While it’s hard to believe and understand, I’ve been a vegetarian since I was three years old. My parents were not also vegetarians, but for some reason when offered meat or poultry I would refuse to eat it. Looking back, we think this was because of a texture issue or pickiness- since I was way too young to understand what eating meat really meant. While my parents thought/ wished I would grow out of this preference, instead as I grew up and understood what meat actually was, I only became more decisive with my vegetarianism.
As a child, I was often embarrassed and sensitive about being a vegetarian. Really? What?! Why? Were, and still are, the typical reactions I would receive when I would tell someone I’m a vegetarian. My decision to be a vegetarian was weird and confusing to them and it made me feel different. I often felt left out at barbecues or catered events and as a young child, that’s a hard feeling to deal with. It was frustrating having to explain my eating preferences to every new person I would eat a meal with and it was annoying when they questioned my decision. I even wrote my college essay on my commitment to being a vegetarian, because of how much it has shaped and taught me.
As I got older I learned how to answer the questions and acquired confidence that lessened that “left out feeling”. Also, in the world we live in food preferences, diets and restrictions have become the norm. Making my decision to be a vegetarian just one of the many, instead of what used to be perceived as out of the ordinary.
Being a vegetarian as an adult definitely has its pros and cons. Cons are that you have to be super aware of how much protein you are getting. It’s important to work in options that are high in protein whenever possible, so that you make sure you get enough energy. Some of my favorite protein options are tofu, beans, protein powder in smoothies, Greek yogurt and nuts. You can look forward to a bunch of vegetarian friendly recipes on the blog. Another con is that some restaurants are just not really an option. Luckily, most restaurants have vegetarian options; however sometimes that requires making substitutions to dishes or eating something that you’re not really excited about. Pros are that being a vegetarian, you have already made it a priority to make choices when it comes to eating. So when it comes to making healthy choices, you have already made the first step in deciding you want to watch what you eat. Also, being a vegetarian you avoid fatty red meats and work in lots of veggies into your diet- both, which are definitely pros.
While being a vegetarian doesn’t seem like a big deal to most, it is something that has had a major role in defining me throughout the years. However, I no longer view it as a weakness but instead something that is important to me. Also a choice that has taught me the value of commitment and to be proud of being unique. I'm a veggie lover and I'm proud of it!
I’d love to hear from any other vegetarians if you have ever felt any frustrations or hardships because of your decision. I look forward to sharing a bunch of vegetarian friendly recipes and restaurants for any fellow veggies out there.