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Kaitlyn O'Connor / Gavel Media

Vegetarian for a Week at BC

Although the BC dining halls have plenty of options for students without dietary restrictions, since I've arrived here, I've wondered what it would be like to be a vegetarian navigating the BC dining scene. So, I dedicated myself to being a vegetarian for a week to experience the dining halls from a new point of view. 

The easiest meal to navigate as a novice vegetarian was breakfast. During the school week, I normally eat breakfast in my dorm, so I did not have to adjust my plans to accommodate being vegetarian. However, on the weekends, my friends and I usually get breakfast in Mac. I noticed plenty of vegetarian-friendly options such as french toast, omelets, yogurt, and breakfast sandwiches. 

Lunch was a little more difficult but still manageable. I was still able to find good dishes that I was interested in eating, but I also got to branch out and try new things. My favorite vegetarian lunch dish I tried was the bowl in Eagles Nest. These bowls are super adaptable for many different dietary restrictions, pretty filling, and very tasty as well (especially the mac and cheese)! One new lunch dish that I tried was the sweet and sour tofu on a Mac. I don't mind tofu, but it's still not something that I normally go for. The tofu dish I tried was ok. I did not particularly enjoy the texture of the tofu, but, as a whole, the dish grew on me, and I finished the whole thing. I probably will not get it again, though. Another lunch dish that I enjoyed was the Mediterranean bowl in Mac. I ordered it with falafel instead of chicken, as I normally would. The falafel was super dry, but the toppings helped to balance it out. I tried going to the Rat one day as well, and it did not have too many vegetarian options. Overall, I think Mac is the best dining hall for lunch for a vegetarian. 

Dinner was the most difficult meal to find appealing vegetarian options. During the week, Mac has plenty of vegetarian dinner options; however, during the weekend, most of the different Mac stations are closed, so the options are extremely limited. The only consistent vegetarian option is the veggie burger. Like the falafel, the veggie burger was incredibly dry. It didn't taste bad, but its dryness made the whole burger unenjoyable. One vegetarian option I enjoyed was the stir-fry station. I got noodles with tofu, and they were pretty good and filling! One night, my friends and I went down to the lower to see the vegetarian options. Lower had significantly fewer options compared to Mac. I ended up making a salad from the salad bar, but the only other vegetarian option I noticed at lower that night was tofu curry. 

Ultimately, being vegetarian for a week was challenging but not impossible. I was pleasantly surprised about how many vegetarian options there were and dishes that could be adapted to fit a vegetarian diet. One thing I noticed is that vegetarian meals were less filling compared to normal meals, especially meals that did not have any protein. For example, I got a poke bowl without any fish. When I got back to my dorm, I ate some yogurt because I was still hungry. Being a vegetarian definitely leads me to snack more. Additionally, Many of the vegetarian and vegan options in the dining hall use tofu as the protein, so I could imagine that if someone didn't like tofu, they would have a very hard time being vegetarian or vegan. Most nights, I did not have trouble finding something I wanted to eat, but I could imagine that a true vegetarian would get sick of the already limited options. I didn't hate being vegetarian, and honestly, I would try it again for a longer period. This experiment was fun because I tried many different dishes that I don't normally try, such as many of the tofu dishes. This experiment also gave me more empathy for people who are vegetarians all the time. 

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