Dining services open to vegetarians

by Stacey Mleczko
Features Editor

More than 250 animals are slaughtered for food per second. That totals more than 8 billion animals per year in the United States alone. Animal rights activists argue that factory farming practices are inhumane and cruel. Many vegans and vegetarians exclude meat and animal products from their lifestyles as a result.

The Latin word “vegetus” means whole, fresh and lively. This word characterized the term “vegetarian.”

Vegans take the word vegetarian a little further and while they exclude meat from their diet, they also refrain from eating, wearing, using and supporting any animal products such as dairy, eggs, leather and wool. A vast majority also educate themselves on the companies they choose to support and whether or not unnecessary animal testing is a common practice.

This lifestyle has faded in and out of society with the trends of particular groups and different generations. Studies show that it may no longer be just a trend. Vegetarians and vegans are no longer adopting this alternative way of living to be popular or different.

Many dedicated to this diet have stronger reasons behind their choice than most may think. Ethical beliefs, health benefits, environmental and economical impacts play a role in the decision to sustain or convert to a herbivorous diet. Respect for animal rights, certain religions and personal taste are also determining sectors.

Tom Galaraga, a junior journalism major and staff writer for the Campus Times, is a vegan of three years and a vegetarian of five years. He said he choose to become a vegetarian based on his belief and support for animal rights and decided three years ago that there was more to be done for the cause and he restricted his lifestyle habits to support veganism.

Amy Tabullo, a sophomore communications major said she converted to vegetarianism last year as a freshman. “There are many reasons behind it. I thought eating meat was very unhealthy and it is wrong to kill animals. Now I am grossed out by the smell.”

Research has found that vegetarians are increasing in number among the college population. The University of La Verne often plays an integral part in students daily eating habits. four hundred and eighty-five residents and even more commuters are invited to access the dining facilities on campus.

Requests from students for healthier food have grown over the years and this semester those requests have been answered with fresh fruit and parfaits available at the Spot and calorie counting facts at Davenport.

“The fruit has been a big hit at the Spot,” said Senior Food Services Director Keith Friend. He said that he has served large populations of vegetarians and vegans on other campuses but he has not received any requests this year thus far.

“We have a vegetarian option at every meal [in Davenport],” said Friend. “We have a vegetarian bagel sandwich and other sandwiches available everyday [at the Spot].”

Commuter student Galaraga said, “The only thing I’ve ordered from the Spot is fries, they are fried in vegetable oil.”

Tabullo agreed with Galaraga and said, “I don’t eat at the Spot. If I am desperate, I’ll order the vegetarian pizza.”

Friend, is quick to admit that ULV dining facilities need to address the lack of vegan and vegetarian options available to students, faculty and staff.

“There is an issue with food preparation at the Spot for vegans right now. We just don’t have the space. We have designated areas of the grill but it is such a small space that when we get busy sometimes we cross the line. So that has to be addressed and we are looking to do that with the remodeling,” Friend said.

Tabullo said she thinks there was a larger variety of options in Davenport last year. “Last week was the first time I saw tofu at Davenport this semester.”

Friend spoke of the improvements planned for Davenport. “We are going to add a granary concept next week with rice, beans, tofu, noodles, a real big made to order, prepared deal that is very vegetarian,” he said. “The food is really good so it is not just for vegetarians. It will be excellent.”

Meat eating junior criminology major, Christopher Huson might disagree. He said, “Vegetarians are missing out. They can’t eat philly cheese steaks or anything else that is good. Plus, they get grilled cheese at In ‘N Out and that is just plain ridiculous.”

Friend said that vegans are the bigger target to please because Davenport always has a vegetarian entrée available. “It is really important to have options.”

Those thinking about converting to a herbivorous diet should consult their physician.

Tabullo said one of the reasons she became a vegetarian was because she was concerned for her health. She was also concerned about the deficiencies she might suffer from excluding meat from her diet.

“I went to the doctor and they gave me an advisory diet , sample foods that have increased amounts of iron and protein to make up for what I wasn’t getting from meat,” said Tabullo.

Galaraga said he used sources like the Internet and books to learn more about the issue.

Nature’s Way Health Foods in the Kmart plaza on Foothill Blvd has a full-time nutritionist on staff for assistance.

Friend said he thinks vegetarianism is healthier. “I personally eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, I don’t eat a lot of meat. Most of my meals are fresh fruits and raw vegetables. They are high energy for me. I wouldn’t call myself a vegetarian.

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