I eat food. I write about food. I go to college to learn about food. And, I even have an Instagram dedicated to the food I eat.

Sometimes when I take a minute to think about it, it seems slightly excessive. But food is a big part of who I am.

It hasn't always been this way, and if you've ever read some of my past articles, it's not really a secret anymore that I've struggled with having an eating disorder. One of the things I decided to do when I was tackling my fear of eating was to make an Instagram account centered around food. As a vegan, it also allows me to spread my passion for leading a simple, compassionate, and sustainable lifestyle with whomever decides to click that follow button.

I got to thinking that I couldn't be the only one who cares so deeply about food. Whether that love is rooted in the ethical side of eating, its ability to provide nourishment, the cultures it stands for, or the mere fact that sometimes it just tastes so damn good... food is universal

So, I got to work searching out my fellow Instagram foodies here at The University of Vermont, and I essentially asked them: what makes you one of those people that post pictures of every meal they eat on Instagram?

In no particular order, here are some of The University of Vermont's best student food Instagrams:

Ben Hirsh @ben.eats

Ben is a senior Nutrition and Food Sciences major. When I first saw Ben's Instagram, I was immediately drawn in by how colorful and fun it was. His meals are artistically composed, vibrant, and express a definite personality.

I was curious to see how he'd describe his own account, and when I asked him, he said, "My feed (pun intended) consists of meals/snacks I purchase and also ones I create. And some of my posts are just me playing with food; I love styling and creating fun designs and tableaus with food."

Ben said he owes this to his family, who instilled a deep appreciation for food in him as a kid. He even joked that the Food Network was always playing on the TV in his house growing up. 

Today, his passion for food lies with its social and emotional appeal. Food, he elaborated, has this amazing capability to create happiness, as well as a means of bringing people together.

When I asked what his intent behind his account was, he profoundly said:

"I want my followers to look at food as more than just the nutrients we need. Food can be beautiful, creative, tasty and inspirational; everybody has to eat, might as well make it fun!"

And trust me, you will want to follow ben.eats because his account is seriously creative and fun. I mean, really, he can even make asparagus look like the life of the party...

Matt Hamor @ultimate_veggie_beard

As his Instagram bio states, the dude only eats plants. He's also got a pretty epic beard, too.

If for some reason you haven't heard of him yet, Matt's a junior studying forestry. He's been a vegan for three years, and has used his Instagram to document how appetizing and appealing it is to eat a plant-based diet ("Unlike dead animals," he points out). 

Matt's Instagram aims to debunk the myth that vegans are unhealthy or nutrient deficient and says:

"You aren't restricting your diet or making it bland; you're expanding, finding new proteins and new fruits, rather than alternating between the few meat options there are in the average American diet, with an occasional apple or salad stuck in."

In fact, Matt exemplifies that eating abundant fruits, vegetables, and lean plant-based proteins are what makes the body function optimally. He explains that our cells are constantly regenerating utilizing the material we consume. With a varied diet of plant-based foods, and without added junk, our cells work exactly as intended.

When it comes down to it, his Instagram is more than just photos of veggies; it's about health, the earth, animal rights activism, and the happiness he's found through a vegan diet.

When I asked him why he is so committed to his food instagram, Matt simply explained, "I hope my nonvegan followers see a meal I make and say 'Hey, that looks good. You wanna make that for me some time?' Because I would, gladly, anything to save the earth and its beings."

And trust me, his meals look pretty amazing, so I'd definitely follow him on Instagram and take him up on that offer if I were you.

You never know, you might just see plants in a whole new way.

Marguerite and Rebecca Horton @foodnotfuckboys

As their Instagram username and mission statement might hint, Marguerite and Rebecca Horton are two very empowering boss ladies. Marguerite is a junior at UVM majoring in Public Communications and minoring in Food Systems. Rebecca is a junior at the University of Colorado, Boulder, majoring in Communication and minoring in French and Studio Art. 

Because their parents owned their own restaurant, both girls grew up appreciating food for its nourishment and ability to foster a sense of community. Eventually, Marguerite and Rebecca transitioned to a vegetarian diet, and then became completely vegan. 

With this dietary realignment, came a shift in their social and environmental values centered around food.

With the incorporation of veganism into their life, Rebecca and Marguerite acknowledged that:

"---the food [we] ate shifted from something that [we] saw as mindlessly enjoyable, traditional, and used to celebrate life, into a reality of choice accompanied by not only health, but also environmental and social justices. It was life changing to become conscious of the misuse of government and industry power that are behind many of the foods [we] once loved." 

Having acquired this newfound insight, they created an Instagram to voice such discrepancies in the food system. The girls use their social media to unveil a vegan diet's power to promote food security, food accessibility for all, environmental sustainability, as well as a means to combat food waste, disease, and animal cruelty.

Whether they are posting pictures of their own home-cooked meals, or the vegan food they come across at restaurants, the girls strive to instill in their followers conscientious mindsets and a heightened sense of ethical obligation. 

