We’ve all seen and heard about the diet that eliminates any and all animal products: veganism. Before you omnivores stop reading this, hear me out. While veganism may not be something that applies to you or me, it applies to some of your peers.
The vegan population continues to grow as people become more and more aware of where animal products come from, and the cruel ways that animals are treated during the process. While vegetarians have always addressed that killing animals is wrong and immoral, veganism stresses the fact that products such as milk, cheese and even honey place stress on our economy and are made using cruel processes. While the vegan population rises, Western’s vegan options seem to have plateaued. It may not seem like vegans are prevalent on this campus, but there are surely plenty lurking in the shadows.
Take it from me, a temporary vegan. “Temporary vegan?” Yes, you read that correctly- as we speak, I am in the midst of a two week vegan phase. Sometimes I do this just to change up my diet and encourage myself to eat healthy. This week has been my first attempt at veganism on campus and it has been, well, interesting. I started the vegan phase late Sunday night with a trip to the Tanner C-Store. All I could find was a snack that had apples and peanut butter, but I suppose it was late and I was not looking hard enough. Early Monday morning, I stopped by Dividends to grab a Naked Smoothie in an attempt to kick my morning coffee habit. The cashier who had become accustomed to my everyday order of a caramel latte seemed quite surprised. Lunch Monday proved to be a struggle, but Einstein Bros. Bagels in the University Union saved me. To my surprise, many of their bagels are vegan, and they even boast a vegan spread! This, coupled with a latte featuring almond milk, made for a more filling meal than I expected. For dinner, I decided to test out Thompson Hall’s vegan options. I was immediately tempted with some of my favorite foods; mashed potatoes, mac & cheese wedges and even steak. I reminded myself that this is temporary and powered through the pain. I managed to find roasted tomatoes, rice and salad, and I even made my own smoothie (minus the yogurt of course). Things seemed to be going well, but as Tuesday approached, I realized something that really made me think. All that’s really available at the dining halls for vegans is rice, fruit, vegetables and an occasional special vegan option. While these are enough to sustain a person, the lack of variety makes mealtime boring real quick. While it only proves a temporary issue for me, this experiment in veganism really made me feel for vegans on campus who undergo this struggle daily. Perhaps Western will adjust the menu soon to be more accommodating, or perhaps vegans will continue to eat the same meals daily.
To the vegans out there; I hope one day you can walk into a dining hall and really choose your own meal, but until then, I wish you the best.