An omnivore’s vegetarian journey

Cody Francis

I hate hamburgers. I hate the way they taste, I hate the way they smell, I hate the way people look when eating them and I hate the way people judge me for not liking them.

Not wanting to sink my teeth into an 800-calorie Big Mac doesn’t mean I don’t eat meat, though. I usually eat some sort of chicken almost every day and I have never been known to turn down a ballpark hot dog. But I do have a few good friends that are vegetarians.

I used to enjoy teasing my herbivore friends at restaurants while stuffing my face with barbecue wings or ribs. I never really thought anything of it; I figured it’s their choice not to eat meat so they can just deal with it.

In February, I decided to try being a vegetarian for a month. Being a journalism major had taken its toll on my body — I was always tired, I felt unhealthy, I ate unhealthy, I drank with all the other journalists on the weekends (our profession requires it) — and I was looking for a way to improve my lifestyle. Why not vegetarianism? I kept a personal blog of some of my feelings during the 30 days, so here are some entries:

Feb. 28

Well, I haven’t eaten meat for around a week now, probably the first time since I was an infant.

I was at a comedy show in the Student Center Friday night and I hadn’t eaten all day, so I walked around and tried to find something, but all I could find was a bottle of milk from Einstein’s. I could literally find nothing vegetarian-friendly at that time of day. It was frustrating, but I never really thought of eating meat.

March 7

It’s good to be home to a fridge full of food I’m allowed to eat! I was at Central Michigan over the weekend covering the MAC wrestling tournament and I honestly almost broke. Here was the media spread on Saturday: KFC in the morning, BW3’s at lunch and Jimmy John’s turkey and ham subs and more BW3 for dinner.

In the morning, I could deal. I ate an apple. But lunch was a different story. BW3’s wings might be my favorite things to eat, and there they were — for free! Instead, I ate some chips and salsa. OK, an entire BW3 order of chips and salsa. When I walked back in the media room for dinner and saw Jimmy John’s, I figured I was in for a treat with some sort of vegetarian option. Nope. I ate an orange and a bag of chips.

Although it may have been the toughest day so far and I don’t see any day tougher, I’m proud of myself. I was even by myself in the media room and I could have had a wing without anyone knowing, but I held out. I think it was worth it, because Saturday could have been one of the unhealthiest (but enjoyable) days of my life.

March 19

Two days left. It’s funny, but I’ve actually grown accustomed to this lifestyle — kind of. I still crave BW3’s, but I feel pretty good. I’ve only eaten out a few times in the past month and I’ve lost eight pounds.

I don’t know, maybe I’ll keep this going for more than a month…


…I didn’t. On March 21, I went to BW3 and got 12 boneless parmesan garlic wings. It felt like a good decision at the time, but I was a bit sick from not eating meat for 30 days.

Overall, though, the experience was not only healthy — I did lose eight pounds — but it was eye opening. I realized the hassle vegetarians have to go through to live their lifestyle. With the food spread at the wrestling tournament, I realized how ignorant people are to assume everyone eats meat.

I have a newfound respect for vegetarians. Not that I think people should all do what I did, but people really should reassess their eating habits. Instead of a junior bacon cheeseburger two or three times a week because it’s convenient, why not just once a week? I found out that planning out an eating schedule helps me eat healthier. If I know what I’m eating and when, I’m less likely to break down and grab a burrito.

So next time, before you bite down into that bacon and cheese sandwich with fried chicken for buns, think about what you’re about to eat and what you look like eating it.

Cody Francis is a senior newspaper journalism major and sports editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].