he veganism movement is gaining traction and increased media attention, with its reach extending far beyond West Coast hippie culture. Even Dr. Kim A. Williams, the president-elect of the American College of Cardiology, has turned to veganism to reduce his LDL cholesterol levels and reduce his chances of getting heart attack. Whether you choose to try being vegan for health reasons, ethical reasons or both, a carefully planned plant-based diet can lead to higher energy levels and a long-term decreased risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
After spending a month as a vegan at Wellesley, I know that it can be tricky to maintain a healthy diet beyond the salad bar. With that in mind, here are a few tips to diversify your food choices, for vegans and non-vegans alike.
Make good use of the spice rack. Every dining hall has a small rack of herbs and spices, including rosemary, sage, paprika and cumin. By nature of adhering to a vegan diet, vegetables — raw or cooked — will constitute the majority of your diet. This can get old and boring very quickly, so spice it up! By experimenting with different seasonings each day, you can add an element of surprise and variety to what would otherwise be plain carrots, beans or brussel sprouts.
Soup can be a tasty, satisfying meal. Vegetables aren’t the only food to which you can add spice: On most days at most dining halls, a vegan soup option is readily available and generally includes a good serving of vegetables too. With cold weather on its way, soup and vegan crackers are a great option. On a cautionary note, soup tends to run high in sodium, so as with any food, consume it in moderation. On a side note, Ritz crackers are a great vegan cracker option without butter, despite its buttery taste.
There is more to breakfast than cereal and milk. Oatmeal is a great option for breakfast and is as filling as eggs and sausage. Add some brown sugar and fruit for flavor and to keep yourself energized.
Veganism does not mean giving up comfort food. Vegan pizza? Vegan cupcakes? Sorbets? Wellesley provides several options for vegans to indulge their sweet tooth. Vegan desserts, such as vegan angel cookies, vegan oatmeal raisin cookies and vegan cupcakes are served in the dining halls at least once per week. Additionally, most dining halls serve one sorbet option, which is dairy-free and therefore, vegan as well.
It can be difficult being vegan just on the Wellesley meal plan. If you are craving some tasty dining options, try going off campus to Veggie Planet in Cambridge, Life Alive in Cambridge or sample the vegan burritos from Boloco in the Vil.
Check back in two weeks for another installment of The Vegan Diaries featuring more on Boston-area vegan options!