Vegetarianism at CMU: How You can Lead a Healthier Life

Story by Megan O’Neil
Photo by Anne Langan

College can be a wonderful time for adaptation – whether it’s using that coffee buzz as a ticket to board the study train, learning to survive pre-exam all nighters, or understanding a milk crate can double as a storage bin and additional seating.

Accepting change in the name of efficiency can usher in a whole new lifestyle, and if you’re willing to let that change spread, you may be considering making some dietary changes.

Central Michigan University supports just about any eater – cafeteria connoisseur, pizza pirate, vegetarian etc.

But, if you’re looking for a way to cut down grocery bills, carbon emissions or sustain a healthy lifestyle, then pizza parties and ramen-ragers might not be the answer. But, vegetarianism might be.

Understanding Vegetarianism
Regardless of your reasoning, if you’re looking for change, vegetarianism isn’t that path to starvation and malnutrition your protein lovin’ friends warned you about.

After stepping into one CMU’s Student Advocates for Vegetarian/Veganism meeting, it is obvious no one is wasting away. The room was anything but filled with the moans of people on the brink of starvation.

Instead, it was full of people who found a way to reduce their grocery bills and carbon footprints by avoiding the meat section. In addition, they were passionately trying to reduce animal cruelty and inhumane practices.

As many vegetarians and vegans will admit, cutting down on one’s meat consumption doesn’t mean transitioning from feasting on meat to picking through a salad. Instead of thinking about what one can’t eat, it’s a push to think about what new things one can eat.

Expanding Your Horizons
Ever heard of quinoa or tempeh, or even tried marinated tofu? Adding high protein meatless options maintains the diet needed to keep seeing “gains” in the weight room, without relying on meat.

Eating it doesn’t have to be boring, either – say hello to spices. Even if it’s only substituting black bean burgers for their beefier brothers, it doesn’t take long for your bank account to thank you.

Adding veggies into your diet doesn’t have to be painful. Just about anything from the produce section of your grocery store can be sautéed with garlic salt and pepper for a side dish, and if you’ve decided you want to try to add some veggie proteins, try using a food processor to combine black beans, onion oats, an egg (or egg substitute) and spices of your choice for your very own black bean burger.

Making the Change
If vegetarianism/veganism sounds like something you’d be willing to learn more about, do your research or stop into a SAVV meeting!