The first time Karen Coyne heard the word "vegan," she wasn't sure what it meant.
The future Newport Harbor High School English teacher had sworn off red meat since junior high, but she still filled her diet with animal products — including the Baskin Robbins ice cream cone she craved every week. Then, in 1992, she met a college classmate who presented her with a recent book on eating habits: John Robbins' "Diet for a New America," which encouraged readers to forsake meat, eggs, milk and any other food that came from a living thing.
Coyne stayed up all night reading the book, and by the time she finished it, she had made up her mind to pursue a completely plant-based diet. Thanks in part to her persistence, students in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District will have a similar choice on the menu this year.