Hi friends! Ever wondered what it’s like being vegan in East Africa? Read on, I’m about to tell you all about it. But first, you may be wondering, what in the world was I doing in East Africa, and why has my blog been silent for so long?! Well, after graduating in May (yes, y’all, finally!) I had the great opportunity to participate in a study abroad session in Tanzania with UT Arlington and the University of Cincinnati. I asked my mom if that could be my graduation gift–to go to Tanzania with my classmates and learn how to give back using my recently acquired landscape architecture skills. My mom was absolutely supportive of this idea, and she also suggested that I expand my trip to include Taiwan (for a personal meditation retreat) and Vietnam (for vacation with family), before embarking to Tanzania. So I have been abroad for a month this summer, and am finally back home now, settled enough to start blogging more about the experiences! Continue reading
It’s crunch time! The fall semester is coming to a close and finals are upon us. I completed my final projects last week, and I thought it would be useful to share my study snack essentials that helped me get through it all.
I’m finally getting around to editing all my food photos from my travels this summer!
In early June, my sister Anna and I went to Portland with our friend Kathy Vo (pictured above on the top left), on a mission to taste all the mouth-watering vegan food and see the gorgeous sights. Here are the tasty highlights of our adventures (basically almost everything we tried). My absolute favorites are in bold.
After being up since 4 am C.S.T. to catch our flight and experiencing flight delays, my sister and I arrived in Portland way past lunchtime. We were feeling delirious with hunger. After checking in at our Airbnb with Kathy V., we headed straight to the food trucks at Mississippi Marketplace. We were joined by my friend Elaina from high school (pictured above on the bottom left)!
Thank you to everyone who visited the Vegan Club’s booth at the UTA Activities Fair earlier today!
Although I have graduated, I am still pretty involved with the club, so I was in charge of the booth at the Activities Fair today. We handed out a couple hundred mini chocolate chip cookies, soy/almond milk samples, and educational pamphlets with information and recipes!
Here are the top ten recurring questions we received at the booth today. Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with us–hopefully you will find the resources below useful!
- Do I have to be vegan to join the Vegan Club? I’m not vegan, but I want to eat healthier–can I join?
Being vegan is not a prerequisite for joining. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or non-vegetarian, you are welcome to join our club! We are not an exclusive group–we are here to help anyone and everyone who has questions about veganism on campus.From our Facebook page:
Our purpose is to promote the varying aspects of veganism in a positive manner. We aim to inform the public about veganism and its impact on animals, human health, and the environment. We hope to disprove the negative stereotypes about veganism in our efforts; we are not an elitist group and we accept all members who want to learn, vegan or not.
- How can I keep in touch with the Vegan Club?Facebook is the best way to keep up with our events and the best place to ask questions! If you need a recipe suggestion or have questions, people in our group are always ready to help with answers from experience, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can also follow the Vegan Club on Tumblr.
- What is the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan? Why don’t vegans eat dairy?
Here is an excerpt from my detailed blog post about different types of vegetarians, originally published on The Shorthorn, UTA’s student news website on September 18, 2013. Read the post to learn more about students who are vegetarian or vegan at UT Arlington.
A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat, but they might eat eggs and/or dairy. A vegan is someone who avoids animal products period, including dairy, honey, eggs. Vegans also avoid animal products such as fur, leather and wool. I gave up dairy in high school for a variety of reasons, the first being my love for the animals.
I love cows, awwww!
- I’ve been wanting to become a vegetarian/vegan, but I don’t know where to start–can you help me?
Before you make drastic changes to your diet, be sure to consult your doctor first. You can definitely count on us to answer your questions, based on our experiences, but don’t use us as a replacement for your physician.Here are some free resources that may be helpful to you (check them out for advice and tons of recipes):
+ Oprah’s Vegan Starter Kit
+ ChooseVeg.com (My favorite part of this site is the “Build A Meal” section!)
+ Veg Starter Kit | The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
+ Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating | Vegan Outreach
+ 7 Back to School Vegan Essentials
- Where can I eat vegan food?
The Vegan Club has worked with several other groups to get UTA to install a veggie line that carries vegan options (the chefs are also very accommodating–just ask), though it could use some improvements. Places near campus that have vegan options include Beirut Cafe, Pie 5, Smiling Moose Deli, Cool Berry, Potager Cafe, Freebirds, Chipotle, and Mellow Mushroom. My favorite place is Loving Hut on Matlock, the closest vegan restaurant to UTA (about 15 minutes away). They have a great selection of vegan pizzas, wraps, sandwiches and rice dishes. Pictured below: Loving Hut’s carrot muffins.https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=628208733913622&set=pb.132147763519724.-2207520000.1390439568.&type=3&theater
DallasVegan.com has a useful printable dining guide that features many vegan restaurants and options around DFW.
