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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Elon chapter.

I was raised on a fully vegetarian diet, and yes, I have never had a Big Mac. My parents are both very health-oriented people who value nutrition, exercise, and wellness. They met at the gym we still belong to this very day. Growing up, they always stressed to me and my triplet brothers how important it was to maintain good physical and mental health, along with implementing nutrition and exercise. I feel lucky to have been following these habits my whole life because of my parent’s guidance.

When my mom met my dad, he was starting to cut out red meat and fried food. She decided to join him on that journey, which eventually became our family’s lifestyle. For my dad, high cholesterol and high blood pressure ran in his family and he wanted to make the decision to prioritize his future health. My dad told me that my grandparents took medicine his entire adult life, and he didn’t want the same fate for himself. 

Now, my dad is 59 years old and in incredible health. He works out every day and still maintains the same diet he started 40 years ago. Living in New Hampshire has offered him the opportunity to even grow most of the veggies we eat during the summer months. For my mom, her decision to follow vegetarianism was for mainly moral reasons. My mother is a very compassionate woman who cares a lot about sustainability as well as animal well-being. She told me she hated cooking meat and always felt horrible about it afterward.

Growing up vegetarian was definitely interesting. In elementary school, this made me the ‘weird’ kid at lunch. My classmates could not understand why I did not eat the same foods as them, and why my packed lunch always consisted of a salad and not a deli meat sandwich. I didn’t realize it was different and even abnormal to not eat meat until I grew older. Likewise to my classmate’s confusion, I didn’t understand why they would eat an animal. I remember passing the farm on my way to school and asking my mom if people ate the cows. When she said yes, I cried for days. Through the years, I became ashamed of my eating habits and opted out of a lot of public meals.

When I entered high school, following a vegetarian diet became trendy and a lot of my friends started to follow suit. While my eating habits became more accepted by my peers, my brothers did not. As athletes and captains of our football and wrestling teams, being vegetarian was viewed as weak. Their teammates could not understand how they fueled their bodies and built muscle. Stereotypically, athletes are expected to eat meat to bulk up, but my brothers did so through protein shakes and tofu. Following a vegetarian diet should not be associated with a certain gender identity, it is not ‘girly’ and definitely does not make you weak. In fact, many professional athletes swear by a plant-based diet. Tom Brady, for example, says he eats a diet containing 80% plant-based foods.

Now a junior in college, I am proud to say I am a vegetarian. I have learned to cook all of my own vegetarian meals and incorporate more protein into my diet. I am obsessed with tofu and always find ways to add it to my meals. I am also an avocado toast fanatic and can make a mean vegan burger. My roommate and I run a food and wellness devoted account where we share our favorite recipes, restaurants, and killer exercises. Check us out on Instagram @nhnoms

Similar to my parents, I have developed my own passion for nutrition and using the food I eat to fuel my body. I love working out and use it as a way to cope with anxiety and my jam-packed schedule. Although I support vegetarianism and believe it to have had many benefits to my life, I understand the lifestyle is not for everyone and can be rather hard to follow, especially while in college and restricted to a university meal plan. 


Chloe Adams is a Campus Correspondent at Elon University entering her senior year.