The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Cooking Up Spiritual Life in America's Heartland

By: for The Lantern on May 7, 2010
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Photo Credits: Kathy Cubert / The Lantern
Leanne Nixon and Kristin Nappier, both 21, cut vegetables at their first class.
The vegan cooking workshops held weekly at Ohio State University emphasize the art of cooking as well as the vegetarian lifestyle.

Gurjeet Babbar, president of the ISKCON Yoga Circle Club, leads the workshops. The Ohio State club, which promotes yoga, a healthy lifestyle and a change of consciousness, is symbolized in Babbar’s own daily life. As a vegetarian for six years, she has found her decision very rewarding.

“You are what you eat,” Babbar said. “The vegetarian lifestyle treats you to a life of compassion, helps you become more physically fit and makes you look younger.”

As a group, the students at the workshop help to prepare the vegetarian recipes provided by Babbar. While some individuals find enjoyment in simply cooking, other students are more eager to learn about the vegetarian lifestyle.

Hui Jiang, a third-year in accounting, attended several of the cooking workshops held Winter quarter. Although she loves fish, she has recently been trying to become a vegetarian.

“I have cut out some meats from my diet,” she said. “I know the vegetarian lifestyle is much healthier, and the food is delicious.”

Several of the students at the event experience firsthand the benefits of vegetarianism.

Pat Janesz, a fourth-year in visual communication design, has lost thirty pounds since becoming a vegan nine months ago.

Veganism is a strict form of vegetarianism where individuals refrain from eating meat, dairy and eggs.

“It is a good weight-loss solution and gives you more energy,” Janesz said.

Jenna Brucoli, also a fourth-year in visual communication design, has renewed her vegetarian diet within the past year.

“I am doing a big senior project on nutrition, and I wanted to learn how to cook with fruits and vegetables more often,” she said.

She has found that following this diet has become less difficult than it was in the past.

“Several good meat substitutes are now available. Restaurants have also added a lot more vegetarian options,” Brucoli said.

To make the transition to become a vegetarian, Janesz recommends starting off by eliminating foods a little at a time.

“A person can begin by removing meat from their diet just once or twice a week,” he said.

Babbar shares a similar point of view.

“A really healthy start is to begin cutting down on red meats,” she said.

The benefits of the workshops stretch beyond just the education of the vegetarian lifestyle.

Along with teaching her more about vegetarianism, the workshops have helped Jiang ease into her transfer to the OSU campus this year.

“It’s been so nice to make friends here,” Jiang said. “My advice to others would be to come and try this workshop.”

The vegan cooking workshops take place every Tuesday of the Spring quarter at the RPAC from 7 to 9 p.m.
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