(Photo from http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegetarian-diet/)
Veganism is strictly a plant based diet. This involves avoiding all animal products (meat, dairy, eggs) and eating vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts. Vegetarianism is a diet wich avoids consumption of meat. In this diet, dairy, and eggs are eaten and all meats incluing beef, chicken, pork, turkey, and ham are avoided. Chartwells, the dinning service offered by Green Mountain College, offers many options for students who are living by these diets. They have an entire section aside from the meat that often includes dishes with meat alternatives including tofu, tempeh, and seitan. This aspect of Chartwells encourages those with diets to continue pursuing them. From my own perspective as a vegetarian, Chartwells has made maintaining my diet easy with signs and descriptions for dishes they make.
Aside from events and activities, socializing in Chartwells is one of the few regular opportunities that students have to catch up and talk with their friends. Many times I think that because I am vegetarian and have been my whole life, the topic of food comes up about 85% of the time at the table where I decide to sit. With a life of experience to speak from, students are often facinated to hear what foods I eat and ones I have avoided. Some students find my inability to describe meat humorous when I call it “meaty or tender.” Others have asked about the reasons I choose such a diet. I usually just say that I do it for ethical reasons (trying not to support factory farming) and health reasons (I have formed an opinion that meat is unhealthy and there are other foods containing protein and other nutrients common to meats).
I enjoy answering these questions and feel they bring up important thoughts surrounding food consumption. For example, the idea that we have lost a connection to the food we eat, and therefore we don’t really know what we are eating unless it is locally sourced. To accomodate this issue, Chartwells is actually working in a new policy where they are going to bring in meat strictly from local and sustainable sources. At a college with such a high emphasis on sustainability, the efforts to accomodate diets and the push toward more local foods has been much appreciated by many students here at Green Mountain College.
Written by: Andrew O’Neill