The Meat and Dairy Industries' Harmful Effect on the Environment

VEGAN day 5
Tuesday December 04th 2007, 10:35 am
Filed under: A. Foust vegan journal

Today I am a vegetarian. But first, yesterday. Begin a vegan especially sucked yesterday. I was at a rugby tournament for most of the day. We stopped at Einstein’s Bagels on the way out of town where I was informed they did not have an ingredients list. I went there a few weeks ago with Sarah, and they managed to produce one then; I guess they’ve lost it. The overhead menu denoted vegetarian options and those containing nuts or something. It is true that vegetarianism has become more widely practiced, acknowledged, and catered to in recent years. I had to eat something before playing, so I guessed Honey Wheat with peanut butter might be a safe choice. I also had orange juice. Come lunchtime, we assessed our options at the park as hotdogs and burgers from concessions and a gas station. I rode to the gas station, featuring an “On The Run” food selection, where I surveyed less-fresh hotdogs, nachos, chips, candy, beef jerky, and candy. I passed over packaged muffins for a meal (?) of strawberry Pop-Tarts, fruit snacks, and mixed nuts. Back at the dorm I had minestrone soup for dinner. One would figure a day out and about would lead to much more enticing vegan options than (the lack of) those available on campus. I was looking in the wrong places.

After a week of dreadfully spare options, UMW students drag themselves out of the sack in the early afternoon hours of Sunday for one reason only: Seaco Sunday brunch. Tummies gurgling after a hard night of partying or relaxing, whichever the case may be, we trudge from all corners of campus and beyond for this special treat. Menus generally include bacon, sausage, carved pork, omelets, scrambled eggs, biscuits, home fries, French toast (homemade on better Sundays; sticks on worse) and the miraculous desert table, among the Seacobeck staples. I personally look forward to pancakes, available on some occasions, the pork, and cakes and pies galore. Today, however, after pacing the entire cafeteria for those promised vegan options, I sat down with orange wedges, home fries, corn, baked pasta, and the soupiest oatmeal I had ever seen until I discovered one of the many incompetent workers mislabeled the cream of wheat (one of few things I do not like). As you picture that miserable meal, I will describe how it got even worse. The home fries were labeled vegetarian, so I assume they are cooked in butter or lard or something of the like. After a few bites of the pasta, I realized the pink scraps it contained could only be meat. I asked the chef, who confirmed this, and then I turned to the Seaco workers in ridiculous Santa hats and let them know the vegetarian label on the pasta was, well, bologna. Since I had already broken both veganism and vegetarianism, and a plate of potato squares, corn, and four orange wedges failed to satisfy, I went for some French toast. I am a vegetarian today.

My tribulations launched a conversation about food with my roommates. We concluded that the vegetarian options on campus are minimal, while vegans can find no more than salad, beans, fresh fruit, processed bread and peanut butter, a few stale cereals, and soy (gym sock flavored) milk. The few hours the café is open, pasta salad or the pasta bar is available. Taking into account my omnivore roommates’ views, as if college is not enough of a culture shock, we have found our relationship with food degrading at a constant rate this year. Most girls adjust their views of food after puberty, when we find downing bags of Cheetos and packs of Oreos now suddenly affects our once-girlish figures. Those of my friends who have developed healthy eating habits had to work to get there, but most are still struggling. And then we are off to college, insecurities and misconceptions toted in with wardrobes. Hundreds are spent on required meal plans–money spent on junk. In room 222, we are tired of food. Tired of fat, grease, and oil. Tired of sugar, processed sugar, refined sugar, fake sugar, better-for-you sugar, still-bad-for-you-only-in-other-ways sugar, and syrup. Tired of a lack of color, a lack of smell other than a frying pan, and a lack of distinct taste in our food. And we know we are not alone.

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