Project Report

Being Vegan on OWU Campus

Shannon Schlater, Callan Yanoff, Emily Scott

 

The goal of this project was to become/be vegan for the semester and work to get more vegan options on campus, not just for vegans, but to allow for less animal-product consumption by all. The new vegans also documented their progression into veganism and the challenges they encountered on a Twitter page (https://twitter.com/readysetvegan). At the end of the project, we collected a list of tips and strategies other students can reference if they want to become vegan at OWU.

Suggestions/Thoughts/Etc. from newbie vegans:

Callan Yanoff:

I had a rough transitioning into veganism because of many reasons, but mostly eggs. I will get into the eggs later, but I will start with points about my religion and past vegetarian experiences. Being Jewish as well as my father being hasidic, we followed some of the rules of kosher eating. That includes limited beef options, no pork, lamb, or goat. I already cut out many sources of meat in my diet, except for constantly eating eggs, some dairy products, and chicken. Dropping chicken was hard, but there are many dishes containing chicken that can also exclude the meat products. As for eggs, ugh. Eggs were an integral part of my diet, being breakfast in the form of omelettes, crumbled on my salads for lunch, and scrambled for dinner. This transition was the hardest, because I usually have heavy workout filled days, and I feel that eggs provide the protein that I need to get through the day. It was hard, but completely do able with vegan protein bars. I enjoyed this transition ultimately, because I felt energized and had a difference in the amount of migraines daily. I suggest cutting some things out in preparation for becoming vegan because cutting it “cold turkey” or “cold tofu” is not an easy task. Cutting out a different animal or animal by product helps with the extreme process, of watching every ingredient that goes into your food. I also have a strong reliance on seafood, whether that be tuna, salmon, or tilapia. I thoroughly missed eating fish and shelled crustaceans, but did not feel any differences because of the difference in diet. If I was completely at home while being vegan and living next to the ocean where seafood is aplenty, I probably would not have been as successful as living in landlocked Ohio.

Emily Scott:

As the other newbie vegan on the team, I had some challenges to overcome when becoming vegan. Before this project, I had no limitations on my diet. I ate around 8 meals with red meat per week,  5 meals with white meat, and seafood maybe once a month. My egg consumption was not as high as Cali’s but I usually had around three eggs a week. I became vegan overnight with no transition phase. During week 1, my main problem was changing my thinking. Before this project, the only thought I gave my meals was in the 5 minutes before I ate to decide where I was going to eat and what I would choose from their multiple options for carnivores. After becoming vegan, I had to, first of all, remember that I could not eat any meals with animal by-products. Then I needed to educate myself on the frequency of animal by-products in meals on campus. I would suggest researching all the foods you are thinking of eating as a vegan before you actually become vegan. I did not, so I made quite a lot of mistakes in the first month of becoming vegan but I learned a lot. After my researching and education phase, I did not have very many options on campus. I started eating less food and not feeling as energetic. I had been taking vitamins since the beginning but this was when I started planning out my meals. I ended up buying a lot of ingredients at Thompson and started making a lot of my meals at home to bring to academic side of campus.

I highly suggest that beginner vegans plan out their meals and make a habit of it from the start. My diet usually consists of veggies and fruits three times a day as well as tofu, hummus, and soup at least five times a week. I found a few prepared meals at Thompson that I really enjoyed: Vegan chicken nuggets and veggie pot stickers. They also have very good muffin bread infused with cranberries and oats that can be used to make a great peanut and jelly sandwich. On academic side, I am usually only able to eat their snack box with hummus or the steamed veggies so I either have to eat light or pack dinner if I am going to be working late in lab.

I think I will continue eating a lot of tofu, veggies, and fruit but I will definitely decrease my hummus and soup intake. I will begin eating red meat again (because I can’t resist) but not white meat, seafood, or eggs. I think I will be able to maintain this lifestyle indefinitely.

