The Tale of An Aspiring and Conflicted Vegetarian

I often never know what to call myself when people ask me about my eating habits and whether or not I'm vegetarian or vegan, which is a pretty common thing here at VCU. I have always been fascinated in veganism and wanted to try it, especially since after coming to college and learning more about it. I have gotten to try some different vegan foods, as pretty much every restaurant here has at least one vegan option. That being said, I freaking love trying vegan food and if it’s an option, that’s usually what I’m having. However, I am NOT vegan, (even if my SO likes to tell everyone I am). Now then, you may ask, are you vegetarian? Well, I definitely don’t like the concept of meat and the processes that go along. The flavor, while sometimes it’s good, doesn't usually satisfy me in the way it does it for some - which this is often why I pass on meat. But alas, there are some days when I’m trying a certain type of food (often ethnic) that contains meat and because I want the full experience, I eat the entirety of the meal (meat included). This is the back and forth that is my “vegetarianism.” Although, don’t worry, I’m by no means calling myself a vegetarian, but if I had to put myself in a category it would probably be “on and off again vegetarian.” Yes, there are periods where I go one month without eating meat but then the next month I'll have it every few days - it really just ranges.

Credit: Unsplash

With all that being said, there are reasons why I choose to eat this way and don't have a strict vegetarian or vegan diet. These reasons circle back to my history of disordered eating and restriction, which still affects me to this day. I used to be a master at restricting my food and it got me into quite a bit of trouble health wise. Nowadays, I hold myself back from partaking in any type of lifestyle that requires me to not eat certain foods. So while I often don’t enjoy meat and frequently don't eat it, I want to be able to maintain the notion in my head that if I eat meat, it’s okay. For so long I used to tell myself that if I ate a certain 'bad' thing that it “wasn't okay,” so now I try to only tell myself that no food is off limits and that it's okay to try anything I please. This meaning that if one day I see a meal that has meat in it and it sounds enticing to me, I will allow myself to give into that urge. All in all, one day I hope to be able to be full vegetarian and possibly vegan in order to really get a sense of what that is like. However, for now I am pleased with my “aspiring” vegetarianism that includes eating (and living) without boundaries.