"Everyone is either a consumer, a producer, a grower, or a distributor," Rebecca and Marguerite proclaim, "We are all, some more than others, impacted by the decisions each other make. Especially when it comes to what we decide to eat." 

I genuinely encourage you to join Marguerite and Rebecca on their Instagram journey and website for not only some pretty rad food pictures, but to manifest your own inner boss lady for your own sake, other human beings, the animals, and the earth that is our home.

Julia Macaulay: @juleslikesfood

Julia is a sophomore studying Human Development and Family Studies. She's a current fellow Spoon member and former photo director here at Spoon Vermont, so you might have seen her posts on our Instagram!

Julia originally made her Instagram because she views food photography as a form of art, but didn't want to flood her personal account with tons of food pictures. In my opinion, her photos are definitely deserving of their own account. 

In a nutshell, Julia describes her food instagram feed as "mostly bagels, and if it's not a bagel, it's probably french fries or froyo." (Which is awesome, because I don't know of a single human being who doesn't like bagels).

However, Julia says she ultimately hopes to use her photos to inspire her followers to try new foods and restaurants, saying, "Get out of your comfort zone and try something you wouldn't normally get! And don't forget to snap that pic!"

So there you go, guys. It is okay to be that person who takes pictures of their food all the time. If you do, you might just discover your inner foodie and end up with some incredible food photos like juleslikesfood.

Isabella @isabellaeats

Isabella is a freshman studying Dietetics, Nutrition and Food Sciences. She is also a writer for Spoon Vermont, and you may have come across some of her awesome recipe articles. She describes her Instagram feed as a collection of fruit, beverages, and dishes that she makes for Spoon University. 

Isabella's bio reads: "Isabella eats...and eats, and eats." I found it quite witty (and relatable), so I asked her why food was an integral part of her life.

Isabella admitted that it has always been a part of who she is, saying:

"I've been forcing people around me to wait to eat until I've properly rearranged and documented meals since I was little, so I made a food Instagram to create a space to share them and get inspiration from other foodies."

Isabella's appreciation of food is also fueled by her curiosity for studying culinary traditions of various cultures. She is even fascinated by the implications of modern diets, and attests, "I think we as a society need to mend the way that we consume food in order to be able to feed our ever-growing population in the most sustainable way possible."

As far as her pictures go, Isabella finds inspiration in simple, fresh ingredients and values their potential to easily be made into something delicious. She hopes to encourage others to see the same beauty.

And believe me, her pictures are absolutely stunning and artistic, so check out isabellaeats on Instagram, as well as her articles here on Spoon University!

Julia Asadorian @juliarosefitness

Julia is a sophomore currently studying Linguistics. Her Instagram is a compilation of her own personal fitness journey, along with her passion for eating healthy, nourishing foods. 

She started documenting her path towards wellness as a means of bettering herself, saying, "College is tough with not very many healthy food options, unlimited dining halls, parties, and stress."

Starting college, Julia was afraid of gaining the infamous "Freshman Fifteen," and elaborated that this mindset led her down a road towards an eating disorder. She explained, "I've been scared of food before, every kind of food...I've viewed food as my enemy for awhile, but it's your friend!"

Today, Julia uses her Instagram to maintain a sense of balance in her life. She has learned that it is not necessary to restrict calories or fear food, but instead strives to keep active and to view healthy, nutritious foods as fuel for making a strong body and mind. 

Julia recommends protein-packed foods like seitan, tempeh, tofu, or nutritional yeast as alternatives to foods loaded with preservatives and chemicals that are detrimental to the body's optimal functioning. Through her posts, she also emphasizes that it's possible to make wholesome meals and snacks cost efficiently.

In addition, she posts workout plans and exercises for her followers, in order to help them to achieve their own fitness goals.

Ultimately, Julia hopes her journey can inspire others to lead a more health-focused lifestyle, saying:

"I want people to realize the importance of taking care of their bodies as a whole, both mentally and physically...I also want people to realize that if you have, had, or are struggling with an eating disorder, that you're not alone."

Julia's story behind her Instagram is absolutely inspirational, and she whole-heartedly works to synthesize both mental and physical health under one overarching theme of wellness. If you are looking for a motivational, positive, and supportive environment on Instagram, definitely follow juliarosefitness!

Rena @the.cleanplateclub

Rena is a senior graduating this May! She is a Community and International Development major with a Spanish minor. Her Instagram features mainly vegan meals that she cooks herself, and I honestly had a hard time choosing which photo to include in this article because they ALL look amazing!

Rena grew up as the daughter of a dietitian, but it was not until college that she truly realized that much of how our bodies function and how they feel is really impacted by the nourishment we put into them. 

Rena has always had a passion for food, but says she really made her debut in cooking healthfully and became more involved in the food ethics and politics during her time here at UVM. 

