Meatless Diets Aren’t Just A Fad And Campus Dining Should Take Note


Kristina Vakhman

CCSU needs more options for those without meat in their diets.

Shaina Blakesley, Managing Editor

“Fish are friends, not food,” the three non-meat eater sharks chanted in Pixlar’s “Finding Nemo.” But for many people, this tidbit is their reality. Vegetarian and vegan diets, according to Forbes, collectively make up 10 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds in the United States — and if you couldn’t guess it, I check the box for vegetarian.

The two questions that I always get asked are: why don’t you eat meat and what do you even eat?

First off, what I put in my body is strictly my business, considering I also have never asked someone why they devour poor defenseless creatures, especially when your body does not need it to be healthy and function properly. I chose not to consume meat, based on personal beliefs and dietary reasons. I grew up in a family that ate meat, so the divergence was solely my doing, the same way others actively chose to eat what once used to be a living being, similar to humans, with a face, a family and a life before them.

Second, if you can’t think of a single dish that has no meat, then are you even eating healthy? The options are boundless: vegetables, pastas, grains, rice, sandwiches, salads, soups. Since this an ever-growing lifestyle, there are a vast number of companies that provide new meat-less options that pack the same punch with proteins and necessary vitamins needed for survival.

My chances of healthy survival in terms of food intake is at jeopardy when I spend five days a week on campus. There is always the option to meal prep, but that is a lot of food to hold on to and last me the typical 10 to 12 hours I spend at Central Connecticut.

In October 2018, CCSU dining was graded an A+ by Peta2 for its vegan report card, according to a press release, but the selection is still dull, to say the least. The options for residents in Memorial and Hilltop are shockingly better than the public eateries in Devil’s Den.

As a commuter with a vegetarian diet for almost 12 years, it is disheartening to walk to get food and have very limited options, which is also significantly more than what a vegan can order. A handful times I have been swiped into the residence dining halls, and although the options were nearly doubled, I was greeted with six options that all had garbanzo beans. I love those little guys as much as the next veg-head, but one can only be delighted by so many repetitive platters.

Two Tuesdays ago, I was informed that Devil’s Den would no longer be serving my go-to meal option, pasta and vegan meatballs, because the vegan meatballs were not going to be sold anymore. I had been inquiring about the arrival of my favorite lunchtime option for almost two weeks by now. Frustration was all I felt at that moment because there’s not much I really order from the given options, which I mentioned to several Sodexo workers. Yet again, I was going to be cheated solely because I, along with others, have chosen a nonconformist diet.

Reluctantly, when my tummy was rumbling last Monday, I went to the dreaded Devil’s Den to feast on the ever so exciting plain pasta and basic red sauce. My heart skipped a beat when the worker told me that they had vegan meatballs, which had just come in that day. I’d thought that I was going to have to sacrifice eating enjoyable meals according to my preferred diet all because my school’s food service deemed one of maybe four options irrelevant to order.

Cutting corners and not providing a wider variety for those who do not eat meat does not seem like the type of place that was awarded an A+ from Peta2. Though this eating lifestyle is still considered a vast minority, we should not be subjected to far less limited food than those who choose to consume animals.