What do you think when people tell you they are vegan or vegetarian? Have you ever thought about becoming vegan or vegetarian, but worried about having to give up “good food” as a result?
I am here to assure you that vegan and vegetarian food can be just as good as food with meat or dairy.
At the beginning of last year, I became a vegetarian as a result of a persuasive speech from my environmental teacher concerning food ethics. Since I wanted to lower my carbon footprint, I decided that becoming vegetarian was an effective way to attempt to do so.
It can feel difficult to be consistently vegan or vegetarian because there are not enough food alternatives, but sometimes all it takes is looking in the right places
Over spring break, my roommate and I went to Portland. Portland is known as one of the best places to be vegan, and the abundance of food options available was a great surprise to my roommate. We went to a place called D.C. Sandwiches, and they had the classic sandwiches such as chicken sandwiches, beef and BLTs.
I ordered a sandwich called The War Eagle, which was a spin on a barbecue beef sandwich. It was one of the best sandwiches I have ever had, and it was nice that it did not include any meat or dairy products at all.
Seattle also has excellent vegetarian and vegan alternatives, for example, PCC grocery stores carry vegan sandwiches that are delicious.
I am aware that being vegan or vegetarian isn’t a reasonable option for everyone; I eventually stopped considering myself vegetarian as time went on. However, my journey as a vegetarian had significant benefits, as it made me appreciate plant-based food for what it has to offer.
I still try to incorporate plant-based meals into my diet while limiting the amount of meat I eat. However, I admit that I also indulge in seafood and Buffalo Wild Wings every once in a while.
But what I have taken away from my experience is that the meat option does not always have to be the only option.
I realized that I can still be environmentally conscious and enjoy the food I like by choosing the plant-based option when there is one.
Taylor Petrucci, a second-year student at Seattle Pacific University, is a vegetarian and told me that she “loves pasta, grilled cheese and heirloom tomatoes on rosemary bread with burrata and microgreens” as some of her favorite vegetarian food. Even though Petrucci is not a big fan of meat to begin with, she still likes having options when it comes to the food she decides on.
There is also an array of health benefits that come with being vegan and vegetarian. Plant-based meals are linked to lower risk of heart disease and can also help reduce pain for people with arthritis.
While not everyone has to exclusively eat vegetarian or vegan, I recommend that if possible, everyone should attempt to incorporate plant-based food into their diet while limiting the amount of meat they eat.
Making these choices is possible without having to sacrifice taste.
It is possible to enjoy the health benefits of a plant-based diets without having to sacrifice every food that you love.
Instead of thinking about vegetarianism or veganism as a personal sacrifice, it is better to recognized that these diets are not only better for your body, but they are achievable for your tastebuds and your time.