Over one year ago, I chose to become a vegetarian. My experience thus far has been interesting, challenging, and wonderful.

I chose to become a vegetarian for a few reasons. My mother is vegetarian, but my dad eats lots of meat. Over the years, I began to lower my consumption of meat (not that I ate an overwhelming amount of it) and we rarely had meat at home. I’ve always felt senses of guilt and hypocrisy when eating meat, and I decided that testing my morals wasn’t worth including meat in my diet.

Additionally, due to my unfortunate struggle with body image and weight, I believed that becoming a vegetarian would be better for my health and would make me feel lighter.

I am happy with my decision. I do feel lighter and healthier. I pay more attention to how I am fueling my body and this leads me to make better choices. Since I did not eat much meat anyway, the transition was fairly smooth.

At the same time, this change has definitely not been easy. My bones are generally weaker. I exercise quite a bit (I don’t consume enough calories for how many I burn on a daily basis) and I do not receive enough protein, calcium, and iron to supplement my rigorous routine. Last summer, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my pelvic bone for precisely this reason. I was not able to exercise for two months and this was unpleasant.

I occasionally miss certain meals that contain meat, but this does not happen often. I remind myself of the benefits and how they outweigh the costs.

When I became a vegetarian, I didn’t know if I was going to maintain this diet for the rest of my life or if I was just going to try it for a certain amount of time. I still don’t know the answer to this predicament, but I do know that being vegetarian has mostly changed my life for the better.

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