- Are there vegan options at fast food restaurants like Jack in the Box?
I tend to avoid most fast food chains. However, sometimes my omnivore friends insist on going to a fast food place. If I am put into that situation, I turn to VeganEatingOut.com to read up on all the vegan options available–I always research my options before going out, so that I know how to make the best of my options. Here is their guide for Jack in the Box.
- How do you get your protein? I’m into fitness and am worried about getting enough protein as a vegan.
Protein is not as hard to get as you may think! Beans, tofu, and nuts, among many other foods, all have protein.In 2012, UTA kinesiology senior Courtney Redden and her classmates conducted an interesting study about veganism and exercise. You can read about their findings, learn about Redden’s triathlon fitness routine, and check out her workout playlist in my article on The Shorthorn’s site.
The veg starter kits mentioned above (#4) have advice for getting enough protein, also. Still worried that veganism will hinder your fitness goals? Check out this list of top 10 vegan athlete blogs–being a vegan athlete is completely possible.
- How many types of vegan milks are there? Soy, almond, hemp, coconut, rice, cashew and hazelnut are the main types of alternative milks. Each kind usually comes in three flavors, on average (plain, vanilla, chocolate). So, I estimate that there are about 21 types of vegan milk out there! In my personal experience, most of these (if not all) can be found at Kroger and Whole Foods on Lamar St. in north Arlington. Even Target, Wal-Mart and CostCo carry soy and almond milk now.
- How can we get UTA to have better vegan options?So glad you asked!
This is an ongoing effort with us. Here’s a little history…In 2012, the Vegan Club collaborated with seven other student organizations and Student Congress to pass a resolution calling for a vegan dining line on campus. Our hard work paid off. Student Congress voted and passed the resolution UNANIMOUSLY, and the vegan line was installed the following semester.
However, since then, the line has changed to a vegetarian line, sometimes having vegan options…vegans often have to special-order meals.We’ve come a long way in expanding the options (there’s soy milk at breakfast and lunch now), but we have a long way to go. Vegan Club appreciates the dining staff very much, and would like Dining Services to follow through with all of the goals in the resolution we passed.
We want to be in a position to regularly follow up with Dining Services to ensure that the cafeteria does continue to keep plant-based options available and varied for students. Another step that has not been taken by UTA, though it passed in the resolution, is the labelling of all ingredients on the dishes served at Connections Cafe. Even non-veg students, some of whom have allergies or are health conscious, have voiced their concern about the need for more ingredient clarification.Vegan Club needs more enthusiastic individuals to join the group to voice our concerns (that’s you).
We are currently looking for a student to carry out the officer role of Dining Services Correspondent. Because we all have many roles to play as officers, and because many of us are seniors (or grad students, like me) we feel the need to assign this duty to a specific person. If there is enough interest and participation from our members, maybe a dining committee can be formed. If you are interested, please comment on this post, or email veganclubuta(@)gmail(.)com and to let us know of your interest!
- I want to go vegan, but I love [insert food here] too much–do I have to give up my favorite foods to go vegan?
Vegans still enjoy pizza, mac and cheese, ice cream, phở, cookies, even candy bars…you name it! Whatever you like to eat, there is probably a vegan version of it. Eliminating dairy is not a limitation–I always think of it as an opportunity to experiment with new ingredients and flavor combinations.
If you have a specific craving, please leave me a question about it in a comment, or make a post in the Facebook group. The Vegan Club is here to help you, so please don’t hesitate to ask us anything you want to know about veganizing your favorite foods.
We handed out two kinds of chocolate chip cookies today, and got many requests for the recipes! Come back on Friday to get the recipes.
Any other questions? Please let me know! 🙂
The premise of Thanksgiving is not something I personally celebrate, and I definitely don’t eat turkey (here’s 50 million reasons why), but I am always grateful to have time off from school to spend time with loved ones. And it’s a time for students like me to catch up on studying, of course. Some break!
Quite a few of my friends at UT Arlington are international students, so they will not be attending large family Thanksgiving dinner parties. This is a post dedicated to them. If you’re having a quiet holiday this year and are unsure of what to make, here are a few yummy suggestions for a solitary, vegan Thanksgiving celebration. You don’t necessarily have to cook for hours and most of the dishes can be also be made gluten-free.