By: Jade Chan and Brandy Quach
We LOVE food. When people think of vegetarians, they tend to think, smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, and just an apple or banana for dinner. But boy, you are wrong. You can make anything vegetarian or even vegan. I have been vegetarian for 10 years and maybe it makes me a cheater because I started at a young age and I could’ve stopped, but I didn’t.
The reason I started to become a vegetarian was because of my religion and beliefs of my mom. She is the sole reason I am a buddhist and we still continue our journey as buddhists. Anyways, it wasn’t exactly hard for me because I wasn’t a picky eater so I guess I just grew into it. However, even little me tried to sneak some chicken nuggets in sometimes because my dad was not a vegetarian. I eventually stopped though because I just felt so guilty disappointing my mom like that. She taught me at a young age that killing animals was wrong and for some reason, that lesson stuck to me.
Overall, I love being a vegetarian. It has really shaped me into the person I am today. If you know me at all, you would know that I’m a big animal lover and it breaks my heart to see their life taken away. Now I know that some of you might not agree with my beliefs and morals but if you have stumbled across this blog post, you hopefully squeezed in the idea of vegetarianism into your life. Best wishes on your journey and happy plant eating! P.S. If you guys ever get the chance, try Amy’s Drive Thru. I went there recently and all I can say is my taste buds have been blessed.
As for my journey into vegetarianism, I started when I was 10. My grandma had just passed away recently and Buddhism was a prevalent part of my life. One day, stumbling around in the book stacks in my house, I had found a mini book on vegetarianism and Buddhism. Having been a meat eater my entire life, I dived into this book very cautiously, tiptoeing and skittering around the truth of meat and karma. Before that fateful day, I was known in my family as the girl who devoured meat, the girl who inhaled half a platter of ginger chicken before my brother even got a piece. I was constantly scolded when I was younger because on certain ceremonial days where we were SUPPOSED to be vegetarian, I still couldn’t contain myself. I always got caught with a piece of meat in my mouth and my hand out to reach another piece in the fridge. But, somehow on that day, clutching a mini Buddhism book in my hand, I told myself that I, Brandy Quach, would become a vegetarian. Then I immediately freaked out right after that and went to stare in the fridge and think about all the things I couldn’t eat. Having my doubts I soon entered the next phase of my life with a few mistakes.
- I never read the sample signs correctly (darn you costco and your alluring food samples)
- If I had my suspicions, I never asked
- Ingredients lists are a pain but one you must endure
- Being embarrassed. Never wanting to cause a scene, I would rather go hungry then ask.
- Not exploring my options.
The last one is a really big deal. At home, my mom was also vegetarian and made delicious food, but at school or just out and about, I stuck with the true and tried options. But, carbs gets tiring after awhile doesn’t it? Now, 5 years later, I have finally opened my eyes and realized that I live in Portland, Oregon in 2016. There are so many options! Going vegetarian in this day and age should not strike fear into anyone hearts now because there are so many choices! Restaurant nowadays offer veggie burgers, or vegetable dishes that are comparable to the deliciousness of their meat counterpart as well. Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and all those other organic marts have a ton of meatless options and vegetables are always an option too. Those claiming that vegetarianism lack protein should know that beans and nuts are chocked full of protein, sometimes even more than the popular choice of meat! Having been vegetarian for years, and enduring many annual checkups, the doctor has never once told me that I lack protein.
Over these past five years, I have never regretted once my choice to live the veggie life, and even though I did get craving occasionally, I’m proud to say that I can make my 10 year old self proud.
Our Tips on How To Become a Vegetarian:
- Ease into it
➢ If you’re a meat lover but also want to be vegetarian either for your health, your love for the environment, or whatever it is, start little by little. Cut meat slowly from your diet. Otherwise, you’ll crave the meat that you haven’t been eating and will end up indulging
➢ Go around your city or wherever you live and check out the hidden veggie gems! You can also go to your local market and see what veggie options they have. Or you can go searching the web and look up simple and easy veggie recipes. They have everything on the internet nowadays, and you might actually realize how many veggie friendly options you have right in your own fridge.
- Find supporters
➢ Going vegetarian might be a big deal and impact your lifestyle a lot. Tell your friends and maybe even challenge them to join you for a week or a day! It’s so important to have people who know what you want to do with your life and supporting your lifestyle. It also makes it easier for when you want to go out or eat with a friend, that they can accommodate to you.
- Vegetables, fruits, and anything from the Earth is the way to go
➢ After a while, all of the fake patties, sausage, and bacon (YES THERE IS VEGGIE BACON) begin to make you feel icky and weighed down due to their artificial nature. They’re fun to incorporate into certain dishes but the foods that will make you feel and look the best are the earthlings. Fruits, vegetables, and nuts are full of vitamins, protein, zinc, iron and everything you would ever need to live to your fullest.
- NEVER DESPAIR
➢ If you ever find yourself lusting over that pepperoni pizza or juicy steak, don’t! It’s normal at first but never fall to the temptations! Know that somewhere out there, there’s probably a meatless version of your desires, or at least it’s being worked on, and pride yourself for being a vegetarian! It’s definitely not an easy thing to do and not everyone can do it. Give yourself a pat on the back for what you’ve accomplished and live to see another green-filled day.
Benefits of Being a Vegetarian:
- You’re helping to help save the Earth! For every animal slaughtered, there is also a lot of water and land consumed and a lot of cruelty endured.
- A lot of meat products nowadays contain a lot of diseases and nasty hormones and they’re definitely not nice to put them in your bodies.
- Hopefully, if you’re vegetarian or you’re slowly adapting, then you’ve started to ingest more greens and eating more natural and less processed food. Honestly though, Cheetos are vegetarian so…
- You have less chances of getting heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and lots more.
- Improves your mood! Tons of vegetarians I know are always super energetic and cheerful which makes everyone all around happy. 🙂