Photograph by Cassie LeBel
By Evan Nikas
Within the Grossman Commons, students will find an assortment of various food options at their fingertips. Need a quick snack? The vending machines and ‘Grab & Go’ options have you covered. Have time to sit down properly and eat lunch? A variety of hot meals and sides are at the students’ disposal. But for those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, the choices may get harder. Although there are some vegetarian options offered at Cape Cod Community College (4Cs), the choices are not as plentiful as many would like.
“A salad bar, veggie burgers and soups, as well as a yogurt and fruit bar are offered here,” said Jodie Tulloch, the Dining Services Director here on campus. “We also have various ‘grab and go’ items available.”
Vegan and vegetarian diets are both becoming more and more common, but they each have their differences. A vegetarian diet includes no meat, such as fish, poultry, or pork, whereas a vegan diet eliminates the consumption of any and all animal or animal-derived products. Both have been known to lead to a healthier diet, as the vegetable substitutes are are usually rich in nutrients compared to meals containing meat.
For those looking for something other than a salad or yogurt to snack on, the cafeteria does offer a few hot items that follow a vegetarian’s needs, such as veggie burgers and an assortment of main dishes that include a specifically vegetarian side dish.
“Certain main dish items on the hot line at lunch include vegetarian sides,” Tulloch said. “For example, today we had Eggplant Parmesan.”
But for some, a simple vegetarian side along a non-vegetarian dish just won’t cut it. For those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, they don’t want to be cut out from a main meal just because the school is limiting their options. Yet change may be on the horizon, if people make their voices be heard, because the door is open to expand vegetarian options within the cafeteria outside of just adding more salads.
“We are always introducing new food items in all categories, including vegan and vegetarian items,” said Tulloch. “This includes new and exciting recipes and keeping up with the latest food trends.”
The door is open to more vegetarian and vegan options being introduced and available to students, it’s just a matter of when. An increase in variety of these options can be expected as more and more recipes are introduced to the rotation of meals in the cafeteria.
But the lack of options might not be the only thing those who follow this diet worry about. If you were to wander into a supermarket, you’d notice that many organic or vegetarian options and snacks may have a slightly more expensive price tag. So at 4Cs, if more and more vegan and vegetarian options are introduced, would they be more expensive compared to their counterparts? The answer is no.
“All of our menu items are priced the same,” said Tulloch. “Whether they are vegetarian or not, the price is the same.”
With that in mind, students shouldn’t be worried about breaking the bank to get a bite to eat. This allows students who follow a vegetarian diet to not feel punished for choosing a diet that might be considered alternative to the norm.
Of the many individuals that adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet, the reason why varies from person to person. Whether it be for ethical reasons, or to simply try to eat a little healthier, a vegetarian way of life is a popular alternative to a regular diet.
“I started to do it because I don’t like eating meat if it feels like, or reminds me of, an animal,” said Hyannis resident Toria Campbell. “What they do to animals is terrible, and I feel like even if it’s just one more person to [go vegetarian], it helps.”
For many, being a vegetarian is more than just a diet and or “picky” about what they consume. It’s a way of living a healthier lifestyle. With the door open to more vegetarian options being introduced to the cafeteria within the Grossman Commons, vegetarians and vegans here on campus can look forward to an increased variety of options to choose from when looking for a bite to eat.