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Strict Vegetarian/Vegan Diet while on college meal plan?

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Old 10-03-2011, 05:22 PM   #1
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Default Strict Vegetarian/Vegan Diet while on college meal plan?

Hey guys!

I'm a new vegetarian... I mean... I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for nearly five months earlier this year... and then a doctor told my mom I had to eat meat. So I did.

However... I'm of the opinion that a human's bodily organs as well as teeth are suited for the digestion of fruit and vegetables... not meat or other animal products.

So... that's my reasoning. I have nothing against the humane death of an animal for clothing, carnivore food, products that work best with animal products, etc etc. So... my lifestyle isn't vegan. It's eco-friendly without a doubt... but not "vegan".

But diet-wise... I have a strong desire to be.

Another problem though... I have a gluten intolerance. So... yeah. No wheat, barley, oats, or anything with gluten. (corn and rice are OK)

That... and I'm on the college meal plan, and I do not have anything but a microwave available in order to cook meals in my room.

So far I've just been having stir fry (I choose all ingredients) and salads... with a few fries... (with vitamins, nuts, fruits, etc) but... I feel as though it could get quite boring after a while (it's not so far though). The soups almost always have either dairy, eggs, or meat in them... and since I live in Texas... most other things have meat in them... but I'm really wanting to do this... as a lifestyle change... not as a fad.

So... any thoughts?
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:17 PM   #2
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I have been a pescatarian for 14 years and just recently started to get a bit sensitive to gluten (I think- I haven't rigorously tested it yet).

I think it will be challenging to be gluten-free and vegetarian on a college meal plan. I can't tell from your post if you do or don't eat eggs, but here are some ideas for lunches:
- omelets
- quiche
- taco salads (cabbage topped with beans, salsa, cheese)
- tacos (with corn tortillas)
- veg soups when available (broccoli, cream of spinach, tomato, etc)
- lentil soups when available
- egg drop soup
- Indian food, if they ever serve ethnic meals (dal, channa masala, curried vegetables)
- Mediterranean dishes: hummus, baba ghanoush
- Chinese stir fries (to mix up the usual stir fries it sounds like you're having)
- Veg sushi (if your college ever serves that)
- tofu-based dishes
- lots of beans and lentils

I would say Thai food (curries, pad thai with rice noodles), but all Thai food has fish sauce in it so it may not work.

A lot of this depends on what your college serves. To be honest, if you find that you are relegated to fries and salads for the rest of the year on your diet, it may be worth considering adding in fish or poultry to your diet. I say this as a vegetarian, so I know how difficult it is to eat meat when you don't want to. I haven't eaten it in 15+ years! BUT I went to a university which offered vegetarian options every single day, so I was able to get in all my protein and vitamins. After my freshman year I got out of the meal plan so I could manage my own food.

Your health is most important, so if you feel that your university's meal plan (I assume it's required for freshman?) doesn't allow you to adhere to your dietary restrictions while being healthy, you may either want to consider 1) shifting your diet slightly or 2) trying to cook more food by yourself in your dorm. The latter is really difficult, i know, which is why the former might be more of an option.

Again, it all depends on what your dining hall offers. I just think it's useful to consider your health and adapting your diet (temporarily!) if your future just looks like fries and salads. Good luck!
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Old 10-07-2011, 03:55 PM   #3
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Hey guys!

I'm a new vegetarian... I mean... I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for nearly five months earlier this year... and then a doctor told my mom I had to eat meat. So I did.
I think it's time for a new doctor Did you know that most doctors do not receive nutritional training in med school? That's why they hire dietitians to dole out nutritional advice. There's a good article about it in the NY Times.

To say that any person needs to eat meat is a very outdated concept. No one needs to eat meat. All of our nutritional needs can be met on a plant based diet while at the same time eliminating everything that is bad for our long term health. Vegans sometimes lack B12 but vegetarians can get b12 through dairy and eggs. Just buy a good multivitamin that includes B12 and you won't miss a thing.

For the record, I'm a gluten free plant eater as well! I've only been gluten free since Feb of this year, and completely dairy free for about 2 months. I have discovered the need to cook from scratch more than ever, so I can understand your difficulty managing it in a dorm.

Are you allowed a hot plate?

Do you live near home or a friend that would let you use their kitchen on weekends to cook meals to store in the freezer and fridge?
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Old 10-08-2011, 05:15 PM   #4
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I'm not vegetarian, although I eat very little meat. I just moved to Texas and was shocked at the lack of vegetarian options, so I feel your pain.

Can you have a rice cooker or crockpot in your dorm? You can make full meals in a rice cooker or crockpot. My favorite is a brown rice/lentil combo, for the rice cooker, that I found on the fatfreevegan website.

Oh, and Bob's Red Mill sells gluten-free oats now.

Can you talk to someone at the University about whether the kitchen can accommodate you? Especially with gluten-free options? It can't hurt to asks.
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Old 10-09-2011, 11:32 PM   #5
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This particular doctor was actually a nutritionist... not a normal doctor... but yeah.

I can't have any type of rice cooker or crockpot. I was looking into the microchef or whatever it is. It's called something like that... sort of a mini-oven or something... and that's allowed. Not much is allowed in this dorm though... it's made almost completely out of wood... so it would burn up real fast. But yeah.

I do live 45 minutes away from my grandparents... and I can use their oven anytime... so that's an option. I would love to just be able to stick with the meal plan instead of spending my other money on food... I'll see about talking to the kitchen director or whatever... at least with the gluten free stuff. Since there's really not that much... though there is some.

Thanks guys.
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Old 10-18-2013, 01:32 PM   #6
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[b]I think it's time for a new doctor Did you know that most doctors do not receive nutritional training in med school?
That makes sense because when I recently talked to my GP or really my GP's nurse about my discontent with WW and my goals on a semi-vegetarian diet, she still argued that I could eat candy while on WW even though I mentioned I'm basically a sugar addict and she knows I have PCOS with an insulin resistance. Anyway, she started off about all these diets, that sounded more faddish then again. For the record, she's also overweight so she probably struggles herself. Anyway, when I asked for diet pamphlets, the only thing I got was information on low-carb and 1800-calorie diets and when I pushed for vegetarian information, they ended up going online to print it out.
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:55 PM   #7
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Even nutritionists are taught that meat/dairy products are supposed to be part of our diet. My mother, who is a nurse, had a conversation with a college student who was studying to be a nutritionist and they started talking about veganism because my mom is one, as well as me. The girl didn't know anything about dairy being bad for bones etc because it simply wasn't in her textbook. She was very interested in veganism after that.

I didn't start being vegan until after college, so yeah it's very hard to avoid meat if you can't cook most of your meals. Maybe you can move out of the dorms to a college apartment or another living arrangement in future semesters where you will have access to a kitchen.
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