Meatless eating on campus still a struggle

December 14, 2010 by  

Vegetarian and vegan students at Kwantlen have some options when eating on campus, but still struggle to find nutritious and tasty meals that won’t break the bank.

“There’s not a lot surrounding Kwantlen to eat at. I generally bring in my own food,” said committed vegan Kari Michaels, a third-year philosophy student.

When she does buy food on campus, the GrassRoots Café is her venue of choice. Vegan menu items at the GrassRoots include wraps, with fillings such as rice, beans and veggies, and stir-fries.

“It’s pretty tough to be a vegan at Kwantlen. Luckily, the GrassRoots Café is really flexible. I’ve never actually gone to Sodexo to see their vegan options,” said Michaels.

A Sodexo representative reached by phone was quick to list many of the vegetarian and vegan choices available in the cafeterias and their willingness to adapt to each person’s dietary restrictions. Beyond the usual vegan and vegetarian-friendly sandwiches and salads, they offer hot entrées, including curries, stir-fries and pastas. Meatless options at Sodexo can also be cheaper, usually priced at a dollar less than the entrées with meat.

Vegetarian choices are now easily found on most local menus in Vancouver, a welcome respite from the days when often the only veggie-friendly items were salads.

Between four and 10 per cent of Canadians consider themselves to be vegetarian or vegan, according to multiple studies. That would suggest that between 680 and 1,700 of Kwantlen’s 17,000 students are either vegetarian or vegan.

There is no one simple definition of a vegetarian. Some vegetarians eat poultry or fish, some avoid all forms of animal flesh. Vegans consume no animal products, including dairy and eggs.

Michaels became a vegan partly for health reasons. “I had dairy and egg allergies so I didn’t have much choice. I was already vegetarian before making the switch to vegan,” she said.

She has since researched the conditions and methods used by modern dairy farms and was disgusted by what she found.

“But, now that I am vegan, the reasons I wouldn’t go back even if my allergies went away is just the innate cruelty in factory farming, the horrible practices involved in keeping cows pregnant . . . the whole industry around that would definitely keep me from going back to that.”

Michaels is philosophical about her limited dining options at Kwantlen.

“It’s hard to be vegan in Surrey and Kwantlen’s just a microcosm of that.”


One Response to “Meatless eating on campus still a struggle”

  1. Natalie on December 20th, 2010 4:42 pm

    At least Surrey has GrassRoots. Langley has nothing but that disgusting little cafeteria. Back when I was usually at Surrey I would eat on campus all the time, but when I switched to Langley a few semesters ago I ate there once and refused to ever again!

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