Student Perspectives: Being Vegan at Puget Sound: how tough is it, really?

As part of this year’s discussion around Loggers Eat Green, it’s great to hear how different students on campus think about eating green. Eating sustainably is different to everyone. In the SUB, one week a month it takes the form of Farm to Table, where Dining services brings local and seasonal ingredients from local farms such as Terra Organics and Tahoma Farms. However, eating local is not the only way students have chosen to be green eaters, and it’s great to see it expressed in different ways.LLG_food_tagline

The club Veggie Might chooses to eat green by encouraging club members to head towards a vegan diet, whether that be Pescetarian, Vegetarian or Vegan. Either way, President Kathryn Papoulias says no matter which step you are at, heading in a vegan direction is inherently sustainable because mass meat production is one of the most unsustainable food markets. This is why she has chosen to be vegan as a method of being a sustainable eater.  Being on campus and having a specialized diet of any kind can be difficult, however, the following tips offer great insight into the great ways Dining Services has encouraged vegetarian and vegan diets, and tips from Veggie Might on making the transition to veganism easier.

The following set of tips was written by President, Senior Kathryn Papoulias a Biology major and Environmental Policy Minor and Alexia Ingerson, a sophomore and Computer Science Major. 

When most people think of eating in college, they think of the infamous “Freshman 15” – I, however, was preoccupied with figuring out if I could eat well. When I came to Puget Sound, I was (and still am) vegan, and I was anxious about being mostly dependent on a cafeteria for my food and not knowing exactly how many options I would have. Over the past four years, many changes have come and gone in the Diner; some changes were great, some less than ideal, and it’s pretty clear to most of the vegan community on campus that we still have a ways to go. With that said, there’s a surprising amount of diversity in meal options for vegans and it’s very easy to have a varied, delicious diet as a vegan on campus! Station to station, here are some tips from Veggie Might, Puget Sound’s Vegan & Vegetarian Club!

Italian: This is one of the less exciting stations for vegans. We can pretty much only eat the pasta with tomato basil sauce, which is nice when you’re in the mood for some basic spaghetti, but can get boring pretty quickly.

Latin American: One of my favorites! This year, the addition of breakfast burritos on weekends was pretty exciting, and the tofu scramble and potatoes are great fillings. They usually have a bag of Daiya (nondairy cheese – great for those of us that are lactose-intolerant or otherwise avoid dairy) hanging out underneath the counter that you can ask for, otherwise there’s Daiya in little containers in the fridges that you can ask them to put in the burrito. DSC_0468

Asian: Though their tofu leaves something to be desired, the pho on the weekend can be made vegan really easily and is a nice change. (Inside scoop: get the veggies on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday! Tuesdays and Thursdays is usually when they serve left-over veggies.) Sometimes the fried rice is vegan, but only when it doesn’t have egg in it – ask whoever is working to double-check.

Vegan/Vegetarian: As the name implies, this is usually very dependable for vegan fare. Every once in a while there isn’t a vegan option, which is a bummer, and I always avoid Fridays at lunch when the rest of campus goes crazy over the tortellini. Nutritional yeast is almost always hiding in the corner, and can be added to almost anything! Some personal favorites are on top of pasta and tomato sauce, fries, salads, whatever is at the veg station…you get the picture. Yum!

Grill: Veggie patties and buns are vegan! And whoa are those fries good. Tip: Daiya is awesome if you melt it on top of the curly fries in the microwave!

Chef’s Table: Check if the potatoes in the morning are there – they should be vegan! Unfortunately that’s pretty much the only vegan option ever served at this station.

Soup Station: Maybe the most disappointing spot in the diner for me. You’d think that with Tacoma usually being cold and rainy we’d always have a good veggie soup, but rarely is there a vegetarian option here and it’s almost never vegan. Pretty depressing, especially knowing that soups like minestrone is easily vegan and easy to make.

Deli: The craziest change we’ve seen in the Diner so far is here – as far as we’ve been able to discern, none of the bread served at the deli is vegan this semester. You can ask to get a bagel instead and have a bagel sandwich, as most of the bagels are vegan. Tip: Ask for Field Roast! My favorite is getting a hot sandwich with Field Roast and giving them a little container of Daiya from the fridge to put on the sandwich before it goes in the oven.

Miscellaneous: Besides Daiya, there’s also soy yogurt in the fridge! They’ve starting serving a new brand since last year, and it gets rave reviews from vegans to dairy-eaters alike! DSC_0467The Flying Apron baked goods that are both gluten-free and vegan are generally replaced every Wednesday – try the brownies and maple nut muffins! And down in the Cellar, it’s easy to get a vegan pizza – the crust is vegan, and you can ask for the pizza made either without cheese or with Daiya. Give it a shot sometime!

And thus concludes a whirlwind tour of vegan grub on campus – stop by a Veggie Might meeting if you have any questions on vegan/vegetarian eating! You can also contact us at kpapoulias@pugetsound.edu. Happy eating!

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