“BEAN” A Vegetarian

Students tell all about being beef-free

Aanya Agarwal, Staff Writer

People become (and remain) vegetarians for a multitude of reasons: religion, concern for animal rights, or simply because that’s the way they’ve been raised.

“I was raised vegetarian by my family and when I was in seventh grade as a New Year’s resolution, I became a lacto-vegan,” junior Chella Raghavan said.

A lacto-vegan is someone who, in addition to not eating meat, does not eat eggs. Both lacto-veganism and vegetarianism aren’t easy diets to follow, and often they may make social situations hard. Freshman Shriya Raghuvanshi, who grew up vegetarian out of choice after observing her mother’s lifestyle, explains the social pressures that surround her on a daily basis.

“A lot of times when I’m going out to eat and I’m sitting with friends who are eating hamburgers, I feel like I’m being pressured or judged because I choose to continue to be a vegetarian,” Raghuvanshi said.

However, if you’re planning to make the switch, don’t think that you can never go out to dinner again. If you’re smart, you don’t have to give up eating out for a new diet.

“I usually ask for something special at restaurants. Chefs are very understanding if you tell them you’re vegetarian. I’ve found that people are very willing to work with me there,” Raghavan said.

Even though most places are accommodating, in certain instances a vegetarian must choose between eating meat or staying hungry, both of which are uncomfortable situations to be in.

“I remember one time my family and I took a trip to New York, and I was really desperate for food. There weren’t a lot of vegetarian-friendly options in Times Square so my dad bought me a meat sandwich from McDonalds. I actually did feel bad about it later, but at the time it was necessary,” Raghuvanshi said.

There are clear positives to these diets, especially if you’re particularly health conscious or concerned about animal rights. The average person eats about 270 pounds of meat a year; if you’re a vegetarian, that number is 0. That is a significant impact once you multiply it by the amount of years in someone’s life, and this fact leads to many choosing to abandon their carnivorous ways.

“If you are into animal rights like I am, you can feel like you’re doing the right thing. There is also a lot of evidence that vegetarianism can be very healthy for you,” Raghavan said.

In the end, regardless of whether or not you choose to be a vegetarian it’s always helpful to to know about various lifestyles.