"Why": The Question I've Been Asked Too Many Times
May 26th, 2018
In October 2016, I decided to stop eating meat. At the time, I had no idea what the difference was between pescastarians, vegetarians, and vegans. I also had no idea why I wanted to do it. I just denied the meat offered to me on my birthday and for the next week avoided meat. I didn’t think about it too much in advance, it was kind of an impulsive decision. I also did not realize that vegetarians can’t eat fish which was also my favorite food at the time. This meant I had to research. It turns out pescatarians don’t eat meat, but do eat fish. I thought this made sense for me and maybe after I tried it out I would want to become vegetarian. So I did; my first year I was pescatarian, but I am currently a vegetarian on the route to becoming a vegan.
As easy as I made it sound, it has definitely has not been a smooth journey. The question you are all wondering right now is: why, why did you make the decision? The truth is, I didn’t know why and I still am unsure. However, there are things I stand for and have learned. I’ve learned that many vegans are also zero-waste and plastic free. One of my favorite vegan role models is Stevie Van Horn. She is a zero-waste, vegan yoga-expert and writes a blog with recipes, tips and advice. She is very inspiring and I strive to one day be as passionate about my lifestyle as she is.
Ever since I told my parents I wanted to be vegetarian, they were supportive, even though I could tell they didn’t think it would last long. They were the first to ask why; next my siblings, then my grandparents were very confused, even my friends’ parents didn’t understand. When my parents asked why, I didn’t know and said “For the animals.” I soon learned how terribly animals are treated and the health benefits of giving up meat. When we would go to my grandparents house, I would get these awful looks of disappointment, “I made chicken for you, Stevie” “I don’t eat meat anymore” “Oh, huh, well what do you eat?” Various forms of that conversation would happen every time I went to their house. Another problem was holidays. Typically during the holiday season, you eat turkey, ham and a myriad of sides, but I would just have mashed potatoes and vegetables. I’m not complaining, but instead trying to make others comprehend.
About 5% of Americans have some dietary restriction. Although that is not a great deal of people, more and more people are joining the cause. This is important when thinking about available options. When going to restaurants, there is typically one or two choices, which are typically only vegetarian friendly. This is why I believe awareness needs to spread about what vegetarianism/veganism really is as well as making more options available.