When I first became vegetarian, I had no idea of the impact it would have on my life. It was during Christmas break in sixth grade, and I had just seen a YouTube ad of Paul McCartney (whom I idolized) saying that if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian. At that moment, my eleven year old, Beatles-obsessed self simply decided that this was it—I was going to be vegetarian.
Coming from a family practically made up of carnivores, they all immediately laughed at me. My older brother chuckled, “I wonder how long this will last”. My family had seen me dig into basically every meat imaginable without a second thought. Particularly, I had always loved a rare prime rib, my Dad and I would often joke about how rare we like our steak, saying “It’s so rare, you can still hear it moo.”
From all of this information, it’s hard to believe that my eleven-year-old self was able to stop eating all meat and stick with it . It definitely was not easy, for the first few months I craved a prime rib more than anything else. It also didn’t help that my family made no change to their eating habits, keeping meat present at almost every family meal. But after about six months, eating vegetarian became a way of life for me. I didn’t even think about it anymore, and it was no longer a struggle. Not to mention, as I became more and more immersed into the vegetarian culture through social media platforms, I kept seeing more and more reasons to continue my vegetarianism.
So you may be wondering, how exactly did being vegetarian impact my life so greatly? For starters, vegetarianism gave me something to stand for at a young age. Being able to actively stand up against something gave me a sense of freedom that nothing else compared to. While my friends and family laughed at me, I loved more than anything to be able to stand up for the rights of animals. I loved having something to learn more about, attempt to get friends to try and to preach to anyone who would listen.
To me, vegetarianism is like my personal revolution. With consistent environmental degradation and carbon emissions into the atmosphere caused by the animal agriculture industry, keeping my diet plant-based helps me feel like I’m doing something to help the earth. Staying plant-based has made me look at the earth and nature in a way I never did before. I view myself as an equal of animal's, rather than viewing humans as the apex predator. I see beyond the society humans have created on earth, and I have begun to understand that animals have their own societies throughout the world, unaffected by our own.
As I have grown up, I have become more and more educated on the benefits of limiting meat and dairy consumption, and I am forever grateful that that Paul McCartney commercial came up on Youtube on that fateful day almost six years ago. Vegetarianism gave me something to fight for, and I plan on doing so until animal agriculture is taken down. This has simply been about my personal story when it comes to living plant-based, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts in this column about animal rights, the environment, or even just recipes—all things encompassed under the large umbrella of veganism/vegetarianism.