Eat yo’ veggies

Rebecca Mohr

Options for students with alternative diets on the rise

Though most stores and cafe’s on campus offer fruit and salad, many vegans and vegetarians wish there were more options for them on campus. ELIZABETH MYERS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Ron Soltys

These days the population of vegetarians and vegans on Kent State’s campus is increasing. There are numerous reasons why people decide to eat a specialized diet, but with more people not eating meat, there is more of a need for vegetarian and vegan meal options.

“There are differences in being a vegetarian and a vegan,” said Jodie Luidhardt, registered dietitian and coordinator of the food outreach program at Kent State. “Vegans follow a very strict diet and avoid all animal products. Being a vegetarian is a looser term. There are many different types of vegetarians.”

Although the two terms differ, many times the reasoning behind a student’s decision to become a vegetarian or vegan is the same.

“There are many reasons I am a vegetarian,” said Adam Oliver, sophomore computer information systems major. “But mostly I do it for myself. It makes me feel better about myself and just better in general.”

Caitlin Barney, junior speech pathology major, said her choice has to do with her health.

“I never really liked the taste of meat,” Barney said. “But it is healthier because I have a lower fat content diet, and I’m not eating preservatives not meant to be in the body.

With more students sticking to vegan and vegetarian diets, there is also more demand for those meal options on campus.

“I eat salads for most of my meals, and I can only eat so many frozen vegetables,” she said. “I would like Dining Services to offer more options. I know it’s not the most popular diet, so maybe offer some smaller portion options.”

Junior theater major Ruben Ryan agreed that there should be a change.

“There are a lot of vegetarian options sold in the various markets but to get all the best stuff you have to go from one to another, you just can’t shop at one,” Ryan said.

Whether or not they’re on a food plan, Dining Services tries to cater to all students, said John Goehler, assistant director of Dining Services.

“About three years ago we started a group called the Healthy Food Committee,” Goehler continued. “It forced us to look at what we are serving on campus.”

If a student chooses to eat off campus, they can eat at one of the many strictly vegetarian or vegan restaurants or markets throughout the area. One such place is the Kent Natural Foods Co-Op.

Elizabeth Ryan, the buying coordinator for the co-op, explains how vegetarian options are changing.

“We are selling a lot more frozen items where in the past we sold a lot more beans and rice,” Ryan said. “Kent has a history of having vegetarian restaurants and stores located here. We lost a lot of those but with the co-op we can still provide for vegetarians in the community.”

With health as a top priority for many, the vegetarian diet is also becoming more standardized. There are more options for vegetarians and vegans on campus and off. If students cannot find foods that fit their specific diets, employees at Dining Services said they’re on campus to help.

“We are always willing to work with people,” Goehler said.

Contact features correspondent Rebecca Mohr at [email protected].