Suggestions/Thoughts/ Etc. from veteran vegan:

It took me about a year from a meat/dairy/egg/no restrictions diet to convert  to a complete vegan. I highly suggest this method. I gave up red meat for a couple months, followed by white meat, next was dairy, honey, and any eggs that I didn’t know the chickens they came from, and now I do not eat anything that contains any animal products. This was extremely successful for me, as it allowed me to continue eating certain aspects of my diet through each step while only being forced to cut out one or two things at a time. This allowed me time to not only find other options, but also acquire a taste for a more plant-based diet. I’ve always really liked fruits and vegetables, but now I love them, and can easily eat peppers/cucumbers/etc. plain.

I also suggest if you are having trouble finding adequate options on campus to be extremely persistent. I appealed multiple times to get off the meal plan and while they were very set in not letting that happen they had me work with Dan Magee who then ordered or went to the store and bought any food I wanted. I typically only eat organic produce so he actually went to Meijer and bought me food and deducted meal points from my plan– silly, yes, but it’s better than nothing. You can also request certain items to be stocked in Thomson. The manager, Cheryl, is very accommodating and will try to order in a couple of things. I just suggest you know what Thomson already has as it can be frustrating for her if you list a bunch of things they already have (I’m guilty of this, but I’m also picky and I wanted specific brands).

Last, I really suggest you embrace mistakes. If you get really upset every time you mess up it will be very frustrating. Take them as learning experiences and the fact that you’ll know better next time. Whether you’re perfect or not you’re trying and subsequently making a difference, so be proud of that.

-Whether you like PETA or not, their website is full of great information about vegan options for snacks, eating out, meal ideas, etc. The facebook page Green Monster was also a useful source.

Being vegan on OWU campus:

New Vegans On Twitter:

As part of the project, I created a twitter account (https://twitter.com/readysetvegan) where Callan and I(Emily) posted our journey to veganism. Looking back through the posts, you can see how ignorant I was at the beginning when I accidentally put cream in my coffee and ate food with a cream based sauce on the top or corn prepared with butter. After I stopped eating the obvious meals with animal by-products, you can tell that I started doing nitty gritty research into what my food was made of. One big loss during this phase was the vegetarian sushi rolls that I loved and relied on when on the academic side of campus. I found out that the rice had egg in it and had to give it up. I would not consider myself an expert at telling what food is and isn’t vegan but after this project is over, I aim to continue learning about the origins of the food I eat. I need to be accountable for what I consume and I cannot do that if I am ignorant.

Time-saver tip: Check the allergens first when looking at ingredients. Rather than trying to read through a lot of ingredients or decide if something is vegan or not the allergens section will immediately tell you if there is dairy/eggs in it. This way you can put a non-vegan item down immediately. However, if it appears vegan then go back through all the ingredients to ensure something that wouldn’t be considered an allergen, like gelatin, is not in it as well.

-Ask if you are unsure. It takes much less time to talk with the people making the actual food, and not guess about the ingredients. If you think it has dairy in it, it probably does.

Smith:

Rice cookers and salad bar are good options

Peanut butter, jelly, bread, most cereals (google them to know for sure), soy milk are all vegan

Steamed vegetables

Hummus is supplied at the sandwich station near the pizza; just ask for a scoop

The oatmeal on weekends at breakfast is completely dairy free. And tasty!

All cookies out in Smith are vegan (only the cookies, not brownies or other desserts like that)

Be careful, these things are NOT vegan even though you might think they are:

Vegetables covered in sauces are often not vegan

Soups are often not vegan even if they’re veggie. Check if there’s cream/dairy in them

Soups are made with chicken or beef broth; don’t be fooled

They hide cheese in many vegetables and potatoes; IT’S A TRAP

Hamwil:

Veggie snack boxes

Salad bar has stepped up it’s game–many raw vegetables to snack on.

Vegetable soup (I’m pretty sure the vegetarian chili is not vegan, but the soup is)

There’s always bread and peanut butter available

Soy milk

Odwalla granola bars are filling and inexpensive

Odwalla drinks (with the exception of the protein enhanced ones)

Be careful, these things are NOT vegan even though you might think they are:

Veggie Sushi: eggs in the rice and the dressing is not vegan

Vegetables on the right side are usually coated in butter even if you don’t see it

 

Thomson:

Dark chocolate

Skinny pop popcorn

Ben and Jerry’s Dairy free ice cream

Fake chicken

Veggie Vegan Pot Stickers

Squash soup

Amy’s dinners-check ingredients, some are vegan and some are vegetarian

Pea protein powder

Airheads, jolly ranchers, pixy stix, sour patch kids, Swedish fish, nerds, gobstoppers, smarties, most suckers.