She attested, "I read 'The Ethics of What We Eat'  by Peter Singer in a class junior year; after that book I became a vegetarian and started this Instagram. About a year later, as a senior, I read "The Life of Cheese" by Heather Paxson; that's when I became a quasi-vegan (I still eat farm fresh pasture raised eggs)."

Although Rena originally started her Instagram to hold herself accountable in her journey towards healthy eating, she says she hopes she can help others understand that eating healthy meals on a plant-based/vegetarian/vegan diet can be affordable. She strives to create awareness around where our food comes from, and the power consumers have in how they spend their dollars.

When it comes down to it, she also just really loves sharing her recipes and inspirations with her followers, saying, "That's why the foodie community is so cool; we're all really working together to find the best recipes, meal prep ideas and cool, tasty restaurants!"

Help us broaden the foodie family, and follow Rena on her Instagram! She also recently started an awesome blog, which you can check out here.

Marianna Moore @mareeatsclean

Marianna is a sophomore majoring in Exercise and Movement Science on the pre-physical therapy track. She made her Instagram account just before her freshman year of college, coinciding with her transition to veganism.

Her posts consist of mostly the meals she makes herself as a way to show her peers that it is easy and affordable to eat a whole foods plant-based diet as college student.

She understands how easy it can be to fall into unhealthy patterns of behavior with newfound independence, so she said, "---I wanted to create a positive space where I could promote fueling your body with nothing but nourishing foods that not only make you feel good on the inside, but enhance your overall well being in life."  

Marianna admits that she hasn't always had a great relationship with food, and said that she, too, had struggled with an eating disorder for a decent portion of her life.

However, she found respite from her struggles in recovery, claiming:

"I found veganism and I completely fell in love. I have always been one with the environment and for animal welfare. However, I never knew how much switching to a vegan lifestyle would benefit my overall mental state of mind." 

With this newfound passion, Marianna began cooking all of her meals, following other food bloggers, making new friends, and healing her relationship with food. She hopes others can use her journey as a means to start listening to the needs of their own bodies, and to manifest happiness in their own lives!

Marianna's meals are truly beautiful to look at, wholesome, and her message is nothing but positive. If you are looking for recipe and meal ideas that are both affordable and nutritious, follow mareeatsclean on Instagram!

Jen Diehl and Kayla Freischlag @peasonearth3

Jen and Kayla are sophomores studying Environmental Science here at the University of Vermont. Together they run a vegan instagram that portrays both the meals they make themselves, as well as on-campus dining options here at UVM.

Jen and Kayla value food as a source of nourishment, but find it unfortunate that many people do not have a positive relationship with food. 

When describing that plant-based diets yield many health benefits, they also expressed, "Eating vegan has allowed us to have a much more positive relationship with food and ourselves."

Ultimately, their goal is end the stigma that surrounds a vegan diet. They aim to lead by example in order to educate their followers, proving that eating a vegan diet is both accessible and easy, and does not mean you have to compromise taste. 

They stress that there are only positives to going vegan, and is a lifestyle that serves to help foster better self relationships as well as a means of helping others, including the Earth and its animals.

Follow Jen and Kayla on Instagram for positive posts and tips on how to lead a vegan diet, or for some hidden on-campus and Burlington vegan eats!

Jennifer Nigro @jen__eats

Jennifer is a sophomore majoring in Psychology and minoring in Political Science. As my predecessor as editorial director for Spoon Vermont, I know Jen to be the ultimate foodie. She is our chapter's resident video contributor, has written over thirty articles, and of course, she runs her own food Instagram!

Her instagram (as well as her personal account) consists of her favorite meal highlights. She made a separate account for her food because she enjoys getting the best photo she can, and wanted to make her creations the main focus.

Because she is incredibly talented in the kitchen, she has also received a lot of encouragement from other people to open a bakery or start a separate account. So, she started with Instagram as a way to display her culinary creations.

When I asked her why food impassioned her so much, Jen said:

"---It's a major part of life. It gives me fuel for the day, but it's also nice to just enjoy the culture surrounding food and eating, and just to eat it."

Although cooking can be stressful, Jen says preparing food can also give you a sense of comfort and control. She especially loves baking because she admires that it is such a measurable process and an exact science, saying, "It's a sense of pride in yourself and your capabilties when you nail a difficult technique or recipe."

Jennifer uses her videos, articles, and Instagram to prove that food is more than just sustenance; it is also fun, and that you should eat whatever makes you happy and healthy. So check out jen__eats!

And there you have it!

Food is universal, but it means something different to us all. Whether you see it as a creative outlet, a science experiment, a way to bring people together, a health tool, an expression of culture, or a matter of morals, it is inevitably a part of each and every one of us. Ultimately, it is my hope that we can all appreciate the dimensionality that food possesses.

Furthermore, if any of these Instagrammer's mantras, beliefs, or ideas resonated with you at all, I urge you to follow them.

Or, if you're inspired enough, make your own food Instagram and help us expand and diversify the foodie community!