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Vegans will no longer find themselves frantically searching Falvey Memorial Library for a College Vegan Survival Guide or scouring the Main Line for vegan restaurants. Rather, they can indulge themselves with kale and garlic hummus through Dining Service’s new vegan support initiative.

Throughout the month of November, Dining Services featured a variety of vegan options in all dining locations on campus. Nov. 4-8 was Hummus Week. Black Bean and olive hummus, roasted red pepper hummus and chipotle hummus were featured in the food line in Dougherty Hall.

Meanwhile, Nov. 18 hosted Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potato Doughnuts and Nov. 25 featured Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes.

As the concentration of vegans increases on campus, many students have expressed positive feedback about the choices offered.

“The vegetarian bar in Dougherty is a vegan’s heaven,” said Jack Holden, freshman and a newcomer to the vegan lifestyle. “I am so impressed with the efforts Dining Services has made to accept an often-ostracized group.”

What exactly is a vegan? Being a vegan is more of a lifestyle choice and a philosophy of thought than a diet.

Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients (even marshmallows and salad dressing).  According to an article published by PETA, approximately 2.5 percent of people in the United States are vegans.

Some notable vegans include Albert Einstein, Henry Ford and H.G. Wells. Surprisingly, vegan meals are offered at several nationwide chains, such as Denny’s, Subway, Johnny Rockets, Little Caesars, Papa John’s and Chipotle.

Eating animal fats and proteins has been shown in studies to raise a person’s risk of developing cancer, diabetes, heart disease and a number of other illnesses. Another U.S. study involving half-a-million people found that red meat and processed meat eaters died prematurely more frequently than other people.

An article published in Food Technology in October 2012 explained that plant-based diets either minimize or completely eliminate people’s genetic propensity to developing chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and even cancer. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes contain no cholesterol and are low in fat, especially saturated fats.

Forbes recently named its top 10 food trends of 2013, and high-end vegan fare topped their list. Chef Tal Ronnen has catered vegan meals for many celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey and newlyweds Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. Now he owns Crossroads, an L.A. vegan restaurant that serves artichoke “oysters” with artichoke puree, crispy oyster mushroom and kelp caviar and “crab cakes” composed of hearts of palm, apples and beets.

This is not just a West Coast fad. Upscale vegan restaurants are popping up all over the country. Vedge in Philadelphia, True Bistro in Boston and Pure Food and Wine in New York are just a handful of examples.

Dining Services plans on continuing its support for the vegan lifestyle past the month of November and into the future.

 
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