A Vegan’s Guide To Freshers
Thinking of going to Uni next year? A plant-based student shares her guide to surviving Freshers as a vegan
By Daisy Moss
When leaving home and taking your first steps into a life of independence at University, you are likely to feel mixed emotions. Having to worry about your dietary requirements as a vegan on top of those emotions can be overwhelming!
Perhaps you live in a fully vegan household at home, and are concerned about sharing a kitchen with meat-eaters, or you are worried about how you’re going to fit in when it comes to shared meal times.
You are going to feel concerned before going to University but when you arrive and start having fun in Freshers week, you will realise that you had nothing to worry about.
When you get to University, prepare yourself to indulge in a takeaway or two! Getting your flat together and enjoying a takeaway together with a film or a few drinks is likely at some point. Understandably, you might be concerned about this if your other flatmates eat animal products.
So, you have a few different options. Firstly, be open about the fact that you’re vegan and try to steer your flatmates towards a takeaway that offers vegan options.
Simply say you’re happy to order your own dish and the others can share between themselves. If you are unsure about whether particular ingredients are vegan or you have any concerns, keep a vegan pizza or Chinese ready meal in the freezer which you can cook yourself without missing out on the fun!
If you’re heading out for breakfast and need a good hangover cure, research in advance a few places that offer vegan options and suggest them to your flatmates when the time arrives.
You don’t need to mention that they offer vegan options, you can simply say you’ve heard about them and the menu looks good! Try to be considerate of others choices and ensure there is a mix of different things that everyone can enjoy.
When preparing for a night out or drinks in your uni accommodation, sometimes flat mates will ask if you want to share drinks to save a bit of money.
Yet, as you probably know, alcohol can sometimes be processed using animal products such as egg whites and gelatin, which aren’t always listed on labels.
So, before you go, it will be worth looking into brands of alcohol which are vegan friendly. For example, if you’re a beer lover, you’ll be fine drinking Budweiser, Coors and Miller.
When you go out drinking, keep a list of the brands you can drink in your phone to ensure you aren’t missing out on any valuable bonding time by having to search whether a certain drink is vegan.
Learning to Cook
You may already be a fantastic cook, however that isn’t usually the case when someone begins University. But when you’re cooking three meals a day everyday, you will soon pick it up!
Start with simple recipes like mixed bean chilli, lentil spaghetti bolognese and soups. You can easily bulk make these things and freeze portions to make life easier throughout the week.
Try to eat a varied diet full of plenty of vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy. Freshers is a time when plenty of people get ill, so make sure to take care of your immune system.
Whilst you are adjusting to the new way of life, try health supplements to make sure you are consuming everything you need, but remember these shouldn’t be prioritised over a healthy diet. They might just help you temporarily whilst you get into the swing of things.
Accepting Views of Non-Vegan Housemates
If you decide to live away from home in halls or a house-share, you have to prepare to accept the views of your non-vegan housemates. There are a few things you can do to feel more comfortable sharing a kitchen with people who will be eating meat.
Firstly, arrive as early as you can and secure the top shelf of the fridge so you know that your food is kept away from any meat and dairy. You could also just have an honest chat with the people in your flat and ask if they would mind swapping.
Also, take all your own pots and pans and keep them in your own cupboard rather than in shared spaces. This way you know no one would have cooked any meat or dairy products where you will be cooking.
If anyone asks to borrow a pan, simply explain that you wouldn’t really be comfortable and they will understand.
Freshers is the best time to go to events and join societies with like minded people. Most Universities now have a vegan society which is amazing! You can share tips, have group dinner parties and help to raise awareness for veganism.
You might get on really well with your flatmates, however being able to connect with people who live a vegan lifestyle will help you to have a well rounded University experience.
Having your own space to try new recipes, eat new foods and meet like minded people through societies will enable you to thrive more than ever before!
So, put your concerns to one side and remember these tips and tricks to help you enjoy freshers and set yourself up for a great few years at University.
Words by Daisy Moss