I do not recall the exact date when I decided to just stop eating meat. I assume it must have occurred after one of my many failed “fad diets” or after one of my “weeks without (insert delectable pastry here)”. Yet, one thing I can recall is how refreshed my body felt. Roughly, I have been a vegetarian for a year or so. I can gladly say that since the day I put down the pork chops, the chicken nuggets, and the cheeseburgers (my favorite), I have not regretted it.
Living the “Green Life” (as I call it) has been much more rewarding than it has been burdensome. An essential factor to remember in vegetarianism is that it is a lifestyle, not just a food preference. Through my new lifestyle change I have enjoyed all of the delicacies that I once would frown my nose upon such as asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, quinoa, and tofu. Through vegetarianism I learned that there are many places within my home community and my college community which not only cater to vegetarians, but also cater to those just seeking a healthier lifestyle. In my hometown of Springfield, Missouri it was considerably much easier to be a vegetarian than it has been while attending Spelman College in the heart of the South. At home I would shop at my local farmer’s market or even stop by the juice bar during my daily run. Moving to Atlanta has been a bit more difficult, but I have found innovative recipes such as stir-fry and veggie burgers to maintain my healthy lifestyle. Along with the change in address, the “big city” atmosphere has allowed for me to venture out to the metropolitan areas of Atlanta. In the Metro-Atlanta areas I have found my favorite smoothie bars, vegetarian dishes, and local markets which has been an added bonus and incentive to explore the city. The ability to find new foods and food providers is another benefit to vegetarianism as you often have to seek out your meals or cook them yourself. However, this can be a positive as it requires you to pay attention to the content of your food and where its produced, which is a part of the fun!
For anyone considering vegetarianism or even just a healthier life style, I definitely recommend it. For me, I sought out local groups and communities that had similar preferences such as http://www.vegsocietyofga.org. For those who may just want to check out the various health food options, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and your local Farmer’s Market has ample food possibilities, cooking recipes, and cooking supplies. Throughout my journey I have learned that research, commitment, and an open-mind are all that is really needed when transitioning to vegetarianism or seeking a healthier lifestyle. Consider vegetarianism as a fresh start toward a healthy lifestyle today!