On campus, many vegetarians have vehemently expressed their concern for their nutritional well-being. “In most places, there are limited options, especially at formal events with courses, such as weddings,” said LSA sophomore Corrina Christman.
“A lot of times, the only thing I can eat is dessert, which is not a good habit to get into.”
Christman cites hypocrisy and the murder of animals as the primary motives for her decision to become vegetarian. “I respect people who actually hunt and kill their own meat, but I consider most people hypocrites they could never kill an animal, and they disguise the meat they eat with names like “beef” or “ham.” I think I would eat meat if I was really capable of harvesting my own meat.”
Other students cite religion and health related issues as reasons for abstaining from eating meat. However, LSA sophomore Shruthi Sriram is quick to caution that these are not the only concerns.
“At first my religion (Hinduism), but later environmental reasons, strengthened my belief in vegetarianism,” she said. “The act of killing and eating an animal is not wrong in itself in my opinion. It”s more the artificial breeding and mass slaughtering that does not seem environmentally or morally correct to me.”
An obvious concern of many vegetarians living on campus is the availability of palatable vegetarian options in University meal plans and in area restaurants.
“Some days it”s hard, but I can always eat yogurt, cereal and salad in the dorms,” Christman said. “A lot of restaurants such as Seva, Jerusalem Garden, Mongolian Barbecue and Tio”s have good vegetarian options.”
For those vegetarians who live off-campus and are interested in cooking healthy meals, specialty food stores like Whole Foods Market offer variety at low cost.
“(Many people) think our prices are a lot higher than other stores, but in fact, our prices are lower than other major stores, and we have many food items that they don”t carry,” said owner David Boulette. He stresses that the store has a commitment to “give people the option whether or not to buy healthier food and promoting a healthier environment.”
In addition to formal restaurant vegetarian options, many students have recognized the appeal of vegetarian food items offered at fast food establishments.
“(Subway”s) “Veggie Delight” is one of the best options in fast food because it is low in fat and is healthy,” Sriram said.
Not surprisingly, many pizza restaurants have followed suit and have offered appealing vegetarian options to the University community. “We sell more chipatis than pizza,” said Todd Patten, manager of Pizza House.