Rice, black beans, corn, steamed vegetables, nuts

Ketchup, mustard

Be careful, these things are NOT vegan even though you might think they are:

Vitamins (Gelatin capsules)- alternatives can be found at other stores such as MegaFood Vegan Daily multi-vitamins (gelatin)

Sour punch straws

Protein advertised products (drinks)

Orange juice (or anything for that matter) that are omega enhanced (comes from fish)

It’s easy to forget about honey- honey nut cheerios are not vegan

Mayonnaise (Dining halls have vegan mayo, but the stuff in T-store is not)

Off Campus:

Chipotle: The sofritas are actually delicious. 1. Sofritas, beans (pinto or black), rice (white or brown), fajita vegetables (made with green peppers, red onions, salt, oregano, and rice bran oil), guacamole, chips and salsa. Sofritas actually taste very similar to the chicken at Chipotle, so it feels as if you are not giving up anything. Sometimes they do not have the tofu though, and there is only the option to get the vegetarian bowl.

Taco Bell is surprisingly one of the best fast food places to find vegan options. Bean Burrito (without cheese), Bean Tostada (without cheese), Mexican Rice (without cheese), Seven Layer Burrito (no sour cream, no cheese), Hot/Mild/Fire Sauce, Fiesta Salsa, Red Sauce, Soft Tortillas, Pizza Sauce, Green Sauce, Guacamole, and taco shells.

Pure and Simple Health Food Store: Located on Winter Street. They have chicken ($4/dozen) and duck eggs ($6/dozen). The woman that owns the place owns the ducks and chickens and always told me stories about them when I went in. While they’re not vegan, they’re a good option for a more cruelty-free diet and can be a guilt-free animal product you can eat if you’re transitioning.

Supplements:

Iron pill- take with some source of vitamin C to ensure it’s absorbed.

I don’t suggest calcium supplements. If you research them more you’ll find they probably aren’t too good for you based on the way they are absorbed. (Eating Animals touches on this a little bit too)

As I mentioned previously most vitamins aren’t vegan (gelatin capsules). MegaFood Vegan Daily multi-vitamin is what I take. They’re kind of expensive, I haven’t tried getting them in Thomson, but that would be helpful.

Vitamin D has given me more energy, especially since I routinely take it during the winter. I now see a difference now that I do not have animal protein giving me energy, I feel a complete difference based on my diet.

Sample meal ideas:

Breakfast: Bagel/bread with peanut butter and jelly, or various cereals such as plain cheerios, raisin bran, panda puffs, special k, etc. with almond/soy/coconut milk. Side of fruit. Tofu scrambles with tomato, spinach and mushrooms. Roasted portobello mushrooms on whole wheat english muffins. Coffee with almond milk and non-dairy additives such as caramel or creme brulee. (both vegan options)

Lunch: Rice, black beans, steamed vegetables, avocado (all can be bought at Thomson). You could also have a pepper, tomato, cucumber, sandwich with hummus. Roasted vegetables, especially carrots, Vegan chili, tabbouleh and quinoa with vegetables and any kind of vingear, butternut squash, sweet potatoes

Dinner: fake chicken from Thomson or main vegan entrée in Hamwil with various sides such as steamed vegetables or a baked potato (make sure there’s no butter or sour cream.) Veggie burgers with chickpea or split pea soup

Contact information:

Dan Magee- Chartwells worker in Hamwil: djmagee@owu.edu

Cheryl Marcum- Thomson store manager: cmmarcum@owu.edu

Del Sroufe- Chef that has worked with OWU before: http://chefdelsroufe.com, chefdelsroufe@gmail.com

Shannon Schlater- “veteran vegan” of the project: smschlat@owu.edu

Emily Scott- “newbie vegan” : emscott@owu.edu

Callan Yanoff- “egg enthusiast and newly vegan” : cjyanoff@owu.edu, (301) 356-6822

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