Food privilege. It’s a thing.
As a meat-loving carnivore, I knew I would never go hungry eating in the cafeteria where I went to college. It never crossed my mind that having diverse selection of foods to choose from was a privilege.
As someone with no religious leanings, I never had a dietary restriction due to my religion. It never applied to me.
A few weeks ago, a parent of a student shared an article that changed the way I thought about food.
Students, staff, faculty and administrators followed the diet many young people live by… vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free. Eating on campus is easy if you have no restrictions. But the minute you have to think about what you’re consuming, things become more difficult. I never put myself in these students dietary shoes. I never thought about their day to day eating lives.
Inspired by this article, we’ve put together teams to eat the diets many of our students live by and we’ll be eating those diets exclusively in our campus dining facilities. For me, I’m Team Vegan. And truth be told, I’ve been a bit nervous, wondering about the following:
Will I go hungry as a vegan?
Will I be frustrated by selection?
Will I get enough protein?
Will dining staff be knowledgeable about what is vegan?
Are things properly labeled?
I’ll have a few more questions in the preceding days… never mind what my body is going to do with a significant diet change.
If I was hungry, could I focus on class with a rumbling stomach? How can a student be successful if one of their basic needs isn’t being met? (Again that Maslow guy is so FREAKING smart)
I’m proud of our dining operations for being willing to support this challenge. Dining staff have already been joining us for our meals, taking notes and responding positively to experiences and feedback.
In the upcoming days, I’ll be sharing specific stories and experiences of my life as a vegan. I hope you’ll join me!