By Emily Pizza
Eating vegetarian last week wasn’t bad, so I figured trying vegan would logically be the next step up. While I knew that it was going to be more difficult, I didn’t realize how difficult it actually would be to cut animal products from my diet while eating on campus.
Although I don’t necessarily agree with vegan ideals, I recognize that there are people who eat this way at Kalamazoo College, and therefore the cafeteria should accommodate their dietary needs like they do for other students.
I found during my week of eating vegan, or should I call it starvation, that eating vegan in the cafeteria is next to impossible.
While there were some days when explicitly vegan options were available, tofu dishes or miso soup, which I thought were delicious and a great option for vegans, most days I was surviving on incredibly under-done vegetables, crunchy white rice, and toast with Jelly (which I hope is vegan, there were no signs to tell me otherwise).
The other fault came when the fried tofu sat out too long and gained the consistency of rubber. While the meals I ate at right at the beginning of a meal time were top-notch, if I got there an hour later, the fried tofu was instantly off my radar.
And of course, there were always vegan soups available. However, Just because one soup is called “beans and corn” and other is called “black bean soup” that contains corn, doesn’t mean they’re different things. After three days of eating that stuff, I may never eat black bean soup again.
Oftentimes by dinner I was forced to give up the diet just so I could eat enough to sustain myself, usually eating a grilled cheese or chicken sandwich, always wondering what I would do if giving up the diet wasn’t a possibility. If I were actually a student trying to eat vegan on a meal plan, it might not be feasible.
While there were salads available at both the Richardson Room Cafe and the Book Club, they became monotonous. Some variety would have been nice, but not as important as adding more variety in the cafeteria.
Overall, I was incredibly displeased with the amount of options I had in the cafeteria for eating vegan. If the cafeteria does not intend to provide more vegan options, I don’t see any way vegan students could survive eating only on meal-swipes.