I have always been interested in trying to cut meat out from my diet completely and taking on a vegetarian lifestyle. I knew that it would not only have health benefits but it would also help me feel like I was taking a small step towards a more sustainable lifestyle. The mass production of livestock is a major producer of greenhouse gasses and a factor in the loss of biodiversity. Although cutting meat from my diet wouldn’t reverse the production of carbon dioxide and stop global warming or bring more biodiversity to ecosystems, it would still mean that I was doing my part to lessen my contribution to the problem.
As a part of my Nutrition class, we had to make a change to our diet. So I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to make the change I have been wanting to do for a long time. In the beginning, it was not as hard as I thought it would be. Living on campus, I felt like I had plenty of options for every meal and I was not “missing out” on anything – it took almost no effort.
Recently, I went back home to celebrate my birthday with my family. Family members from New Jersey and Turkey came to celebrate with me. As a part of Turkish tradition my mother and sister made all of my favorite foods from the Turkish cuisine. I forgot to mention to her the change in my diet and lifestyle so many of the foods included ground beef and chicken. I have to admit my moment of weakness because of guilt and pure lack of self-control. I felt horrible that my mother spent all day cooking these foods specially for me and that I forgot to tell her beforehand. So in the end, I gave in.
After returning to campus, I started over and got back into the routine of my new diet and I made sure to let my family know to avoid the same mistake in the future. I expected my parents to be more understanding of it as a change to better myself and the environment but they did not react as well as I was expecting and hoping they would. They had a hard time understanding why I would want to change my diet if I was not obese and how one person cutting out meat from their diet would have any kind of impact on the environment and sustainability. They argued that the food they grew up eating and raised me with is the best. I told them to look into it deeper and maybe even try it themselves and see the effects it would have on their own health and their chronic conditions. Since they are so stubborn, they did not try it out for themselves but they did eventually learn to accept it. The last time I went to visit I showed them some articles and videos and they started to see where I was coming from.
This vegetarian lifestyle is still very new and an adjustment but I am excited to continue it and feel the change in myself and add on more steps towards a sustainable lifestyle.