I was hesitant to write this blog because I do not live on campus, therefore I make my own food at home. I chose to finally write about this topic because I still think that I can share some helpful tips and tricks to make being vegan easier in college no matter where you live.
About one year ago I chose to become fully vegan overnight. I cut out all animal products such as meat and dairy quickly. I did this for health and personal reasons. Before making this decision, I did much research on the topic including reading books and watching documentaries. The key to success in making life changes is being educated on what you are doing.WIth that said, no matter how many books or documentaries you read, you can not fully be prepared for one thing. That one thing is options. Finding fully vegan restaurants, cafes, breakfast spots etc is easy and enjoyable...but it is not always affordable for each meal. Vegans eat much more than the average person on a non-vegan diet. You can also make your own food which is cheaper than eating out and alot more fun if you ask me. But this blog is not about the easy options, this is about the awkward and uncomfortable times when you have zero options in a public setting.If you are vegan, than you may have experienced this. If you are not vegan, can you imagine being invited to dinners, school events, nights out etc without any vegan options for you? I can! It happened to me alot in the beginning of being vegan and it is not always avoidable. For example, I was invited to an event that was buffet style. Luckily, I was able to grab some fruit, but that was it. The event was filled with cheese tables, eggrolls, and meats. I did not eat before which was my mistake. This is an example of a learning experience. Now, if I were to attend something like this, then I would know to eat something before just in case. This is an extreme example, but still something that can happen and is out of your control. Who knows, in today's world, more and more places offer tons of vegan options. Since this is an extreme example, there are some ways around this. It may take time, but you should learn to feel comfortable with your lifestyle. If you are going out with friends, suggest a place that you know has options for you to choose from. Maybe you are going to a restaurant and you saw nothing on the menu for yourself when you looked ahead...you can always call ahead and ask if the chef can make you something that is not offered on the menu. Calling ahead, or asking the chef for a special item may seem uncomfortable, but think of it from the restaurants point of view. The restaurant wants your business. They want you to spend your money at their business and not move onto another restaurant. Also, by you asking, you can start a chain reaction. Your decision to speak up can encourage the restaurant that you are at to then offer vegan friendly options.
Now what if you live on campus and have extremely limited options? Or you cannot drive off campus to get to vegan options? This can be a tricky topic, but definitely achievable. If you have a meal plan and eat on campus you just need to ask questions. Do not be afraid to speak up and ask the chef's how you can be accommodated. A good trick is to take advantage of things that you can bring back to your dorm. Get your hands on all of the fruit that you possibly can. As a vegan, you consume tons and tons of fruit. You can save money at the grocery store and just grab the fruit from the cafeteria that is available for you. You can use the fruit for class snacks or smoothies! If you are able to store food and cook in your dorm room, do it! Grocery shop for the things that you can not get with your meal plan. Stock up on all of your staple items and favorite treats.
Vegan Staple Items For Your Dorm:
Microwavable rice cups
Microwavable baked potatoes
Oatmeal (quick oats)
Fruit ( from your cafeteria)
Veggies ( steamable microwavable bags)
These items should be enough to make meals and snacks when you do not want to eat in the cafeteria. Plus, all of these items will not come close to making a dent in your wallet as a college student.Don’t get the wrong idea, being vegan is easy, beneficial to your body and the earth, while also rewarding. This blog is meant to help beginners, those who are interested in the lifestyle, or those struggling to be vegan with little options in their given living situation. You will get the hang of it, it is not hard at all to adopt this lifestyle. Eating on a college campus is difficult. If you are not on campus, then save up your money if you love food like me. Not a weekend goes by without me finding a new vegan recipe or spot to eat at, the options are endless...I promise!