Being a vegetarian in the South

I first became a vegetarian the summer after my sophomore year. My transition into a meatless free diet wasn't particularly hard for two reasons: First, because my mom was vegan for around 7 years due to health reasons and I was used to meatless meals and secondly, because I lived in Princeton, New Jersey a town filled with immigrants, just as any other town in America, but where Asian people are the highest demographic and as they tend to be vegetarian, there were a lot of "fast" food options that fit my diet, so I didn't struggle with finding diverse and delicious meals that fulfilled my nutritional requirements and were delicious at the same time.

The clip above is from the movie "Earthlings". I Initially became vegetarian due to ethical reasons after watching it. The abuse towards the animals who's fate had been sealed from the moment they were born was and still is horrifying to me. Although, as most people like to comment when objecting to vegetarianism, I might not be making a huge difference, I did not want to take part in the cycle of suffering of these defenseless animals.

Winter 2015 I found out I had been accepted to Clemson. I was ecstatic but also worried as I had never been far from home and I knew that it would be challenging as I'm a big homebody, but I had fallen in love with the school and this made me forget my worries and made making a decision easier.
One of the things the South is known for is the amount of delicious food it has; however, all of it, except mac and cheese, is not vegetarian friendly and mostly consists of meat based meals. It wasn't challenging to see this as I don't crave meat and I respect people's choice to eat it, the challenge came when going out to eat with my friends and trying to find something that wasn't a bland salad that I could enjoy eating as well. Additionally, I dealt with a lot of people who saw my diet choice as a joke or as a childish and unsustainable whim, which was in fact disheartening as I truly believe my diet choice is what is best both for me and the planet.
Additionally, just like expected, the dining hall provided me with limited options that more often than not didn't satisfy my cravings or nutritional requirements. My first month here consisted heavily in me trying to find a balance between eating in the cafeteria and learning to buy meals I could cook in the dorm so that I could compliment my diet and make sure it was well rounded and as healthy as possible.
With time, I've learned how to balance my diet and social life and overcome the challenges of being a vegetarian in the South. When I go out I check the menus of the places I go to in order to make sure there'll be something delicious for me to eat and I've learned to laugh with those who make fun of my diet. Ultimately, the struggle has only reaffirmed to me that being a vegetarian is the right thing for me as it makes me feel good inside and out and despite the challenges I wouldn't change a single thing about going to school in the South or being a vegetarian.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.