An aroma of spices filled Pine Residence Hall Room 140 Wednesday as students learned how to prepare healthy vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Cal State Fullerton’s Health Center recently wrapped up its first vegetarian cooking class in honor of Vegetarian Awareness Month.
The Health Center partnered with the Gastronome to deliver different food options to students with different food preferences, as well as educate students on healthier choices.
The motivation for the class came from the success of a previous cooking class held in the spring semester, which had the same goal of giving students better food options.
“A lot of students had questions about it and they were so thrilled that we had this provided for them, so we wanted to provide it again. So this is Vegetarian Awareness Month, so we wanted something a little bit different,” said Caitlen Busch, peer health counselor.
On the menu was a lentil stew, a vegetable enriched smoothie, salad with homemade strawberry vinaigrette dressing and haupia for desert. The demonstration was put on by one of the Gastronome’s sous chefs.
“I think its just good skills for the future, so you know when you grow up how to cook for yourself and make yourself your own food and be healthy at the same time. I had a blast and it was really good food,” said Nick Mantilla, third year health science major. “It was really helpful to know good substitutes (to meat).”
Vegetarians and meat-lovers alike came to watch the demonstration and learn about healthier options.
Jennifer Fong, a 21-year-old health science major and vegetarian of six years, also came to enjoy the class.
“America’s meat industry is a little weird, I don’t really support that and its just a healthier lifestyle,” Fong said. “I was really excited when there was a cooking class that was specifically about vegetarian food because I feel like you don’t really see that a lot of the time or anything that’s specifically geared towards vegetarians and it can be hard to eat anywhere when there aren’t that many options besides salads to eat.”
Darany Hoang, a health educator at the Student Health and Counseling Center, was also responsible for coordinating the event.
For Hoang, an event like this was very important to put on for the students. It helped teach students that the key factors to a healthy lifestyle include nutrition and balanced food intake.
“We contacted the Gastronome and we partnered with them. This is our second cooking class and based on the month, since October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, we decided to go with a vegetarian meal,” Hoang said.
In addition to the healthy turnout at the vegetarian cooking class, the Student Health and Counseling Center is hoping for another big turnout at their next event for students, which will be “Nightmare on Phun Street,” an alcohol awareness event to teach students to make better and smarter choices using alcohol.