To all the collegiate vegetarians, pescatarians, vegans, and other non-meat eaters out there who can relate: the struggles of being a non-meat eater in college are real. There never seems to be enough satisfying, nutritious food to eat that is not covered with  chicken, mixed with pork, or accompanied by beef. Personally, I am a pescatarian, which tends to help me out when venturing into the dining hall because sometimes salmon is made as a special. But to be frankly honest, most of the time when I go down to the dining hall, I leave feeling disheartened, dejected, and still hungry. The college struggle is real. While there are other options on campus that accept our meal cards, none of them have a good selection when it comes to food that is vegetarian, pescatarian, or vegan.

At home, I never seem to have a problem finding something to eat. Even though the rest of my family are all meat eaters, I am always able to find a way to fill my tummy. When my family hosts large gatherings, my mom always tries to make vegetarian spin-offs of the meat dishes she's already making to satisfy the vegetarians. Even at restaurants, I am usually able to find a few tasty vegetable options in the midst of a menu overtaken largely by meat dishes.

When I was younger, there were so many times when I thought about being a vegetarian, but as soon as my mom would pull that sizzling chicken dish out of the oven, I would just cave right in. Things changed when I went to Thailand the summer going into my junior year of high school and got food poising from meat, which basically ruined my entire trip. In the three weeks that I spent in Thailand, I lost twenty pounds because I could not stomach any of the food that was given to me for reasons that I have yet to understand. When I returned from my trip, it was business as usual, yet my stomach still did not agree with meat.

This is especially not fun because I love to eat and not having a good selection of dishes that I am able to eat has been hard. 

So, all you vegetarians, pescatarians, and vegans out there, I understand that the struggles of being a non-meat eater in college are real but assure you that change is possible. And, if there is no movement towards change in your school, I encourage you to write to your school's officials and bring the change. 


Your Vegetarian Friend in Despair

P.S. Here are some great dining suggestions for both my carnivorous and herbivorous Panthers out there: