Value to being vegetarian



Zoe Law, Opinion and Entertainment writer

Whenever I tell people that I am vegetarian, I am bombarded with the question, “What do you eat?” Those who have eaten meat their whole lives struggle to create a picture of my diet. They assume that all I eat is salads or ‘rabbit food,’ but there is a variety of options for vegetarian people in day-to-day life and I do not feel like I am missing out on anything.

Nearly every food people hold near and dear to their hearts that is made of meat has plant-based alternatives. Although these alternatives taste different, they get extremely close to the original and get the job done.

Transiting to being a vegetarian was difficult. I had no idea what I could or could not eat. However, I quickly adapted, and it was not as bad as I had assumed it would be. Most restaurants have a vegetarian burger on the menu now, but even in restaurants that do not, there are plenty of other options.

Being vegetarian has also led me to try foods I otherwise would not have. Protein sources such as tofu, seitan and certain mushrooms have wonderful flavors of their own and thousands of recipes that open the door to a whole new world of flavor.

I have been vegetarian for over four years now and I do not regret my choice one bit. For most people, major dietary changes are thought out ahead of time, but I was quite impulsive when I made this decision for myself.

One summer, my family and I went on a trip to Alaska. We visited a town that had a store stocked with loads of different jerky and meat sticks from all sorts of animals. At first, I was intrigued by the novelty of the assortment, but I quickly became quite disturbed.

I had not heard of people eating animals like rabbits, squirrels, or anything of the like. These animals were always reserved for being cute little friends and I could not imagine them as anything other, especially not munching on their corpses.

My final straw was when my brother began to chow down on a stick of reindeer jerky. I did not think it was right and I was not going to back down about it. It made no sense to me that my brother was so okay with eating Santa’s helpers.

My parents joked that if I really cared about the animals so much, I should become a vegetarian. Out of spite, I fully committed to their idea and swore to never let a piece of meat touch my lips again.

Intentions play a significant role in being vegetarian. They are the reason and backbone that supports an individual through their choice. My reasoning was my love for animals, but many people make the choice for spiritual, health or environmental reasons as well.

If you have ever been curious about vegetarianism or cannot imagine eating anything other than meat for protein, I encourage you to try it. Even if you try it for just a week, you can learn a lot about different food alternatives.