Carnivore no more

Caitlyn Hansbury, Opinions Editor

It has been 59 days since the last time I ate meat. Yes, you read that right. I haven’t eaten meat in two months, and I couldn’t be happier.


Every year during the season of Lent, I struggle to decide what to give up for those 40 days. I have always toyed with the idea of giving up meat, because I thought it would be an interesting challenge, but it was never something I could realistically do. Due to meal plans, living in a college dorm, and not preparing my own meals, giving up meat was never as feasible of an option as I had hoped it would be. This year however, was different. I am living in the Bayside apartments here on campus sans meal plan, so that meant that my diet was in my own hands. Not only did I control what I consumed, but I also decided what I would and would not purchase at the grocery store. I was ready to accept my no meat challenge. 


This challenge was an interesting one that I decided to continue once Lent ended. When I started, I thought it would be very difficult to remove meat from my diet because I absolutely love chicken. In my daily life, it was fairly easy to remove meat from my diet because if I didn’t buy any at the grocery store, I didn’t have any to eat. I learned a lot of new vegetarian recipes and became very creative in cooking because I needed to ensure that I was including plenty of protein sources. My favorite new recipe was a quesadilla with sweet potatoes and black beans. 


Although I enjoyed all these new recipes, there were definitely a couple of challenges that I faced: restaurants and going home. Until two months ago, I was never one to have any dietary restrictions, so going out to for dinner was pretty easy, since I ate a lot of the items on the menu. Now, before going out I need to look up the menu due to not being able to eat more than half of most menus. Thankfully, one of my close friends is also vegetarian, so it makes finding places a little bit easier. The other big challenge I faced was going home on weekends. My family are big meat eaters and not big on vegetables, so often there were not a lot of options for me at home. Whenever I knew I was going home, I made sure to make a quick grocery store stop and buy some groceries for the weekend so I could ensure meals full of protein and color.


As a vegetarian, there have been many questions and comments surrounding my diet. They usually consist of “why are you vegetarian,” “I could never give up meat so more power to you,” and my personal favorite, “you need to eat meat so you get enough protein.” Someone’s diet is very personal and unique to that individual; however, as soon as it is slightly different from the norm, many are quick to judge it. There are many reasons for someone to make changes to their diet, including health, ethical, and religious reasons. Incorporating change into your diet is a big decision but usually one that is not made lightly. If you are thinking of making a change or challenging yourself, I urge you to really think about it and do research before pursuing it. I am excited to learn more yummy vegetarian recipes and share them with my friends and family. Happy eating!