Without Enough Options

Carissa Herb, Assistant Features Editor

When I first decided to come St. John’s for my undergraduate career I had to make sure that I was going to be able to eat on the meal plans being offered. Luckily, St. John’s is largely accommodating to a vegetarian lifestyle.

Depending on what you personally altered in your diet, St. John’s, in my opinion, made it easy to be vegetarian and not complain or even think about it.

Last May while on summer vacation I decided to go completely vegan and I didn’t think about whether or not it would be okay to eat on a meal plan again because the year before had been so easy.

Unfortunately, I did not pay enough attention to how often Montgoris Dining Hall actually had vegan meals prepared.

If there are not any vegan meals the kitchen staff on campus is usually quite accommodating and they always answer any questions to the best of their ability.

More than often I would find myself getting tired of having to ask to have something special cooked for me and the staff members having to find someone who could cook it for me.

I always felt bad dragging an employee away from what they were working on so they could make something for me. They already do so much for us without question.

For the times I didn’t want to ask I would find myself stuck with only salad as an option, and even though I am vegan I’m still not a big fan of salads.

Something I pride myself on, and I think most vegans do too, is my creativity to find something plant based even if there seems to be only animal products available.

Eating on a campus meal plan made it hard. It limited me to only one sandwich at Subway, Taco Bell, a salad at Green Street and Montgoris. It was like dining roulette. I never knew what I was going to end up with.

Where I feel very lucky that every day I am guaranteed a meal I began to miss out on key nutrients that when cooking my own meals I was sure I was getting.

After being vegan at St. John’s for this academic year I have chosen to actually move off campus in order to prepare my own meals.

The mandatory meal plan has made it impossible for me to still live on campus and get all of the necessary components in my food that keep me healthy.

If anything, I feel that the meal plans have encouraged others to not cut animal products out of their diet.

I know I had a hard enough time.