'Going Vegetarian' Isn't As Hard Or As Pointless As You Think It Is

'Going Vegetarian' Isn't As Hard Or As Pointless As You Think It Is

Cutting back on meat is better for your heart and for the world around you.

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I grew up with a family that ate a lot of meat. As a kid, I hunted with my dad, and I thoroughly enjoyed eating bacon and tri-tip every other weekend. I always commented on vegetarians, telling everyone I knew that I could never go vegetarian, I could never give up meat, I would miss meat too much. It's healthier and more well-balanced to be eating meat, and one person not eating meat does not make a difference to the environment.

Well, I'm here to break the news and just say it.

I stopped eating meat.

I know, I know. Hold the gasps of horror and silence the screaming children. I'm OK, I promise.

I never saw this change coming, but I'm here, over a month into my new vegetarian lifestyle, and I am surviving. In fact, I am doing much better than I thought I would be, and not eating meat has actually been one-hundred times easier than I thought it would be.

So, let me break down some of these meat-myths for all of you reading at home.

Not eating meat, or cutting back on how much meat you eat, actually lowers your risk of developing heart disease.

You get enough protein from other foods such as eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, peas, and soy products, so going meat-less is not unhealthy.

Cutting down on meat helps the environment by using less water and generating less greenhouse gasses.

I thought it would be hard to stop eating meat, that I would find myself lying awake at night dreaming of a juicy steak, a thick slab of bacon, or even a McDonalds cheeseburger. Surprisingly enough, 'going vegetarian' has been a relatively easy transition. Sure, I get the annoyed eye-rolls when I tell servers I don't want meat in my pasta or on my pizza, but who cares.

When I first decided to cut meat out of my diet, I left fish in my diet, purely for the sake of eating sushi. I was a pescatarian. In the last two weeks, I have decided to go strictly vegetarian from now on. I can sacrifice a little bit of my sushi obsession and get a veggie or tofu roll instead.

Going vegetarian is easy, and I have learned a lot about myself and the world around me in the past month. I have opened myself up to new foods, I have discovered a newfound appreciation for veggies, I decided I absolutely love tofu, and I have become much more aware of the effect one person can really have on the world. Sure, one vegetarian is not going to stop global warming, but if I can help reduce my own impact in any small way, I might as well give it a try.

I am not here to tell everyone to stop eating meat entirely. I respect your decisions and your choices, and I hope you do the same for me. But I do encourage you to test yourself, see how much meat you are really eating in your everyday diet. Challenge yourself to eat a little less red meat and a few more plants. Your heart might thank you later.

So far, I am loving being vegetarian, and I cannot wait to keep challenging myself.

Who knows, maybe I will try being vegan next.

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Explaining Wawa To Someone Who's Never Heard Of It

An inevitable and surprisingly frequent topic of conversation.

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Those familiar with Wawa will inevitably come to a time when they mention the store and are greeted with blank stares of confusion. Most have at least heard of the store, often in comparison with Sheetz, but trying to actually describe it is a frustrating process which might go something like this:

"What the heck is a Wawa? That doesn't even sound like a real word?"

They have the little picture of a goose in their logo just to help explain this portion, nonverbally.

"Why are you excited about gas station food?"

It's a convenience store with a gas station. Just because it has gas and has largely become known for its sale of gas does not make the gas the main component of the store. Plenty of locations still exist which are solely the market component of Wawa. Also, there are fruit and vegetables in Wawa in comparison to the mostly pre-packaged goods at some gas stations.

"But, still — it can't be that good?"

I can get a kale salad, a hoagie, and a donut all in one place. They don't even have to go together, it's just convenient, wide-ranging in food type, and they're all individually delicious.

"What do you mean they advertise with airplanes?"

It's almost guaranteed sitting on the Jersey Shore beach that you will see planes flying overhead with banners advertising for hoagiefest.

"What the heck is hoagiefest?"

It's a yearly sale featuring annoyingly catchy marketing jingles and overplayed advertisements, but it's also a time for discounted hoagies — so it's worth it. Also, if you call hoagies, subs or sandwiches, or anything else of the sort, you probably had the "What is a Wawa?" conversation with someone.

"Are you from Philadelphia, then?"

Wawa territory is actually decently large, with answers to this question ranging from "Yes," "Not really, but kind of" to "No, Florida."

"Why do you miss it?" (Or "Stop complaining.")

This question (or outright statement) probably followed you complaining about how long it's been since you went there, even if you were just there this morning. In the event that it has been a decent length of time since you made it there, you might just be entering Wawa deprivation.

How is it different from Sheetz?

To quote Elizabeth Barrett Browning "Let me count the ways."

To quote my friends, "It just is!"

"Do you want to go there now?"

Yes! (Time is irrelevant to this answer.)

Cover Image Credit: Forbes

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Eating Breakfast Won't Guarantee Weight Loss, Balancing Calorie Intake Will

Is it really OK to not eat breakfast every day if you are not hungry?

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Eating breakfast is something that I absolutely dread to do. Although, speculations are such that having breakfast can lead to weight loss and is therefore recommended. Despite growing up hearing the same old saying, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day," I have always decided to rebel against it and leave home without eating anything in the morning. The reason partly being that I'm not a morning person but am still trying to pursue that classic route.

Nowadays, when my hypothalamus signals my stomach to undergo some type of "hunger game," I resort to eating a granola bar or some saltine crackers before leaving for work or class. However, some days I still stick to my lifelong routine of not eating breakfast in the morning if the "hunger hormone," Ghrelin does not kick into my system.

The conventional saying and nutritional guideline, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper" goes a long way. Nevertheless, I'm someone who reverses this protocol to something more like "Eat breakfast like a pauper, lunch like a king, and dinner like a prince."

But to my pleasant surprise, there is absolutely nothing completely unhealthy or wrong about my mantra. In fact, a recent study led by Dr. Flavia Cicuttini, professor of Epidemiology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia published by BMJ revealed that eating breakfast does not necessarily lead to weight loss and it is not mandatory for everyone to eat breakfast if they don't feel hungry. This scintillating scientific breakthrough truly made my day as it further reaffirmed my rationale behind skipping breakfast as something slightly beneficial to the human body.

Moreover, their main objective was to underpin the correlation between breakfast consumption on body mass and metabolism in people from high-income countries focusing primarily on the U.S. and UK. In addition, their study was implemented by analyzing the data and results from 13 clinical trials distinguishing breakfast-eaters and non-breakfast eaters.

As a matter of fact, their study concluded that eating breakfast is not directly related to weight loss and skipping breakfast does not necessarily lead to weight gain. In other words, people are prone to consuming most of their calories while having breakfast thus leading to increased weight gain.

So is it really OK to not eat breakfast every day if you are not hungry? As long as you are able to eat when your "hunger hormone" tells you to, you should be good to go! Essentially, the ideal way to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle is to keep constant track of how many calories you consume in a single day and to actively follow a diet chart in order to lose or even maintain constant body weight.

Ultimately, you are the only person in full control of your appetite and can best decide when to eat heavily and when to not. To all breakfast-eaters, strive to balance your calories throughout the day instead of always eating breakfast like a king!

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