As someone who grew up with understanding (and vegetarian) parents, I was always extremely lucky to have two people who were both capable of and willing to support me as I began to try to make healthy food choices and also as I turned to veganism. Living on campus at a university, then, and having limited say in what I get to eat each day, was a pretty big change food-wise for me. (It’s my only complaint about college, and one of the reasons that I’m vegetarian now rather than vegan!)
But there are just very few healthy choices, honestly, and the majority of them aren’t vegan. I know I definitely don’t have room to complain–I’m lucky to have options at all, let alone healthy and/or vegan ones.
However, in trying to eat in a way that makes me feel good both inside and out, my first option isn’t gonna be oil slathered vegetables. Honestly. It’s not even that they taste bad–they’re pretty good, and they’re almost always free of butter or anything that would make them not vegan–but they’re drowning in oil, to the point where you almost feel sick after you eat too many, in the same way that I used to when I would sit at the movies and eat a whole bag of popcorn swimming in butter. (That popcorn was always so delicious, though. It was well worth the many stomach aches I suffered!)
And–to continue my complaints–there are almost never any options that are whole grain. Throughout the entirety of this past semester, I was able to find brown rice twice, and white rice the other however many days I ate there. There’s a little section in the caf where you can get bread to make your own sandwiches, but even though there’s bread that is colored brown, the ingredients never actually contain whole grain. Just caramel coloring. The only thing that I hope is that the bagels–which are unlabeled, but which always come in lighter and darker varieties–are actually whole grain. (I’m not asking–I’m not sure if I actually want to know!)
Nonetheless, the choices are always limited–with a slight variations, you’re basically eating the same thing day after day. There’s a burger section in the back that has veggie burgers along with regular ones–but they’re just vegetarian, not vegan, and they’re served on a refined bun, obviously. I can occasionally find tofu, but it’s always fried–in just as much oil as the vegetables, probably. The cafeteria does have soy milk, which is a definite plus, but it only has the sweetened vanilla and chocolate types.
Despite all this, though, I know that there are plenty of colleges that are way worse off on the food spectrum than mine is. And I have a saving grace in the form of a salad bar downstairs, at which you can build your own salad, with options like tofu, chickpeas, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries (my old standbys) and many more, including onion, carrots, cucumbers, etc. They’re great salads–I actually crave them when I’m at home–but as healthy as a salad may be, it’s probably not as healthy if it’s all I’m eating, day in and day out.
Oh, and there’s also this absolutely delicious oatmeal that’s out at breakfast on some days. Like it’s really some of the best oatmeal I’ve tasted, right up there with this creamy oatmeal from one of my favorite restaurants. And my (somewhat pathetic) attempts to recreate it. Whenever that oatmeal’s there, though, I go for it right away–there is absolutely no stopping me!
Well, that’s probably about it for my rant. I’m definitely lucky to have vegetarian options at all; I’m well aware of that. I just wish I were able to have more control over what I’m putting in my body. I need a kitchen in my dorm room!
In other news, most of my classes got canceled today because of all the sleet/snow we’re getting, which was fabulous news that we celebrated with ice cream, of course! (And after I complain about not being able to eat healthy–hah)
I hope everyone’s had/having a fabulous day!
Lots of love,