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How I’ve Incorporated Plant-Based Foods as an Non-Vegan/Vegetarian

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

Throughout my life, I’ve made many changes to my diet. I’ve been unhealthy, healthy, gluten-free and then not. Recently, I’ve spent time dabbling with the idea of being vegan. My boss is vegan, and she encourages it on her social media. I do appreciate diet changes and experiments, but I wasn’t sure that going plant-based was for me.


I struggle with believing that everything is all or nothing. Many vegans, though, encourage even people who do eat meat to try out plant-based alternatives. My family and I have tried veggie burgers and tofu in our meals.


I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong with eating meat. If I did, I would be vegan or vegetarian. I know many people disagree with me. However, I do think that the way our modern world raises animals and breeds them for consumption is problematic.


A few months ago, I read up on the breeding and raising of cows on the earth. Not only are they treated poorly, the number of cows overwhelms earth’s atmosphere. Because of these facts, I made the decision to stop eating beef when I have other options. In the past months, I’ve had beef once. I was born with high cholesterol, so beef isn’t the best option. I also cut down the amount of fatty pork (bacon, sausage) I eat. I’ve been very happy with these choices. Making changes that simultaneously benefits the planet and my health has felt good.


The person in charge of group fitness at the recreation center I teach at encouraged me to start doing Meatless Mondays. Every Monday, I make an effort to go completely meatless. Because I make such an effort on Mondays, I usually incorporate more meatless meals into my diet. My best friend also went vegetarian since I made this decision, and it’s made it easier for us to hang out.


I eat a lot of salads. I eat some meat replacements. Eating out is still fun, but it is a little more complicated. I have enjoyed eating at Burger King because of the new Impossible Whopper. Most fast food joints down have any kind of plant-based options which, to me, is confusing. I would think that fast food restaurants would target every market possible.


My decision to go plant-based one day a week has bled into the rest of my week. Since I avoid sausage and bacon, my trips to coffeeshops for breakfast consist of an egg and veggie burrito or egg and cheese biscuit.


I’ve tried so many foods I never thought about trying before. My diet doesn’t have to be restrictive, and I’m so happy that I’ve relaxed just a bit on that fact. Trying plant-based recipes is good for me and the planet.



I am a sophomore broadcast communications major and theatre minor at the University of Tennessee at Martin. When I’m not in class or participating in events on campus, I spend my time reading, doing yoga, working out, or petting my cats.
I am a pre-vet major who loves to laugh (especially at myself), drink coffee, and spend time with my dog, Cora. I moved from Massachusetts to Tennessee to attend college at UTM and compete for their division 1 rifle team.