Inside a vegetarian’s mind


Emma Bruce, Writer

I decided to become a vegetarian in the summer of 2012. I was approached by peta2, a youth program for an animals’ rights company, at a concert. They gave me a pamphlet showing pictures of abused animals, and it changed the way I thought about the foods I was eating.

Most of the people I’m close with have accepted my decision, however initially it was difficult for some of them to understand. Through these experiences, I’ve discovered omnivores typically have at least one of three reactions to the news.

The most common one is some phrase involving bacon. This person cannot seem to grasp that there are people that don’t worship the food like they do. Sure, bacon can taste pretty good, but there are other things you can eat on your sandwiches or with your waffles. I’m glad you’ve found a food you enjoy, but if you put it in perspective, some things are more important.

Another response I get is the “I was vegetarian for a day one time” story. It isn’t the fact that it only lasted for a day that bothers me, although I don’t really understand why we’re having this discussion if it only affected you for a day, it’s how most of the time the story ends with a remark like “then my dad made ribs for dinner”. I might just be sensitive about the topic, but I don’t interpret the tone it’s said in as a “congratulations on not giving up on the lifestyle,” and see it more as an “Eating meat is better, I’ve been a vegetarian for an entire day, so I know what I’m talking about.”

The third reply I get comes mostly from adults, especially family members. They’re enthusiasts of a study done showing that energy levels in plants change when they’re harmed. The conclusion drawn from this is that by eating plants instead of animals, I’m just harming a different group. I’m unsure what the correct way to solve this problem is since I have to eat something to survive. I feel guilty that I’m indirectly harming plants, but I don’t see how eating meat again would change how the plants feel.

I’m happy with my diet; I feel like I’m helping the animals and saving lives. I’m not trying to pressure you into becoming a vegetarian, but I would appreciate it if people would stop trying to pressure me out of it. You don’t cook my meals or have to eat them, so it really isn’t any of your business what I choose to put in my body and what I like to leave out.