This week, I decided to try something new, again. As a meat eater my entire life, I became vegetarian for a week. I went seven days refraining from eating meat for the first time in my life, and guess what? It really wasn’t that hard.

I have always wanted to be vegetarian but had never given myself the chance. I always made excuses, as many of us do. I hear from a lot from people that they “just couldn’t” stop eating meat. I thought this, too. I assumed I liked certain foods too much to live without them, but this week has helped me realize that this may not be the case.

I can’t say much because I’ve only done this for a short amount of time. I also accidentally took a bite of my brother’s food when he offered me oysters, which I’m pretty sure aren’t vegetarian (oops), but I am challenging myself to continue on and at least try to become a vegetarian for good.

I thought that having a diet restriction as a college student would be difficult because of the food options we have on campus. But I didn’t feel restricted to the vegetarian section at Mabee because I experimented with the other meatless options we have on campus.

There’s obviously a ton of meatless bagel and shmear options at Einstein’s, and skipping out on adding “protein” in a Freshii bowl pretty much doesn’t change the taste at all — it costs extra anyway. However, from what I’ve heard from actual vegetarians, food options here are very limited — especially at Mabee.

I happened to go home last weekend, but from what I’ve been told, being a vegetarian on campus is especially hard on weekends. I did go to various restaurants, however, and when I started looking at menus for meatless options, they became very easy to find. I didn’t feel restricted when it came to what I could order at restaurants, although there were fewer options. To my surprise, I liked everything I ordered, even if it didn’t have meat in it.

I also realized many of the reasons there are to be vegetarian. There are way more reasons to become vegetarian than I have space to write. There’s obviously the whole protection of animals thing. I know that a lot of us have seen videos, and the conditions under which some of these animals are killed can be pretty awful and just to be put on our plates. I don’t say this to make anyone feel bad. I had also seen videos, and had still been a meat eater all my life, so I understand.

I write this to suggest another reason, one that I think is paid less attention to than the protection of animals. That reason is the impact that eating meat has on the planet. Unfortunately, meat consumption has an unbelievable environmental impact when you take into account all the resources and space used to raise the animals that we eat. The truth is that the farms dedicated to raising these animals contribute way more to global warming than people want to admit.

I don’t think I’m being paranoid when I say that the planet is dying at a pretty fast pace, and there isn’t much being done to stop it. I’m not saying that I think everyone should be vegetarian, or even try it for a week, but we should all be taking steps to minimize the negative impact we’re having on the Earth. Life is still worth living without chicken nuggets, I promise.

There are a million actions we can take to reduce our carbon footprint, but the thing is we have to actually start doing them. I am trying to implement small actions into my everyday life, trying vegetarianism for example. This means I’m hurting the planet that much less in the long run, which — contrary to popular belief — does in fact matter.

Again, I only did this for a week. I absolutely wouldn’t call myself a vegetarian yet, but I am willing to try to get to that point. If vegetarianism is something you’ve ever wanted to possibly try out for whatever reason, I challenge you to do it for a little while and see how it goes. It may be a way more viable option than you’ve always thought it was.

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