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I Never Thought I Could be a Vegetarian

 

Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved eating bacon, chicken and a good steak any day of the week. She was the type of girl who would say things like “You don’t eat meat ever?! But what about bacon?!”, “I don’t know how you do it!”, and “I could never become a vegetarian”. Fast forward several years, this same girl who is now living with her best friend, a vegetarian for 10+ years who may or may not have had an influence on her, runs out of chicken and “accidentally” eats as a vegetarian for the remainder of the school term realizing it’s not actually hard to stop eating meat. Fast forward again to the present and this same girl (spoiler alert: the girl is me) has now been a vegetarian for a year and a half.

 

So, despite the fact that the initial reason for becoming a vegetarian was more or less just me being lazy and cheap, not wanting to buy chicken, it showed me that becoming a vegetarian was not this impossibility. A few months after going back to eating meat, I decided to make the conscious decision to cut meat out of my diet. It was a combination of the many reasons one becomes a vegetarian that led me to make the switch. I did it for health reasons: although eating the right kind of meat isn’t necessarily unhealthy, plant-based protein tends to be better for you. I also did it to save money. Buying a can of beans is significantly cheaper than buying a pack of chicken breasts and I am a very poor uni student who needs to save every penny I can. I did it because I am a huge animal lover and environmentalist, cutting out meat not only helps the animals but also decreases your carbon footprint. Now, I’m not a perfect environmentalist. I still eat other animal by-products but maybe one day I will decide to go vegan. Until then, I will selfishly enjoy my cheese and ice cream.

 

 

I have to admit the transition wasn’t exactly perfect. It started off really well. I didn’t really feel much different but I knew I was putting good food into my body and enjoyed a balanced diet. Then I moved to Florida for three months and the temptations of the delicious but very unhealthy foods of America got to me. I ended up getting into really bad eating habits, felt more tired, and had a lot less energy, and it took a meeting with a nutritionist when I got back home to tell me my iron had dropped and that I was basically just replacing the protein needed in my diet with more carbs. Though carbs are the best, they alone can’t quite make up a sustainable balanced diet. It was kind of a wake-up call and made me realise that becoming a vegetarian doesn’t automatically make you healthy. In reality, I needed to make the right decisions every day about what I’m eating in order to be healthy. So I took to YouTube, some cookbooks I have around the house, and some recipes the nutritionist gave me and found a bunch of recipes that not only tasted really good but were healthy and easy to make. Now I try to rotate through the recipes so that I don’t get sick of eating the same thing for weeks. And for the most part it works really well.

 

 

Now, do I make the right decisions every day? Absolutely not. And for that, I blame Ben and Jerry’s, cookies, midterms/finals, and chocolate for making those decisions incredibly hard. I can say it has gotten a lot easier, though. Once you make eating healthy a habit, it becomes much less of a chore.

Now I’m not trying to convince everyone who reads this article that they should become a vegetarian. I completely respect everyone’s decision on what they want to eat. What I am trying to say is that making the switch was a good decision for me and maybe if you’re someone who thinks they could never do it, like I was, you might come to realise that it’s not that crazy of an idea.

Sammy Walton is a third year Kinesiology major at the University of Victoria. She is hoping to find a career in the exercise, physical health, or physical therapy fields. She enjoys staying active, outdoor activities, fashion, and anything Disney and often uses them for inpiration as a HerCampus at UVic writer.  You can see her in action by following her on Instagram @sammywalton
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