Wednesday Wisdom: Vegetarians Eat Grass

That’s a saying that I have to deal with daily. Other common misconceptions are that vegetarians only eat salads, or that we think meat-eaters are murderers (again, not true!). I’ve been a vegetarian for about eight years. It wasn’t a spontaneous decision – I was never really a big fan of chicken or beef and, being from the Caribbean, it labeled me as strange.

]My total conversion to vegetarianism came as a result of the endless animal cruelty videos I had to research for a school project, as well as my fear of acne since I am highly prone to it.

Now, that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy seafood, cheese and eggs. I’m actually a pescatarian – one who can consume dairy products and seafood without the guilt. There are over six types of vegetarians and if you ever consider trying it out, I recommend researching which type is best for you.

Being a vegetarian definitely has its pros and cons. For instance, whenever I go to restaurants, although my food options are limited, I always pick healthier options chock full of veggies, which I genuinely enjoy. Another pro would be that I am able to better control my weight since I don’t consume foods with many fats. Here’s a confession: I try to exercise, but it doesn’t always work out (pun intended). I balance my lack of exercise with a healthy diet, thanks to vegetarianism.

Although being a vegetarian can seem great, it doesn’t come without some cons. One major problem that I’ve had to deal with is anemia, which is an iron deficiency. Since iron is found primarily in meat, it’s a bit harder to obtain enough iron. Protein is another essential component found in meat. Dark leafy greens are an excellent source of iron, and substitutes such as almonds, peanut butter, protein shakes and even lentils are excellent sources of protein.

One last con is the price. The saying “Eating healthy is expensive” most definitely applies to vegetarians, especially college-bound ones. Don’t let the financials of vegetarianism scare you away; it’s actually pretty easy to make delicious vegetarian dishes on a budget. I have a cookbook appropriately called the “Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook,” which has become my go-to for vegetarian meals and even desserts!

Whether or not you’re interested in being a vegetarian, most important thing to remember is to research and identify the reasons why you want to take on the challenge. It doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment either; ever heard of seven-day trials?

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