Where’s the lettuce at SAIT?
Eating healthy and finding enjoyable options as a student can be a challenge, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan.
“We try to stick to the menu but we do our best to cater to people’s needs,” said Jeff Villavende, who works at the Austin Grill in the Stan Grad building.
When asked if he feels it’s important to offer vegetarian choices, Villavende said, “Of course.”
He said everyone has their own reasons for being a vegetarian, including, “health reasons, and some people even have religious reasons as well.”
He also said that for some people, being a vegetarian is a matter of culture, and SAIT being a multicultural place, should reflect that.
As a company, Austin Grill values vegetarian options so much that along the wall of their station at the food court in the Stan Grad building, there’s a poster entitled We Believe that lists their commitments as a food seller that include, “We believe in quality and will never cut corners,” and, “We believe that everything tastes better wrapped in a tortilla.”
At the very top of the list however is, “We believe in choice… for vegetarians and meat eaters.”
In May of last year, Dr. Eddy Lang wrote an article discussing the rise in popularity of vegetarian and vegan diets.
“It’s important to note that the benefits of a vegetarian diet only exist if recommended guidance on nutrition, fat consumption, and weight control are followed,” Dr. Lang said in the article in the Calgary Herald.
“A healthy vegetarian diet is mostly plant-based and includes a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fats like those found in olive oil and avocados.”
According to myhealth.alberta.ca there are many reasons that people choose vegetarian diets including, vegetarian diets can be healthier than other diets, some people think it’s wrong to use animals for food, some religions forbid eating meat, a vegetarian diet can cost less than a diet that includes meat, eating less meat can be better for the environment, and some people don’t like the taste of meat.
“If properly planned, vegetarian diets can provide all the nutrients you need. In addition to that, being a vegetarian can actually be better for you,” states the myhealth.alberta website.
“Good health could be related to a diet of mostly fruits, vegetables and whole grains.”
The website suggests many different substitutes for meat, like cooked beans, peas, or lentils, eggs, nuts and seeds, tofu and peanut butter.
It also suggests that if you do not drink milk, you should drink soy drinks fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 to maintain the levels of nutrients you would get from a diet of meat and dairy.