By: Annie Dubois
It’s actually very easy
To be honest, I never really believed I could do it. To give you some background on my upbringing, my Grandpa is a beef farmer and for 5 years I showed and sold cattle at my county fair. My family eats the beef from my Grandpa’s farm all the time. Pretty much all of our meals are centered around a meat dish. I was so used to having meat in my diet, I refused to consider how life would be without it. I thought it would be the hardest thing in the world.
But it wasn’t. I’ve found that finding substitutes for meat is fairly easy. I can tell you confidently that black bean burgers are delicious– I might even go as far as to say they are better than regular burgers. Fake chicken? Really good, if you get the right kind. I also found that I have more opportunities to fit veggies into my diet than ever before, which was something I really needed. Lastly, most restaurants will have something on their menu that doesn’t have meat, and it’ll probably be cheaper, too.
The first few meat-free days were difficult, but now that I’ve gone a while without meat, it feels normal.
Getting protein elsewhere is simple
Obviously, cutting out a major food group from your diet will require you to make up for the quick protein provided by meat. This is the thing people are usually most alarmed about. One of the many questions I had before cutting meat from my diet definitely involved where I would get protein from. I did some research, and found that I would just have to incorporate more nuts, beans, and legumes (like hummus and lentils) into my diet. The good thing is, all of these foods are so yummy!
The water footprint for beef is enormous
The water footprint was actually my deciding factor to become vegetarian. I had no clue that raising livestock was so resource intensive. The shocking fact that caused me to purge meat from my diet was this: it takes 1,799 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. Compared to corn, which only takes 108 gallons to produce a pound, this is alarming. With depleting freshwater resources on the planet already, it didn’t seem right to be choosing to consume food that sucked the water sources tremendously.
The decision to go vegetarian is a personal one, and it doesn’t always work out for everyone! It took me two tries to successfully stop eating meat, and there are days when I consider going back to a diet with meat in it. Whether you want to purge meat from your diet or continue eating hamburgers and steak, I would still recommend doing some research on the livestock industry (and its effects on the environment especially.) There are some really interesting statistics that were hard to conceptualize and literally made my jaw drop.