BY LAURIE SNELL
There’s a rare breed of students out there who will avoid the $2 pizza at the Sanctuary, cringe at the burgers in the cafeteria and be constantly craving something healthy. But vegans rejoice. There are options.
While Conestoga College doesn’t have a lot of choices – there certainly are a few on campus and around the city.
Before jumping into the 5W’s of what’s good for healthy eating, it’s important to remember that the Freshman 15 can hit hard. Eating everything in moderation and slowing down on the booze will keep your mind, wallet and waistline happy.
It’s tricky being a vegan in this city. Reading the labels in the store, asking servers or chefs to rack their brains for ingredients that seem insignificant, or asking the employee at a sandwich shop to change their gloves because they’ve just handled meat and cheese, are all behaviour vegans are used to, but carnivores are not. The good news is that there are plant-based, hidden gems where staff don’t mind any of this.
The restaurant Jane Bond on King Street in Waterloo is not strictly vegan, but they are well known for having great soups and sandwiches.
That city is also home to several vegetarian or vegan options. Holy Guacamole on University Avenue and Raintree Café on King Street have many vegetarian options – give or take holding the cheese.
However, for some students Waterloo is a bit too far for a quick bite to eat. In the heart of downtown Kitchener (and more accessible for public transit users) is the Duke Street Muse as well as Café Pyrus – a mostly vegan café with cool beats, a laid-back vibe and fresh, fun local food concoctions every day. With sweets and hot eats, coffee and sandwiches, this place is a favourite of vegans.
“I love this place because there isn’t anything quite like it anywhere,” Kitchener resident Kevin Price said. “They really try to keep things fresh – and I don’t just mean food. While it’s a cool place to eat, they have live music a few times per month and they are always shaking things up.”
The other strictly vegan option in the city is Thrive Juice Bar – which actually offers a full service menu – and is just below the Bauer Lofts area on King Street in Waterloo. With handcrafted falafel, salads, green juices and a raw vegan pad Thai, Thrive is a bit more expensive and caters to a more sophisticated crowd. But don’t count them out just yet. Save up a little bit and try Thrive when you’re feeling particularly in need of a good veggie burger or homemade soup.
If you are bothered by the idea of a food preparer handling animal products and then your vegan meal, Subway, Pita Factories, Chinese food restaurants or even Shwarma restaurants have many options available.
Recent Conestoga College graduate Amary Nicolau has been vegan for five years and prepares food at home to snack on during the long days at school. “In the Kitchener-Waterloo area there is not too many options of vegan restaurants. My favourite is Thrive Juice bar. They have a nice menu of vegan and raw food (and it) is really delicious. (But) unfortunately it is not open for dinner. Beside the fact that there is very good food, I like this place because I can eat without worrying if my food got in contact with milk, eggs or meat. It’s all vegan. I don’t buy food on campus,” she said.
While the cafeteria has few options, Nicolau warns, “People are careless. For example, they might cut my vegan sandwich with the same knife they used to cut a meat sandwich and I don’t want my food in contact with meat, eggs or milk.”
BY LAURIE SNELL