Vegetarian Reflection: Hailey Edelstein (’12)

In a world where we’ve learned to do so much more with the same ingredients we’ve always had, the number of vegetarians and vegans has grown; campaigns like PETA have gained influence as well. However, nothing could convince me to leave behind the meat that has become my main source of protein… except Eastside.

I’ve always thought that a vegetarian diet was very healthy and that it would be too difficult to handle because there are only so many vegetables I enjoy. Plus, I usually eat chicken almost every day. I expected to eat many more vegetables and fruits as a vegetarian, but I found that they could not fill me up the way meat did, so I turned to bread and pasta. A meal of grilled chicken was replaced by spaghetti.

Over the past three weeks, I found some new vegetarian options that I really like, such as meatless meatballs, but as the end of the experience approached, I was tired of my repetitive diet of only about five different meals. These meals made me feel hungrier, and snacks kept me from losing any weight. Eventually, my body adjusted to my new diet, but I felt very unhealthy because of my increased break intake.

My morals did not change at all; I actually craved chicken more and more throughout the experience and realized how important it is in my diet. It was hard to ignore the chicken my family was eating around me, so after three weeks—to break my vegetarianism—the first meal I ate was a grilled chicken sandwich. The experience has showed me that it is much easier than people think it is to be a vegetarian, especially today when there are so many new alternatives.