What I’ve learned from my temporary experience as a vegetarian

I went vegetarian for Interim for three reasons: 1) I’m competitive and wanted my dorm to win Kilowatt, 2) I’m impulsive, and 3) I ate a meal without meat once and then decided I could do it for the rest of the month.

The first week was hard. I found myself drooling while eyeing my roommate’s grilled chicken or my friend’s shepherd’s pie. In order to drive up my motivation, I made a bet with two friends. The stakes were simple: loser buys the other two meals, second person buys winner a meal, and the winner gets two free meals.

Now that Interim is over, everyone is back to eating meat. Well, everyone except myself and the other two in the bet. I guess I’m still vegetarian a little bit because of pride, a little bit because I’ve actually adjusted to this vegetarian diet, but mostly because I’m too cheap to buy the other two their meals.

Although there is no end date in mind, I’ve come to not mind being vegetarian as much (although I still complain to everyone about the awfulness of my perpetual vegetarian diet). Being vegetarian for a month has taught me to not rely on meat. It has expanded my dietary options and forced me to eat things I normally would not.

I never would’ve imagined that I like coconut bacon (coconut that tastes like bacon) or that the soups in the dining hall are actually delicious. I never would’ve waited in line for the health bar food (which is actually very tasty) due to my impatient New Yorker attitude toward lines that take longer than a minute.

Though some days the dining halls have orange chicken or crab rangoons (the Kryptonite to my vegetarianism), it no longer bothers me as much as it once did. Meat no longer has the same appeal as it had in the past. I’ve noticed, too, that it is not the meat I miss as much as the stuff that meat is found in.

I’m not sure how much longer I’ll go — maybe a month, a semester, or a year. I don’t think I’ll be vegetarian forever, I just haven’t had my moral strings tugged enough to make the switch. However, I do know that whenever this vegetarian diet ends, I will be eating a lot less meat. Meat is an important and delicious part of meals, but I have come to see the wonderful side of meals rich with beans, vegetables and fruits as well. I’m proud to have gone this long without meat, and I’m excited to see how much longer I’ll go.