After a long, hard day, I had ordered dinner from my favorite Italian place nearby. I ordered an eggplant parmesan sandwich. I bit into it, chewed the sandwich and realized that it was chicken, not eggplant. I immediately became nauseous. Before this, I would not have been repulsed by meat; however, I stopped eating meat two years ago, in an attempt to save myself, as well as my planet. Through this action of becoming a vegetarian, I taught myself how to influence others and fight for what I believed in.
Towards the middle of my high school career, I began to find new ways to make myself healthier, whether it was working out, eating right or meditating. On this journey, I would discover new ways to learn about this health: articles, documentaries, podcasts. I came across one documentary, What the Health?, which particularly struck interest in me. It talked about how cutting meat out of our lives would affect the amount of meat agricultural companies would have to produce. This could possibly shrink the CO2 and methane output of agricultural companies, thus cutting out a huge problem to global warming. Once I understood this, I realized that if we as humans did not save our planet, there would simply be no point in taking care of myself, for Earth would be destroyed.
Following the acquisition of this knowledge, I felt defeated. I was putting an immense amount of work into bettering myself, and yet our planet was still being destroyed by greater things. After watching the documentary, I decided to do as much as I personally could do and decided to stop eating meat. I became just vegetarian to begin with, because I knew that going fully vegan would be extremely difficult; however, at some point in my life I will reach that point. Some days of the week I eat completely vegan, and other times I will just stay vegetarian because I enjoy eggs. I very, very rarely consume cow’s milk. If I do, it would be in a baked good, otherwise I use oat milk or almond milk for meals.
I knew I was not going to single handedly save the planet. I was one person, and there are over seven billion people on this planet. I began to think of other ways I could contribute so I decided to influence other people. One of my friends cut out meat for a month, and two of my friends are now completely vegan! This news was completely and utterly rewarding because they really felt as though they were making a difference and standing up for something they believed in. It was a good feeling knowing that I had helped someone feel good about their decisions. Not everyone has to go full out. It is the thought and even minor effort that makes a difference. I learned that if everyone in the world cut out meat two or three days a week, it would make a tremendous difference.
Becoming a vegetarian gave me a chance to inspire other people, and I felt wonderful about myself after this. I not only felt wonderful mentally, but physically. My body changed, in that I dropped body fat and I never felt bloated after a big meal. I began to consume vegan protein shakes after workouts, and I felt cleaner overall. Even my family members who were not vegan or vegetarian contributed, such as cooking vegetarian and vegan meals for my sister and I, or going to vegan restaurants. It was a really cool thing.
By not eating meat, I not only was I helping myself, others, and the planet, but I was teaching myself diligence. It was a way to show the world something I believed in, and how to seriously support a cause. I hope that throughout the next few years, I can influence others, whether it has to do with not eating meat or simply attempting to make any difference in the world.