For about two years, I had really wanted to be a vegetarian. The idea of it thrilled me, the experience of trying something new is what most propelled me into wanting to try that lifestyle. However, I was a freshman in college and ate every meal at the dining hall. While they claimed to be vegetarian and vegan friendly, I couldn’t find enough food to nourish me and would end up being hungry within an hour of eating. I was also in the middle of my track season and was afraid of not being able to compete at the level I wanted or needed to, so I put it off. I decided that during the summer I would try again.
When summer came around I went head first into the vegetarian lifestyle; I completely cut out meat and fish products. I ended up being a waitress at a restaurant that served mainly meat and fish products, so I quickly resorted back to eating meat. I became a flexitarian. I tried to limit my meat consumption as much as possible, but being around it everyday was hard. I had grown up eating meat at every meal. And large helpings of it too. So there I was, a flexitarian wanting to switch over to a full fledged vegetarian.
This past April, I had to write a research paper for my philosophy class on any topic that we discussed during the semester. I had grown more and more interested in sustainability and helping the earth between last summer and April, so I chose to write about if the environment and animals had rights and if we treat the environment ethically. During my research, I had grown so concerned with the way we treat the environment and the animals within the animal agriculture sector. I saw that animal ag. is one of the biggest producers of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. I saw that fishing nets and other plastics put into the ocean by the fishing companies are one of the biggest polluters of our oceans. Right then and there my apetite for meat and fish disappeared. I couldn’t believe what was going on, and I was a part of it.
So I was a full fledged vegetarian, for the environment. In May, I went to the beach with my family and we decided to go to a crab shack for dinner because despite being a vegetarian, I really wanted to eat some Maryland Blue crabs. That is until they came out and I couldn’t help but see the lives that were no longer there. I choked down three and couldn’t eat any more. Now I was a vegetarian for the animals. I try to limit my dairy and egg consumption. I use vegan butter and almond milk and avoid cheese and eggs as much as possible.
I realize not everyone can be or wants to be a vegetarian or vegan, and I will never hold that against someone. However, I think everyone should try to do at least one meatless meal or day a week. Not matter how small the impact may be, you’re still making an impact.
Bee open to new ways of life and ideas!