As we embarked on the dining challenge, I knew I’d have highs and lows while eating as a vegan on campus. There would be easy moments, frustrating moments, bewildering moments and things that had never occurred to me before. Yesterday was mostly good.
As Team Vegan (there are three of us) wandered into the dining hall for breakfast, I wondered if it would be awkward to ask questions. Putting myself into the shoes of a new student, I wondered if I would be confident enough to ask about vegan options. Luckily, foods were clearly labeled for both ingredients and allergy warnings. There was really no need to ask questions because everything was well labeled and easy to find.
Unluckily, there weren’t a lot of options for breakfast. Seeing the breakfast treats made me the saddest.
I WANT CRANBERRY ORANGE MINI SCONES! They looked so tasty, but alas… totally not vegan.
There was only one vegan cereal available, oatmeal (with no butter or sugar) and fruit. We were lucky to have soy milk, both in vanilla and chocolate flavors.
Watching Team Vegetarian chow down on custom made omelettes and Team Gluten-Free eat plates of bacon, we felt a little slighted in our offerings. There just weren’t a lot of options, but at least we had some options. There was something.
Luckily, things turned around at lunch. I was quite pleased to see a separate vegan station at the front of the dining hall featuring cooked to order rice noodle bowls. Tons of fresh veggies (most of which are locally sourced), tasty sauces and tofu. For someone who doesn’t love veggies, I was very happy. I was especially happy to see this as a separate station, which limits the possibility of cross contamination, which is a huge concern for many of our students.
There were also several vegan items throughout the dining hall, from pasta with basil marinara to vegan chicken nuggets. You weren’t forced to only eat salads which is something I anticipated having to do.
Also, I was thrilled to see a vegan banana bread. I love dessert and I was relieved not to be left out.
The other thing that I loved… there was a smoothie station. You put fruit, ice and juice into a blender, hop onto a stationary bike and pedal away. The faster you pedal, the faster the blender goes! We got some good exercise and made some healthy vegan snacks.
Last night, I met a friend for the infamous TACO TUESDAY and managed to do quite well in my vegan efforts. I had plantain tacos with a banana ketchup sauce. Good stuff, indeed.
It isn’t as hard as I anticipated, but in no way is this a walk in the park. My only problem… apparently my body is fighting this. My stomach is weird. It grumbles and makes noises. It’s very odd and slightly uncomfortable but we are moving forward! Excited to share the results of today’s efforts soon.