I’ve Spent 11 Days as a Vegetarian and Here's How I Feel

After a lot of contemplation, I recently decided to make the move to being a vegetarian. Why? That's a good question. Nothing really prompted it, things just fell into place. I thought about all of the animals and environmental issues in the world today, the treatment of animals and everything that I had learned in Environmental Science in the past. Also, I hadn't eaten yet that day and it was already dinner. 

It was easy to eat a vegetarian dinner that night. No meat for one day. Easy peasy. I had a healthy salad and some pasta. What was harder was eating vegetarian in the coming days. Two days later and I was eating lots of french fries and lots of pasta. That wasn't healthy. The days became filled with stress, and it became tempting to order out. My favorite dish was the chicken parm dinner from a local pizza place, but that was off the table now. It became more difficult to find options to eat, especially healthy ones. Dinner at Friendly's turned from a cheeseburger and french fries to a cheese quesadilla with mozzarella sticks. I ate more carbohydrates and fats than I did proteins, simply because they were easier to find. Things needed to change, again. 

I began looking for alternatives to pasta and fries. Salad is a good way to eat healthier and sneak in different options, like spinach, tomatoes, cheese and peppers. A vegan friend of mine re-introduced me to Subway. I didn't think it was possible to get a tasty, filling, satisfying meal from Subway without meat, but sure enough we did! That was the first time I ever tried guacamole and spinach, and it was better than I expected. 

I also tried tofu, which was a hard adjustment. Tofu was completely different than what I expected. However, I learned that how tofu is cooked or prepared can change a lot about it. For example, I had chunks of tofu mixed in with my pasta one night. It was soft, squishy and not very appetizing. I tried it another night, however, seasoned and fried in Chinese food that we ordered, and it tasted completely different. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and will continue trying it in different ways. 

Growing up, I always hated beans as well. No matter how hard I tried to like them, I just couldn't do it. Well, being a vegetarian (and if I want to transition in the future, vegan) means that there are very few options. One of those options is beans. The cafeteria at school was serving tacos, and instead of just skipping out on taco week, I tried a bean taco instead. I put on all of the normal things that I generally put on a taco, except I substituted the meat with beans. I tried black beans and pinto beans, and I ended up liking the black beans better. I have begun trying to eat beans with other meals in new ways, but for now, I'll take what I can get! Being a vegetarian has opened my eyes to an entirely different world. I have seen the options, the treatment and world of vegetarians, and I can honestly say that I am extremely proud of all the vegans and vegetarians in the world who push everyday to abide by their dietary restrictions. I am glad to have the push to get me to try new things, because I know for a fact that I would never have tried (or re-tried in some cases) the types of foods I have since starting this journey. I'm so glad to have such wonderful friends supporting me every step of the way. I can't wait to see where else my journey takes me.