Being vegan at Kenyon has its challenges, but it is far from impossible. I became a vegetarian three years ago after attending an environmental conference and learning about the impact of the meat industry on climate change. Two years later, I began to cut dairy and eggs from my diet as well. My first foray into Peirce was intimidating. I had no clue what to expect in terms of vegan-friendly options. Without carefully reading the signs, I heaved a large serving of mashed potatoes onto my plate. Half an hour later, to my dismay, I read that the potatoes contained buttermilk. I realized at this point that it was okay to mess up and that I would probably do so again (and I have). But, that doesn’t make you less of a vegan or less of an environmentalist, it makes you an ordinary person. Aside from this first lesson, I have learned a few vegan Peirce hacks throughout the past weeks:
1. If you’re tired of your usual salad, try spicing it up. Switch out lettuce for rice to create a more nutrient-dense meal.
2. Give Sunbutter a try. It’s delicious on toast or a bagel and can be found in the allergen-free section.
3. Vegan oat bars, which can be found in the vegan refrigerator, are a great addition to a dairy-free yogurt (also in the vegan refrigerator), oatmeal, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
4. Spice up your oatmeal with cereal. I personally like to add Coco-Roos to my bowl.
5. I haven’t personally vetted this, but apparently, a combination of peanut butter, sriracha, hot water, and soy sauce creates a peanut sauce that mixes well with white rice.
6. If you decide to go for pasta, add some spinach or other ingredients from the salad bar to get your share of vegetables. Tofu is also a great, high-protein addition to tomato sauce.
7. Tofu is also a great addition to your salad. In order to give it some taste, be sure to add dressing after.
8. This isn’t a Pierce hack, but it still applies to Kenyon. If you’re craving pizza, but are dairy-free and can’t eat the pies served in Pierce, order from Dominos. You can order a pizza without cheese and add any vegetable of your choice. If you’re splitting a pie with friends who do eat dairy, you can order a half vegan pizza. The best part is that you can do it all online!
9. Don’t be afraid to bring your own food to Pierce. One of my hallmates has been known to bring sweet potatoes or roasted chickpeas to add to a salad or mix with quinoa and sriracha.
10. Try the pre-made salads. Many of them are high in protein and taste great when mixed together.Although Peirce seems like a maze, there are always options available. Don’t be afraid to get creative, and try new combinations. Who knows, you might come up with something as unheard of and delicious as sweet potatoes topped with sriracha and quinoa.