Some people voluntarily restrict their diet. I, on the other hand, had my body make the choice for me to become a vegetarian. One of the realities of being a vegetarian is getting accustomed to the lack of food choices. When I was in elementary school, I was invited to attend a summer barbecue hosted by my best friend’s family. The thought of lounging in the summer sun with fresh lemonade and playing volleyball had me agreeing to the proposal almost immediately. When I look back on it now I’ve realized that going to a barbecue as a vegetarian is not without its disadvantages.
All went well until I turned down a burger they offered me. “What, you vegetarian or something?” her father asked. They looked up at me from their respective plates like they’d never seen a non-meat eater before. I had been asked variations of this question so many times before that I already had a reply lined up. “Yes, I have been since I was nine and no I don’t think any less of you for eating meat,” I told him.
My friend’s mom stepped in and offered to make me a salad as a majority of the meal contained meat. They never invited me back to one their barbecues again after that. Not like I could blame them, I’m sure the snide bite at the end of my remark made them think twice about having me over. I left her house feeling hungry and offended. This is something I would have to get used to going forward as a vegetarian.
I’ve found that with time, the attitude towards vegetarians and dietary restrictions in general has softened, but the food choices have remained a pain to deal with. When I first came to Lorain County Community College in the fall of 2010, soup was always a guessing game. No matter how many times I used to ask the chef, they couldn’t tell me whether or not the soup contained meat. I often found myself walking away from one of my favorite dishes because the person who made didn’t remember how they made it. Eventual I learned to make their system work for me. I stayed away from soup entirely and aimed for sandwiches and pizza. Their selection of cold food has a few vegetarian choices as well, and their salad bar boasts a bevy of options.
All things considered, I think they have a decent selection for vegetarians. I just don’t think it’s enough of a selection to convince me to eat there more than once or twice a month when there are so many options off campus.
Unfortunately, when things get busy the food quality is not always what I would like it to be. I once received a grill cheese that had not been grilled at all. More than once, I’ve tried ordering the stirfry only to find that tofu is not usually available and the dish is barely cooked through. After having my gallbladder removed and stomach surgery in 2015, I’ve been pickier about my food choices. With my health being what it is, I can no longer afford to eat food that doesn’t sit well on my stomach. This includes foods rich in salt, fat, and spices. Having a round and nutritional diet is vital to performing well in my courses, so I often find myself opting away from LCCC’s food cafeteria. What I’d like to see on the menu are options lower in fat and meat alternatives. I certainly wouldn’t mind finding a snack option that doesn’t contain half a day’s worth of sodium, either.