It is one thing to eat an alternative diet when you are in charge of your family’s meals. What is it like for a student, who may not have that much control?
Being a vegetarian—someone who doesn’t eat meat, poultry, game, or any by-products of animal slaughter—is a choice that people make, but what’s it like being a vegetarian while being a student? Some students chose to become a vegetarian because it’s something popular in their town or school. Other choose to do it to better their health and then some simply do it to better the environment. Megan Koftinow, a senior at Central High School, says she chose to become a vegetarian because “I dislike meat, it kind of grosses me out and makes me sick.”
There are many disadvantages when choosing a vegetarian meal but adding high school lunches to the mix makes it more difficult. “All I can eat are subs every day,” says Megan. “And because they don’t give me meat, they put like 8 slices of cheese on my sandwich.” She feels there aren’t a lot of options on campus and that she can only eat subs and must resort to going off campus to find food that she can eat. According to Megan, her family is also not vegetarian, so bringing food from home can be difficult, meaning she must buy her own food.
Megan feels she is at a disadvantage at times, not only when it comes to food but always when it involves friends and people around her. “I still have dairy,” she says, “and I still have sushi, but other than that I eat lots of veggies and plant-based stuff. Many people dislike the fact that I’m vegetarian and I’m always worried someone will try to slip meat in my food as a joke. A lot of people don’t realize that if they do that it could make me really sick. Going to places, there aren’t a lot of options either.”
For a student, then, vegetarianism may be a choice, but it can still be difficult and make life a challenge.
Image: Tanzania – Vegetables are also colorful by Guldem Ustun on Flickr