A field of greens: vegetarian voices


Courtesy of Megan lee

A vegetarian dinner

Many students cannot imagine a life without meat. Cattle, poultry, and dairy are products that have become staple pieces in many diets. However, sophomores Megan Lee and Anna Vogus have made the life-changing decision to ditch the meats and become vegetarians.

Vegetarianism is the practice of not eating meat, fish and poultry. Vegetarians who decline the use and consumption of any animals products such as milk, eggs, cheese, leather and wool are called vegans.

There are many other subdivisions of vegetarianism such as being a lacto-vegetarian, someone who does not eat meat but does allow dairy products, or a ovo-vegetarian, a vegetarian that consumes eggs. These different choices are made strictly due to the personal beliefs of one person and can vary widely from one vegetarian to another. 

There are many reasons why people decide to be vegetarians, including ethical reasons such as compassion for animals rights, worries of world hunger and environmental concerns. Other chose this lifestyle simply due to health reasons or disliking the taste of animal products.

For Lee and Vogus, they were influenced by someone else about the lives of animals and later conducted their own research.

Vogus was inspired to go vegan after a conversation with her best friend Katie Dow. “We were talking about how makeup companies use animals for their projects, and I realized that I didn’t know that much about what animals are put through.”

Vogus then went online and watched educational videos on the topic. There were specific scenes that left an imprint in her mind such as one when the farmers struck a milking cow after she had given birth to keep her pregnant. “They had this machine that they put the little chicks in by their beaks,” Vogus said.

Currently, there are many documentaries such as “Cowspiracy,” “Earthlings” and “If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls Everybody Would Be a Vegetarian” that highlight the cruelty and environmental dangers that the agricultural industry has created.

Although the vegetarian lifestyle has gained popularity in recent years, many people still express their questions and doubts about this diet. One of the most frequently asked questions about this lifestyle is whether or not a person is able to receive all the nutrients and protein that they would normally get from animal products.

These concerns are set to rest because vegetarians can still load up on all the nutrients they need by eating foods such as peanut butter, soy, kale and spinach.

“I eat a lot of beans and rice mixed with a variety of sources of wheat. The list goes on of how many vegetables you can benefit from that are full of protein,” Lee said, “Tofu and other ‘meatless meats’ are another easy way to fit in protein and any other vitamins I may occasionally miss out on.”

Despite various concerns and misconceptions about lacking vitamins from onlookers, both Lee and Vogus say that being a vegetarian has improved their overall daily energy and mood. Vogus said that without the heavy meats in her meals, she feels much healthier than before the switch.

Lee is a three-peat athlete and being a vegetarian is definitely an advantage for her. “I definitely feel much more energized than I ever had been before, and I believe it’s helped me with my day-to-day stamina/endurance,” Lee said, “It’s helped me maintain a healthier lifestyle overall.”

Vogus has been a vegetarian since the eighth grade and Lee started her switch by being a pescatarian, eating fish as her only source meat, for nine months before becoming fully vegetarian five months ago.

Since they have already made the switch to becoming vegetarians, Lee and Vogus both say that they are open-minded to the vegan lifestyle as well. Vogus said that she plans to go vegan once she goes to college. “Once I go off to college and have to do my own grocery shopping, I will definitely make the switch,” Vogus said.

Even though both sophomores are the only ones in their respectives families that are vegetarians, they still receive their parents full support.

Lee’s parents were originally against the idea because they were worried about her performance as an athlete. “Not only are they okay with it now, but they support me and help in any way that they can, whether it’s making a meat-free dinner or making sure I get all the vitamins I need,” Lee said.

When asked about giving encouragement to others who are considering the vegetarian diet, the girls show their full enthusiasm. Both say that even though the transition might be difficult at first, the end result and the cause one is supporting is worth it.

“One person can really make the difference,” Vogus explains, “You are saving a ton of lives just by limiting your intake. Treating everyone, even animals, equally really shows how much you care and value every life.”