Finding Halal Food At Mount Holyoke

Living away from home can be hard. One of the hardest things to get used to when you’re away from home is finding food that caters to your dietary restrictions. After living in the US, I’ve become accustomed to scanning every food item for possible traces of meat or alcohol and handing my friends “suspicious” pieces of tofu that look too much like real meat to taste before I take a bite. It was such a hassle to find permissible meat that I had forgone meat altogether and temporarily became vegetarian for the time I spent on campus. This had become such a habit for me, so much so that even when I went home over the break I found myself reading over the meat dishes on the menu and asking for vegetarian options, forgetting that virtually every meat served back home is halal. Cutting out meat led to negative effects on my health. I found myself feeling extremely drowsy and unable to get out of bed. When I had my blood tested, my Vitamin B-12 was shockingly low and since it's a vitamin that is mainly derived from the consumption of meat, my doctor recommended that I start eating meat again and also taking supplements to fulfill my requirement. This is when I realized that I had taken the easy way out and had to re-evaluate my options. For those of you struggling to find halal meat on campus, here are some options that I have found to be helpful.

 

1. Wilder Kosher Dining Hall​

While the food here is not labeled halal, it is Kosher approved and is said to be permissible depending on different schools of thought. While Wilder serves a large selection of vegetarian items, it also has meat days on certain days of the week. It also has a great assortment of spices that you can add to your food in case you feel like it's too bland for your liking.

 

2. Abbey-Buckland

In case you don’t like what they’re serving at Wilder or if it’s a non-meat day, head on over to Abbey-Buck. While Abbey-Buck does not serve halal food throughout the week, they do have halal entrees on Tuesdays and Thursdays if you’re looking for some variety.

 

3. Eliot House

Eliot House is the office of religious and spiritual life on campus. You can find halal options at its Jummah (Friday) Lunch that is held weekly which is followed by the Jummah prayer and Muslim conversation. The event is open to people of all faiths so be prepared for some great food and even better conversation!

 

4. Pita Pockets

If you’re willing to venture off campus, you can find halal meat at Pita Pockets in both Northampton and Amherst. Pita pockets features a great selection of pita wraps, falafels and shawarmas. They also have sides such as chicken fingers, fries and hummus that you can add to your wrap or eat on its own. Their sizing is also pretty big so you can always save some for later if you can’t finish it all in one go!

 

5. The Halal Cart​

If you’re like me and love spicy food, head on over to the Halal Cart in Amherst. They offer a number of halal options. My personal favorite is the chicken over rice bowl. If you’re not a fan of the spice though ask them to hold off on the hot sauce!

These are just some of the options that I have found to be helpful when looking for halal food on campus. It can be stressful and at times daunting to actively scan each dish for ingredients  but know it all pays off when you make informed decisions and you learn so much more about possible allergens and eating healthier in general. Of course you don’t have to force yourself to eat meat to stay healthy. There are other sources of protein that are found in vegetarian-friendly foods such as tofu and beans. If you still feel sluggish, you can always take supplements alongside eating healthy to maintain your requirements. College can be stressful, even more so when you live thousands of miles away from home. It’s important not to neglect your health and make sure you’re getting the nutrients that you need!

 

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