God bless Jamba Juice. The employees there have come to know me by name and exactly when I’ll be stopping by for my morning fresh-squeezed juice. I converted to a vegetarian diet over the summer, partly for health reasons and partly due to personal choice.
Since returning to campus I often get frustrated as I wander the vast food options looking for a meat-free meal.
With the little options there are for the vegetarian Wolverine, I’ve been starving, and I feel incredibly sad for my more-strict vegan counterparts.
To my meat-eating friends, I fully understand that vegetarianism and veganism are a lifestyle choice for most of us, a choice that we could undo, so you don’t have to tell me that I’m hoisted up on my own petard here.
To my fellow vegetarian Wolverines, there are options. The Valley View Room on the student center second floor offers two soup choices, one being vegetarian and sometimes gluten free for our Celiac afflicted friends. Offered at various food stands along with Valley View are freshly cut veggie and fruit cups.
Valley View also offers what they call “Meatless Monday”. Every Monday from 11am-4pm an entirely meatless entree is served. You better get there quickly my veggie friends, because only 24 servings are made.
If they run out of Meatless Monday’s offerings, there’s often a potato bar or pasta with vegetarian sauce as an alternative.
Costa Vida and Subway have vegetarian offerings, although those options are somewhat lackluster. And hey, there’s always a grilled cheese from Rockin’ Robbies.
While the food options have improved since I was an omnivore, there is still much room for improvement, especially when it comes to us meat-less folks. This makes it hard to find healthy meat-free options.
Over the summer, I was excited to see the construction going on across from Jamba Juice and prayed for some kind of tofu express, or something vegetarian friendly.
Instead, we got a Taco Bell. I love nachos as much as the next person, but one cannot live on fake liquid cheese alone. One of the hopes of converting to vegetarianism is to improve health. Overloading on carbs and cheese just doesn’t cut it, pun intended.
“If students simply ask for vegetarian options, they would gladly be provided,” said Val Brown, UVU director of dining services. “Some food services have an infrastructure where you can go online, or on your smartphone and check exactly what is offered.”
Also, there are many information brochures students can pick up from the dining services that give a clearer picture of what exactly the food offerings contain.
If you’re new to the vegetarian game or considering joining us, your new best friend will be education. Research your options, especially here on campus. As a meat-free community, we understand that living with a limited diet comes with its own series of complications and struggles. It’s just the nature of the beast. A beast we don’t eat.