Most people are shocked when they learn I have never eaten meat before. Some raise their eyebrows, others try to force a hamburger into my mouth, but most wonder how my life turned out that way.
Both my parents were vegetarians even before they met each other and saw no need to change their lifestyles when I appeared in their lives.
I was raised in Seattle, where everyone is a hippie, so it’s easy to find vegetarian meals to eat there. It’s also easy in Fort Collins – there is always a vegetarian option or even all-veg restaurants to try.
People are confused because they can’t imagine what my life is like, but it’s just normal to me. When you’re raised without something, there is no way for you to miss it. People are sometimes baffled and ask why I have never tried meat just once. Honestly, I don’t want to – it doesn’t appeal to me. Also, I like all the reasons behind vegetarianism and probably would have become one even if my parents did not.
Benefits to animals, my health, and the world are among the reasons why not eating meat is good. A vegetarian diet can save over 400 animals a year, can lower the chance of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and can reduce your carbon footprint, to name a few advantages. A lot of people I talk to know and agree with these reasons, but are not vegetarians because they like meat too much. I have heard the phrase, “I could never live without bacon,” too many times to count.
But it never hurts to find a compromise. A lot of people resist vegetarianism because they don’t want to give up meat, but you don’t have to go all the way. To quote the TED Talk below, “What I was being pitched was a binary solution. It was either you’re a meat-eater or you’re a vegetarian.”
As a compromise, try being a five-day vegetarian and only eat meat on weekends. This way, you get health and environmental benefits and don’t have to make a drastic change or feel guilty about eating meat sometimes.
According to Colorado State University professor and dietician Garry Auld, “most Americans eat too much meat and way too little fruits, vegetables, whole grains.”
Auld agreed with the idea to cut back on meat, but pointed out that cutting out processed foods is just as important, as well as getting the right nutrients.
“A lot of people become vegetarians and just eliminate meat, but don’t think about what they need to eat instead to get those nutrients,” Auld said.
Being a weekday vegetarian allows you to avoid conflict between your good intentions and your taste buds. When making changes to your diet, make sure look at the big picture and maintain a balance.
Collegian Interactive News Team Member Catie Perry can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @catieperrycc.