Opinion: What they never warned you about vegetarianism

Samantha+Karam+is+a+sophomore+journalism+major.+Contact+her+at%C2%A0skaram3%40kent.edu.

Samantha Karam is a sophomore journalism major. Contact her at [email protected]

Samantha Karam

Vegetarianism and veganism are gaining popularity in today’s day and age. People are becoming more aware of the foods they consume and where they come from.

I’ve always talked about how much I love the environment and have considered myself an animal lover for years, but up until a few weeks ago, I never committed to those beliefs as much as I wanted to. For years, I’ve contemplated how vegetarianism would affect my life. But I’m so glad I finally took the leap. I feel happier and healthier than I ever did before.  

I knew I would have to deal with getting hungry quicker than usual and not eating all the foods I’m used to, but since transitioning to vegetarianism, I’ve faced something no one ever warned me about.  

It’s the gap between the traditional American diet and full-on veganism. Neither side really seems fully satisfied with it.

Some people think vegetarians are crazy and the choice to stop eating meat won’t do anything in the long run, so they don’t see why anyone would even bother. Conversely, there’s a section of the vegan community that criticizes vegetarians for not having restrictive enough diets.  It was frustrating at first because vegetarianism is too extreme for some, and not enough for others.

Now that I’m openly committing to the lifestyle I’ve wanted, I’ve put my neck on the cutting block—so to speak. I’m open about my dietary choices, so people are open to share their opinions with me. We live in a society where meat consumption is a part of life for the majority, which is why so many people challenge and question vegetarians.

Since choosing vegetarianism for reasons regarding the environment and my love of animals, some people with even more restrictive diets than me look at it like I’m not doing as much as I should be because I still eat cheese and other non-meat animal products.

I’m proud of the decisions I made. I don’t think we should ever judge someone for doing too much or too little to stop animal cruelty, or to preserve the environment. Vegetarianism is an individual’s own choice. No one has the right to ridicule or demean that.

I’m not committing to this as a part of a fad. My decision doesn’t mean I think anyone who doesn’t choose to be a vegetarian is a bad person. There are many ways to take care of the environment and the animals without becoming vegetarian. I can only speak in regards to myself; I made this choice for me and I only have to answer to my morals and myself.

Samantha Karam is a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].