The Cannon Vegan Barbecue
Tuesday, September 9, 20140 Comments
Frosh week is a time in a young Gryphons life with various opportunities to make friends, learn your way around campus and explore the resources and initiatives that the university has to offer. It is a week of socials and snacks, with free food at almost every event. At the University of Guelph, much of the agenda focuses on the diversity of lifestyle choices that the students can embrace, and often dietary choices are a part of these diverse lifestyles.
Choices like vegetarianism and veganism, whether they are religious dietary restrictions or just a decision of one’s own conscience, can be difficult to pursue when you move to a new place, and are half way through orientation with no clue what to eat except pizza that has been modified to fit your needs. For this reason, on Tuesday September second, thecannon.ca team was set up just outside Creelman’s Hall on Winegard Walk, handing out free meatless hot dogs and garden veggie burgers.
About 300 vegetarian and vegan students and even some faculty gathered for a bite to eat, and over the course of a few sunny hours were able to ask questions and discuss with fellow veggies about where on campus they could find suitable meals.
With an ever-growing population, the University of Guelph and the Guelph-Wellington community have seen an upward trend in the amount of people that are deciding to go green and opt for meat and animal by-product free diets. To match this increase, Campus eateries have begun to offer veggie and vegan meal options from Nature’s Kitchen and The Bullring, but also at most other places on campus that serve meat as well. Both Need-a-Pita locations and the sandwich bars in Creelmans, the UC, Prairie, Mountain and LA Pit offer veggie options, from pescetarian and vegetarian choices like egg or tuna salad, to veggie stacked sandwiches on your choice of regular or gluten free bread.
The Bullring also boasts an incredibly vegan and vegetarian friendly menu, labeling their giant chalkboard full of choices with stickers beside menu items, indicating which ones are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, et cetera. The campus pub located in the UC, Brass Taps, is following suit with the offer of Vegan Chick’n (made from chick peas, which often can be a staple in meat free diets considering they are so high in protein) on any dish on the menu. Thrill at the Grill, with locations in Prairie and Creelmans, also takes care to keep vegetarian options and tofu dishes on a separate surface from where chicken and beef stir fry and udon dishes are prepared, in order to be respectful of those who follow the diet quite strictly.
The Guelph community has also followed suit, with several restaurants downtown catering to the veggie crowd, specifically The Cornerstone and Rawlicious. Sandwiched between the block of boutiques and shops along Carden Street near Wyndham and Macdonnell, both of these restaurants boast an array of alternative menu items that get adventurous attitude that comes with vegan cooking. Rawlicious is home to some vegan twists on classic favourites, like their BLT with Kale chips, featuring eggplant bacon, or their soft tacos, a corn based taco shell stuffed with walnut refried beans and veggie toppings.
It’s important to have adequate alternatives for students who choose plant based diets to eat on and off campus, and even more so to have access to options they can prepare in at home. Several students had questions regarding which grocery stores in Guelph had the best selection of protein alternatives, where they could buy items such as soy based meat substitutes, as well as the garden veggie burgers being handed out. Between the volunteers and the attendees, lots of great recipe ideas were exchanged, suggestions on where to shop given, and everyone left full of both veggie burgers and great ideas for their next meal.
In line with the push from restaurants and citizens alike to educate people on what constitutes a vegan and vegetarian diet, and all the flavourful, exciting culinary that can be a part of the lifestyle, Vegfest Guelph will be taking place later this month, on September 21, at Guelph Youth Music Centre. The free event is taking place outdoors, where vegans, vegetarians, and people who wish to learn more about the benefits of a plant based diet can come for an afternoon of comradery, culinary creativity, and an appreciation of everything nature has to offer while taking in an array of events from public speakers to musical performances, while perusing Guelph’s best vegan and vegetarian community vendors.
For more information on Vegfest, visit www.vegfestguelph.ca