Vegetarian Reflection: Julie Coben (’11)

Julie Coben ('11)/ Eastside Editor-in-Chief

When I told my family and friends I was going to be a vegetarian for about one month they all responded with disbelief. Typically, my eating habits are never limited. My daily meals always include some sort of meat; so participating in this experiment was most definitely a challenge.

During my first couple days of refraining from meat, I felt like an addict going through withdrawal. For each meal I ate, I constantly was thinking about what I could be eating if I were not a vegetarian. For instance, eating cheese quesadillas was decent, but I knew that added chicken would be that much more satisfying. Prior to becoming a vegetarian, my initial impression of this diet was that I was going to eat healthier foods. However, in my case, this initial hypothesis was incorrect. As the days went by, I grew hungrier and hungrier from not getting enough protein. To compensate, I started snacking more, and no, these snacks were not fruits and vegetables. I noticed myself eating more junk food like cookies, cereal and more cookies.

The most difficult part of this experiment was definitely going out to eat with my family and friends. Any time I looked at the menu I would forget about my limitations and automatically look at my typical choices. For countless times I would be ready to order my meal (which would include meat), realize I was not able to order it, and be quite disappointed with my vegetarian option, usually some type of salad.

After completing my three-week experiment, I think it is safe to say I will not continue with being a vegetarian. Although I appreciate the reasons for not eating meat, I believe it is crucial to my diet. However, if I were to try this again one day, I would definitely make more of an effort to increase healthier vegetarian supplements to help my hunger instead of simply doubling up on unhealthy options.