Health · May 2017

Becoming A Vegetarian

You know, writing this post just made me realize how important word choice is when talking with others. Fried chicken can be described as ‘chicken that is freshly double breaded by hand to ensure a tender, juicy bite with a crispy, flaky crunch’ (courtesy of KFC’s description of their extra crispy chicken haha!) OR it could be put in a bad light such as ‘the chopped up carcass of a dead chicken that is boiled in oil and is linked to the increased risk of a heart attack’. It really depends on the context of the quote, but they both bring across the same general idea: fried chicken.

I just found it interesting how I never thought about how important word choice is, but there’s my two cents about the matter. Anyway, back to the main topic: Vegetarianism.

When I was younger, I wasn’t exactly a picky eater. I would eat anything my parents would put down in front of me; whether it be fried chicken, spaghetti, this pretty weird green fruit salad that was a specialty of my mom’s, just anything. Anything except vegetables. Those awful, bitter tasting demons were honest to god my mortal enemy, and I don’t think I ever willingly ate a vegetable until I was in my sophomore year of high school, which meant I was 15 years old when I actually ate a vegetable on my own. I went 15 years without understanding the importance of incorporating vegetables into my diet, and I honestly hope that the fact that I rarely ate vegetables as a child won’t have a huge negative impact on me as an adult. I blame my current height (5’1” to be exact), on the lack of vegetables in my diet while growing up.

But anyway, these reasons are only a few of many as to why I want to become a vegetarian. Actually, I’ll just list out all my reasons for an easier view:

1. It’s overall healthier

While I understand that the majority of food is healthy in moderation, the innumerable amounts of studies that have linked the consumption of meat and animal products to the increased risks of certain cancers/diseases is too great to ignore. My dad, the big ol’ carnivore that I swear only consumes meat and grains, is severely disabled and sick and it’s directly caused by his eating habits. Not only does he not eat the right things, but he eats A LOT of the not-right-things. Bless my dad’s heart, but he is one of the driving forces as to why I want to become vegetarian.

2. The inhumane treatment of livestock

I love animals. While I could go on a tangent about the handling of animals in the meat industry, all I really want to get across is that I do not want to take part in the slaughter of millions of animals just for a few slabs of their meat.

3. Vegetarianism is overall cheaper to keep up with

Have you gone to the supermarket recently? If you have, you may have seen the ridiculous prices set for meat. A pack of bacon almost cost $10! I always hear about how vegetarianism/veganism is a first-world privilege, but I always think about how meat is the first world privilege. Third world countries rely on grains and vegetables to get by, and hardly any developing country that I can think of rely on meat to the extent that we Americans do. When I went to the Philippines over the summer of 2016, grains and produce were the main staples that we were eating, with the occasional serving of fish and chicken. However, back in the U.S., it’s almost unheard of to go to a normal restaurant and not have some sort of meat incorporated into your dish–and usually the meat is the main star. So let’s just face it: Meat is expensive, and in no way should increasing the intake of vegetables and decreasing the consumption of meat in a diet be considered a ‘first-world privilege’.

4. Environmental Factors

Many people think that the biggest contributor to global warming and the exponential increase in greenhouse gas emissions is the transportation industry. However, the biggest contributor is the changing climate is actually caused by all the emissions from the global livestock sector. The livestock industry produces more GHG emissions than all cars, plains, trains, and ships combined. I love Earth and I don’t want to be part of the reason why it’s being destroyed. According to Brigitte Alarcon, a food policy officer at WWF, humanity can actually cut an entire quarter of GHG emissions by eating more produce and reducing our intake of meat. If you want to learn more about the negative environmental factors that the livestock industry causes, click here, here, or here.

These are the major reasons why I have begun my journey of completely altering my lifestyle to become a vegetarian. This is my second day of being a vegetarian, and while I can’t lie to you and say that I haven’t tried to go vegetarian at least once in my life, I’m finally in a position where I have money to buy my own food and the knowledge on how to cook everything properly so it doesn’t feel like I’m chewing on flavorless rubber. While I haven’t ever really been a big meat eater, I’ve always felt like shit (excuse my language) after eating meat, and while this may only be my second day of being a vegetarian, I’ve never felt better and healthier in my life.

Being a vegetarian definitely isn’t an easy task to accomplish. I live with big meat eaters, and my dad especially once applauded me for hating vegetables when I was a kid. My mom, however, will eat vegetables, but she prefers quick and easy meals that only require a microwave. Having family that do not really understand the importance of nutrition will definitely be my biggest road block, and while I haven’t told either of them my plans of becoming a vegetarian, I hope that one day, when I’m a few months into the lifestyle, they’ll grow to accept it.

So, I hope my newbie rant on vegetarianism wasn’t too daunting. I’d love to hear any thoughts about this lifestyle, whether it be good or bad. Either way, I’m very excited to start this new journey in my life, and I will definitely keep this blog updated on how I’m fairing in the veggie-filled world!