Becoming Vegetarian: a struggle

Personal Change– I’ve made a change of becoming vegetarian- for a week.

I have a few friends that are vegans, as well as vegetarians and they are always impacting my decisions when we eat because I tend to involve their eating habits around where we go. Whenever they want to try a new vegan place or somewhere with a vegan friendly menu, I go along too. I have never been huge on eating red meat anyway, and when I buy groceries I don’t typically buy any meat products. I get items such as pizza or burritos just plain cheese. Since my diet is already not all meat based I thought it would be an easy task to take it completely out of my diet for a week. I wanted to see if it would be a challenge and if I would feel any healthier after. Especially since any meat intake can really effect the environment and your health. Meat production factories not only use up about one third of the worlds fresh water, but they produce lots of waste and chemicals that aren’t helping the Earth. Also, eating meat raises your chance of getting heart diseases and cancer.

I’m not going to lie, after going a week trying not to eat meat it made me realize how frequently I actually do. I work at a sports bar so after a long shift, my friends and I usually grab food to go from there. (Chicken tenders, a burger, chicken salad). But, during this week at work I switched my chicken salad- to just a salad- and my chili nachos to just nachos without the chili. I feel like it’s an easier choice to make when we get pizza or Mexican food, because I always get plain cheese or beans. It got tougher later on because most of my sandwiches and main meals when I go out involve turkey or chicken.

I also didn’t realize Chick-fila was my campus go-to meal when I got out of class. I had to change a lot of my habits, but I think it was good for me. Also eye opening because it is possible to change your diet and if everyone went vegetarian for just ONE day, we would save around 100 billion gallons of water, 1.5 billion pounds of crops, 70 million gallons of gas, and so much more. Even though I’m just one person, I’d like to think that my 7 days had a positive impact somehow on the earth. I’m not sure if it will be a permanent change for me at the moment but, I do think I will work my way up to it. Especially since I

already don’t include meat into all my meals now; I will get to the point of less and less days during the week that include it, and get to where all my meals are better for me, and the environment and completely meatless. If someone were trying to go vegetarian, I would suggest trying meals you already know that you like, just minus the meat. So that way you aren’t trying a whole new meal that you might not enjoy, because it could trick you into thinking you won’t like any meal without the meat.

Also, after doing the ecological footprint homework, my carbon footprint really went down after changing my diet to only meatless products. I feel like if I 100% changed my diet to being meatless, along with a convincing a few more of my friends, it would be the start to a (small) but helpful change to the impact we have on our limited environment.

Plastic Bag Ban in Mount Pleasant, SC

Plastic Bag Ban in Mount Pleasant, SC

Mount Pleasant is considering placing a ban on plastic bags and foam containers!! Why one may ask? The single use plastic bags (used for grocery shopping, ect.) are polluting our oceans, the harbor, and our creeks. It not only affects our wildlife and ecosystems but it affects us as well. Everyone loves to eat locally and everyone loves seafood. You know the saying “you are what you eat” well that is literally true. Our local sea critters are eating this plastic and foam that are getting tossed or some how land in our waterways. When we eat our seafood locally we are not only getting a good source of protein, we are also, more likely than not, ingesting micro plastics. YUCK! The Charleston Water keeper, named Andrew Wunderley, believes that action needs to be taken and it needs to be taken NOW. He says that plastic grocery bags, polystyrene, and all plastic made food containers are all huge problems here in Charleston. In South Carolina, a few beach towns have ALREADY put a ban on single use grocery bags. Isle of Palms started this trend and Folly Beach followed them. The tri-county area is not the only place who has noticed this problem, Hilton Head Island AND Surfside Beach have already approved bans on plastic shopping bags in January. The Mount Pleasant city council has a meeting next week to talk about this ban we so badly need to place. There is talk about giving out fines starting at $250 if a business does not follow the ban. Awesome! A few exemptions would be made, I believe for health code reasons, and that includes “foam and plastic bags used for: meat trays, produce and bulk items, flowers or unwrapped bakery goods, dry cleaning, newspapers, fish and frozen foods”. Also, exempt would be life savers and life vests, obviously, we need those for safety purposes This ban was considered last year but state lawmakers shot it down after long consideration. Rumor has it that the house of representatives are going to take a vote soon to decide whether or not to allow this ban, glad they reconsidered! Councilman Owens has already taken into consideration a list of pros that has come out of this ban for barrier islands that have already adopted the ban. Mount Pleasant is the 4th biggest city in the state, so I think that it is very important that we take care of our water and our 85,000 citizens. Councilman Bustos is not so sure about this ban, but I guess we will have to wait until February 13th for the city to reveal the final outcome. Will they follow through with this ban or will they 86 the entire idea for the second time? Twenty sea turtles taken in for treatment at the local aquarium have been treated for consuming plastic products. Although we do not eat turtles, it is cruel and unfair to these helpless animals. Our single use plastic bags are hurting out sea creatures, edible and non-edible, and also hurting us! Keep an eye out for the results of this purposed ban as it will be announced soon!!