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Peace, Love, and Veggies

By Molly Boes
On September 28, 2011

Vegetarianism is on the rise both throughout the United States and here on Xavier's campus for various reasons from hearing the health benefits associated with becoming a vegetarian or vegan to accepting it as a challenge. Currently, 7.3 million Americans follow a vegetarian lifestyle and an additional 22.8 million follow a vegetarian-inclined diet.

"I first became vegan after graduating high school; I'd never really liked meat and had been vegetarian for several years when a vegan friend encouraged me to try it," junior Marita Rivir said. "At first it was just to prove to myself that I could handle it, but I quickly learned about all the benefits: It's healthier, it's better for the environment, it's better for the animals and it's better for the people."

"My roommate challenged me to do it for a month, and when the month was over, I didn't see the point in not continuing it," said junior Alex Pool. "It's good for me, it's good for the animals, it's good for the planet."

And on Xavier's campus, students are not the only people living a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.

John Sniegocki, the faculty advisor for the Animals, People, and the Earth at Xavier (APEX) group, has been a vegetarian for 30 years since he first started college and currently follows a 12mostly vegan lifestyle.

Sniegocki's decision to become a vegan was based on multiple factors, including an ecological concern, a concern for the treatment of workers in the livestock industry, the known health benefits for being vegan — including lower rates of heart disease, cancer and diabetes — and a commitment to nonviolence.

"Adopting a vegetarian/vegan diet is one way of responding positively to all of these concerns and being a witness for life and compassion. And of course a vegetarian diet is also a very delicious way to eat," Sniegocki said. "I have certainly never felt ‘deprived' in any way in adopting a vegetarian diet."

Sniegocki also has a 6-year-old son who has been raised as a vegetarian.

Xavier is making steps towards accommodating the increasing numbers of vegetarians and vegans by offering some new (and some old) options on campus.

New this year to Gallagher Student Center's atrium is Andy's Mediterranean and Andy's at Ryans. Andy's food is all gluten-free, with the exception of their pita bread, and all MSG-free.

As far as vegetarian options go, Andy's offers hummus, a chickpea and garlic dip served with homemade pita bread; labneh, a Lebanese yogurt and garlic spread with homemade pita bread; cheesy X fries; paella, a mix of Vermicelli rice and vegetables; falafel; red lentil soup; and salads, including a hummus salad, Greek salad and house salad.

All of the food served at Andy's Mediterranean is made on location, including Andy's Greek salad dressing.

Also located in the atrium of Gallagher are the options Blue Gibbon and Subway.

Blue Gibbon offers a small variety of vegetarian options including white rice, vegetable fried rice, vegetables with sauce, vegetable egg rolls and vegetable lo mein and offers crab rangoon for pescetarians.

Subway offers a veggie delight sub that can be vegan-friendly, specially made salads and yogurt parfaits.

On a different part of campus, Currito Burrito and the new dining complex also offer some vegetarian and vegan options.

Currito offers burritos and burrito bowls with tofu as well as a variety of salads. Vegetarian snack wraps are also available in cheese, peanut butter and jelly and nutella. They also have vegetarian smoothies and a soy smoothie.

Lastly, the new dining complex has both returning options and new areas. When you enter the cafeteria, the first area you see is a gluten-free area including cereal, vegetables and desserts. They also offer a hot-vegetarian dish and different salad options every day, as well as a vegetarian soup. They offer black bean burgers and veggie burgers, pasta and cheese pizza along with a salad bar.

"I think people assume that vegans live on nothing but leaves and berries, which isn't true (unless you're a raw vegan, which is a whole ‘nother story). I enjoy things like flavor and variety in my diet just as much as the next person, and my body needs protein and carbohydrates to function properly just like everyone else. I've just made the choice to satisfy my hunger in a more socially responsible way," Sniegocki said.

Xavier is making efforts to become a more vegan and vegetarian friendly campus and is making progress. While vegetarianism or veganism may not be appealing to everyone, it can still be an interesting experience to try a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for a week and to try new foods,

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