The vegetarian diet has become popular over the years because of the emphasis from medical professionals to maintain a balanced diet. Some might choose this diet for more personal or moralistic reasons but either way, a vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat, and they might not eat fish or poultry as well.
Many people just assume that it would be too difficult to be vegetarian because meat might be a major part of their diet. However, becoming a vegetarian does not necessarily mean giving up all meat. Senior Annie Kautz began by just giving up red meat (cows, pigs), but over time gave up all meat, except fish.
“I became a vegetarian December of my freshman year. I did it because I became aware of the cruelty in the meat industry,” Kautz said. “While the animals are being raised, they are crammed into small spaces, metal cages, and crates. Animals are fed antibiotics to make them grow bigger faster and are genetically manipulated to grow bigger or produce more milk/ eggs. Many animals are also still conscious while their bodies are being feathered or skinned. I am vegetarian as an act of protest against this practice. I refuse to support the industry,” Kautz explained. “I still eat fish because I need to have protein in my diet and fish feel pain in a different way than we do,” she added.
Senior Cameron Cheevers became a vegetarian her freshman year as well. She followed the diet very strictly for two years, but had to stop after she found out she was allergic to dairy and gluten. Since then, she has been eating red meat, but as sparingly as possible. “I originally became vegetarian because I just didn’t feel right eating animals,” she said. “Vegetarianism was not very hard to start doing. I have had a little taste of veganism as I do not eat dairy, and that was much harder than no meat,” Cheevers added.
The idea of becoming a vegetarian can be different for everyone. “I wouldn’t be able to be vegetarian because meat is such a big part of my diet. I don’t like the taste of substitutions vegetarians use for protein, such as fish, beans, tofu, etc.,” sophomore JP Sheehan said. If giving up all meats sounds too intimidating, start off slowly by only eating meat a couple times a week. Giving up certain meats or animal products are always options to consider.
Senior Jona Ridgway is strongly considering starting a vegetarian diet. She said she already doesn’t eat a lot of meat, so cutting it out of her diet completely wouldn’t be very hard. “I don’t think it would be as difficult for me as it would be for others that eat meat a lot. It would still be hard for me though because sometimes I do want things like chicken wings, a sandwich, or a burger,” Ridgway said.
“I would encourage anyone to try out a vegetarian diet. It is not unhealthy, and I do not feel limited at all,” Kautz said. “[We] are helping put an end to animal cruelty in the meat industry and that is a good thing. If people still want to eat meat, but are worried about the abuse, they can support free range farms [by] buying free range meat from the store. It is more expensive, but it means the world to the animals who are suffering,” she added.