Going to university brings its challenges for everyone with new friends, a new city and exciting intellectual challenges. Many see this transitional stage in their lives as an inspiration to become a new, better version of themselves. Use this short guide to help you become vegan at university.
Take the time to learn the facts. Watch as many documentaries as you can and read as much as you can. Join a Vegan Society if your university has one and follow as many vegans as you can on social media. Understand what you are doing and why.
The very successful The Great University Vegan Challenge is a great place to start. Their level-headed approach will help you by providing recipes, nutritional advice, inspiration and support.
Think about why you really want to choose a vegan approach to life. Is it health reasons? Animal cruelty? Environmental concerns or a combination of all three? Believe me, you will get asked about it!
Vegan food often consists of cheap and easy to find ingredients. Keep your cupboards full of the following basics:
- beans and pulses
- seasonal vegetables & fruit
- dried herbs and spices
- meat substitutes eg tofu, Quorn
Do yourself a fortnightly meal plan based on the staples above. Planning in this way will allow you to control spending, avoid repetition and make sure you are never caught in a situation where the only options are animal based and you are getting all the nutrients you need.
We recommend markets for fresh produce and Asian food stores for their great range of bulk, dried produce. Supermarkets do plant based alternatives to meaty treats but these can be branded and costly, and will eat into a student’s budget. Work out a balance of the two options that fits your lifestyle best.
Speak to people on campus. Let food outlets know you are vegan and inspire them to put more vegan options on the menu. Making it easy to buy vegan might inspire others to join you.
If you are offered animal based foods, just simply reply with “No thank you” rather than the more negative “I can’t eat that, I’m vegan.” No need to mention the fact you are vegan before you are asked. And when people do ask about your veganism, which they will, keep your answers short and light-hearted. A simple “I want to reduce cruelty to animals,” is adequate and you can always have a more detailed conversation with people that are really interested.
Try your best to be an inspiration to others. Keep happy and healthy in mind and body, rising above any criticism. By remaining a glowing picture of health and happiness you could inspire others. Remember that you can still eat occasional vegan junk food indulgences as a treat!
Above all, enjoy being vegan at university.