Danielle Rennard, Culture Editor
I’ve always said that at some point in my life I would attempt to become a vegetarian. I’m pro-animal rights and have always been that girl that can’t kill the most terrifying-looking spider, no matter how big and hairy it is, because I’d feel bad. However, the fact that cheeseburgers are one of my favorite foods and that I enjoy very few vegetables was stopping me. But roughly three months ago I decided I was going to suck it up and finally try it out. I mean, I could still eat ice cream, and that’s what matters most.
Becoming a veggie-eater was a lot simpler than I anticipated and I couldn’t be happier with the changes I’ve made to my diet. I know that not eating meat isn’t for everyone, but don’t dismiss the idea right away. My biggest concern was, whether or not I would get enough protein and iron. Obviously meat provides a great deal of both these nutrients in our diets but the truth is, most Americans consume too much protein. After doing some research I found that protein is found in nuts, seeds, certain dairy products, beans, soy, some cereals, vegetables such as spinach, and of course protein shakes or supplement bars. While browsing around Whole Foods, I found a brand of pasta made of beans or legumes that contain the same amount of protein and iron as one serving of meat. My initial thought was that it was going to taste strange but I ended up buying it just to try it out. Verdict: it tasted exactly like pasta and made my mom happy because she was initially worried I’d become iron and protein deficient without meat.
My second concern about ditching meat was finding things to eat at restaurants and fast food chains. It seemed as if almost every meal written on menus contained meat, however I was pleasantly surprised to find that most places are more than happy to accommodate your diet. I have found that replacing meat with a substitute food can easily be done, and certain restaurants will even lower the price for you since meat generally costs more money. Many restaurants have incorporated a vegetarian section on the menu or include one vegetarian dish per section, which makes deciding what to order even easier.
As I mentioned before, being a vegetarian isn’t something that sounds appealing to everyone. However, it’s important to respect the choices and decisions of others and not criticize or judge. This applies not only to vegetarians, but also to vegans, pollo-pescitarian or any other diet. Whether someone is on a certain diet for health reasons, or just because they want to try it out, support them and maybe even try it yourself. Who knows, maybe not eating meat wouldn’t be as horrible as it originally sounded. Like I said, you can still eat ice cream, and vegan ice cream is amazing too.