Tips for Vegan And Vegetarian Students at Kent State:
Plan ahead– do research, set your intentions for this lifestyle change, and pre-plan your meals. If you hop straight into it skipping only one of those three things, it’s likely to end pretty soon. So patiently plan ahead and stay committed! A lot of times you will have to pack your lunch/snack and take it with you.
Avoid consuming too many soy based products– there are many veggie meat substitutes out there to supposedly make the journey easier. However, soy is said to have a ranging list of negative side effects such as being hormonally disruptive and carcinogenic. If you’re really craving meat or dairy, it’s healthier to just purchase it organic, as it will be free of all those additives we can’t pronounce. Oh yeah, did I mention, you crave what you’re accustomed to; so after a while into being vegetarian, those cravings will go away.
Take. A. Multi. Vitamin. – I hate the idea of supplements so I try and compensate with foods; but it isn’t as easy as it sounds (believe me, I’ve gotten sick because of this). It is essential to get your necessary vitamins in order for your mind, body, and emotions to function properly. Visit the Natural Food Co-op downtown to find natural supplements. If you’re like me and hate pills you must really plan your diet accordingly. A lot of vegan cereals such as the Kashi brand (can be found in Eastway and Prentice), vegan milks and premade smoothies are fortified with B 12, just be sure to eat enough. For Omega-3s I go for Hodgson Mill Flax Chia Blend (great to add to yogurt, smoothies and fruit). Vitamin A is easily accessible through carrots, yams, squash, spinach, kale, etc. Which leads me to the next tip….
Get your protein! – the most annoying question you will receive is “But where do you get your protein?” However, the question poses a serious matter. For vegetarians, there’s really no need to worry about your intake as you will get more than enough protein through the combination of eggs, dairy, veggies, wheat products etc. For vegans on the other hand, this can be a little tricky. Your diet requires proper planning and combining to get the job done. Foods such as quinoa, beans, couscous, peanut and almond butters, whole grains (bagels, breads, noodles), vegetables, oats, lentils, nuts etc. will be your go to. If you opt for a protein supplement I’d recommend brands like Nutiva, who offer 100% raw organic hemp protein in powder form.
Broaden your horizons– a lot of times there won’t be anything available for vegetarians/vegans so we opt out for fries, snacks, pizza etc. The worst thing to do is change your diet to become healthier and resort to only eating unhealthy foods and/or not eating at all. However, you owe it to yourself to be able to still eat out with family and friends. Check out www.peta.org/living/food/chain-restaurants for a comprehensive list of well-known restaurants, including fast food, that offers food for you- and not just salads!!!
Here are some places I eat at in Kent:
Kent Natural food co-op (expensive)
Twisted Melts & more.
**Almost every pizza place offers vegetarian AND vegan options.**
Best places on campus:
Food for Thought Cafe in White Hall – very healthy place, offers wraps, salads, soup, real fruit smoothies, healthy snacks etc. Doesn’t take meal plan 🙁
Kent Market 1– offers at least two vegetarian options at every meal. Ask for no sauce on the Vegetarian Black bean burger as it contains anchovies.
Kent Market 2– offers vegetarian and vegan options EVERY day. Try the Pasta Bar and Indian Cuisines.
*Eastway Dining Hall– usually has many plant based options. The Pure Station always has great sides that are gluten free and vegan. Has a fruit and salad bar.
*Prentice Café– downstairs of Prentice Hall. Has some of the best vegetarian and vegan options every day; and if all else fails, get a burrito from Burrito Del Ray. Has a fruit and salad bar.
Every place in the hub offers at least 1 vegan option and many vegetarian options.
*has the Veggie A-Go-Go, call-ahead, take-out program featuring vegan, vegetarian and gluten free meals. Check out the link: https://www.kent.edu/dining/veggie-go-go-1
Don’t judge yourself and don’t judge others: If you slip up once or twice it’s okay! You’re changing a huge aspect of your lifestyle. Live a little. And definitely, definitely, do not judge others! Understand that certain diets work better for certain people. Advise your friends and family to get more fruits and vegetables into their diets; but do not constantly harass them, and do not let them harass you!