. “I’ve always been on that kind of spectrum. When I was nine, I stopped eating pork and McDonald’s and all the fast-food,” said Parker.

Parker always had it in his mind that he’d go vegan at some point in his life. It was almost seamless being that he already didn’t care for junk food or seafood. Parker originally had the idea to go become vegan at 21-year-old, but ambitiously made the change early at the age of 18.


Mind over matter

As busy college students, a balanced diet is something most of us only dream of having. Carbs could consume much of your diet if you’re on the go.

French fries.



Snack bars.

The list goes on.

Parker shares how easy it is to fall into an overly carb-based diet as well as a vegan college student with limited options.

While he’s currently trying to cut as many carbs out as possible, he admits it’s difficult. “When you take carbs out of the equation, it makes it harder,” said Parker. “You really have to be disciplined”

The stress of being a college student and the inconvenience of living in a small college town could be enough to make one dismiss the thought of being or becoming vegan. However, it may not be as complex as we think.

The Powered by Plants vice president shares that creativity and discipline are two traits to have when maintaining a vegan diet in a place like Statesboro.

 “You just gotta get creative and really have a desire to cook,” said Parker. He expresses a “win some, lose some” mentality with the idea of not being able to attain the vegan ingredients needed to complete some desired vegan recipes.

 Despite the seemingly lack of vegan inclusivity in Statesboro dining and grocery, Parker has no worries.

 “It’s one vegan restaurant in Statesboro, but it’s a few ways to finesse it. A lot of people just overlook it. It’s definitely possible,” said Parker. Restaurants like Tandoor and Tap, Oriental Express, and even Bites are all recommendations he suggests. Whether it’s sticking with vegetable dishes or opting for plant-based sandwiches – there’s always a way to eat out even if there is not much to choose from.

 “It’s not a lot of people in Statesboro so restaurants will have stuff, but they’ll take it off the menu because sales aren’t doing as great.”

 In the future, will we see more vegan alternatives and dining make their way to Statesboro? Is it that there aren’t as many plant-based eaters in Statesboro or that because we aren’t presented with as many choices – people turn away from them based on unfamiliarity?

 All we can hope for is more inclusivity for all lifestyles in Statesboro, dietary or not, to accommodate the melting pot that is Georgia Southern University.

 Any students looking for guidance and community within their plant-based journey can find that in Powered by Plants here at Georgia Southern University.