My Breakup with Meat: Why I Became a Vegetarian

     I didn’t always want to be a vegetarian. Heck, I used to eat McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets like it was my job. Cheeseburger? Heck yes. Ribs? Even better. Buffalo chicken wings were my favorite food ever.  I ate meat, and a lot of it. I never really thought about what I was consuming. Like, ever. I just ate what my mom made every night and scarfed down whatever I ordered at restaurants absentmindedly.

     Then, something just changed. I’m not sure what it was or if anything triggered this feeling, but I began to really think twice about what I was putting in my body, but I never really changed any of my eating habits. I didn’t really feel right about eating meat, but because it was all I ever knew and what I had grown up eating, I didn’t know how to change.

     I spent the summer researching. I found videos, blogs, articles; I read pretty much anything that talked about a vegetarian lifestyle and how to ease into one. Then, while perusing Netflix (because who doesn’t peruse Netflix?), I stumbled upon “Cowspiricy”, which is a documentary about the negative impact the cattle industry has on the environment. This is something that not a lot of people know about, so the documentary really opened up my eyes to the negative affect that my eating habits had on the planet. You never really think about the impact your McDonald's order has on the environment until you watch a documentary like this. 

     After “Cowspiricy,” I was hooked. I wanted to consume all of the information I could in hopes that it would inspire me to change my lifestyle. The most influential speech that I watched was called “Why Vegan?” Although I am not a vegan, I was greatly inspired by Gary Yourofsky’s conversational tone and the power of his words. He talks about human nature and our ability (or inability) to kill innocent creatures, what sources of nutrients are available besides animal products, and he even goes as far as comparing the slaughtering of animals to a holocaust. It is just something I had never heard before, and it was an interesting perspective. 

     Obviously, I’m mostly doing this for the animals. I’m an animal lover, and I just couldn’t justify eating animals any longer. I used to think it was natural for humans to eat these animals, but now, I don’t think it is right to slaughter and consume one animal, and jail people for abusing another. Animals that are viewed as pets, like dogs and cats, are viewed as having the right to live and thrive, whereas pigs and cows are solely produced to be slaughtered. There really is no difference between the animals, so they should be treated equally. Discrimination is discrimination, not matter the species.

     I promised myself that when I went back to college to start my senior year, I would attempt a vegetarian lifestyle. Here I am, a month later, and I’ve done it! I haven’t had any meat, and I’m feeling great! I eat a lot of vegetables, beans, fruits, and pasta, and my food is as delicious as it’s ever been. I started taking a daily vitamin (even though I should have been doing that before,) to ensure that I’m getting all of the vitamins and minerals I need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but I am probably getting everything that I need from the food I’ve been eating. As my time as a vegetarian progresses, I know the best thing to do would be to slowly transition into veganism, and I hope eventually I can get there. Right now, I’m still figuring out which Trader Joe’s vegetarian “chicken” nuggets I like best or how to not eat my body weight in all types of pasta (I'm failing at this, but feeling great while doing it.)

     I’m not writing this to try and make anyone become a vegetarian or vegan. You do you, and I’ll do me. But, I am writing this in hopes that maybe somebody reading this is in the same place that I was a year ago. I wanted to make a change, but didn’t know how. The research I did and the information I discovered is what influenced me to change, so here are a few videos/speeches/blog posts that inspired me!