Challenge Series: Vegetarian

The Galileo Journalism staff recently embarked on individual challenges meant to push their boundaries and lead to improvement. Each challenge lasted between one to two weeks and was meant to evoke some self realization. Here are their stories.

Nowadays, people are growing ever more concerned over their health in relation to food choices. The battle between vegans and vegetarians versus today’s carnivore centered society continues to grow and expand into almost every conversation, social media platforms, and other outlets. With all this hype surrounding how supposedly healthy being vegetarian is and how much more energy and better you will feel, I challenged myself to become vegetarian for a whole week.
Nutrition is huge part of my life, since I try and be pretty active outside of school. Apart from having dragon boat practice 4 times a week, I workout outside of practice as well. This all accumulates to a lot of energy being used, which I replenish with food, especially protein from meats. I knew this would be tough simply because I consume proteins such as chicken or any type of meat typically two out of three meals a day.
Eliminating all meats and going vegetarian wasn’t extremely difficult in my head, I believed I could just choose what to eat and what not to eat. Lifestyle wise though it was much more difficult. Before practices or a good workout, fueling up is a priority. Bringing vegetarian food from home, not eating out, and meal prepping saved a lot of temptation. My family made it increasingly difficult by still eating meat Typical meals at home during the challenge consisted a lot of eggs, rice, quinoa, potatoes, pasta, and beans. However, immediately after starting the challenge I noticed I wasn’t as energetic and as motivated at practices and workouts. Tasks like paddling that are familiar to me started to become more difficult and tiring. Still, I was determined to finish this challenge and just hoped it started to get better later on.
The rest of the week went by without a hitch, the tiredness started to become the norm for me, so I didn’t notice much of a difference after the first day or two. After finishing the challenge, I noticed that it definitely was doable, just not extremely enjoyable. Even though one week isn’t a significant amount of time to give something up for, it taught me more about being open minded and trying new things that were outside of what I would usually do. I have a newfound respect for vegetarians, being able to willingly give up something like that. Although it was a good experience, I probably will never willingly commit to being a vegetarian. However, it did show me that I can follow through with tasks if I truly put my mind to it.

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