7 Things You Learn When You're A Vegetarian

7 Things You Learn When You're A Vegetarian

Having green brain sounds pretty cool.

Last August, I sat under the circling ceiling fan in my kitchen, swinging legs back and forth in an impatient tantrum while staring at the ticking timer on my oven. I had never eaten a meat substitute before, and I was nervous to see if the $6 I had just paid for a tiny bag of “chicken” nuggets would be worth it. A year has now passed since I haven't eaten meat and I’m proud to share these tips and experiences with meat-eaters, veg-heads, and everyone in-between.

1. If you’re a vegetarian for a long time, your brain might turn green.

Or, you will be always be reminded of the rare instances in which vegans and vegetarians have been studied under autopsy and coroners have found green-tinged brains. Some might use these stories to try and persuade you back into flesh-eating life but, honestly, having green brain sounds pretty cool; it might serve as even more incentive to avoid meat-based meals!

2. Your lifestyle will become a hot topic of conversation.

“Do you eat eggs?” “Do you drink milk?” “Why did you decide to quit eating meat?” These questions will mostly be provoked out of concern and interest - but if you’re considering the transition, prepare for constant inquiry.

3. Few people understand the differences in vegans and vegetarians.

It’s honestly really simple: vegetarians don’t eat meat while vegans don’t eat any animal product, including milk, eggs, and gelatin. Vegetarians may choose to avoid eggs and gelatin but (typically) will consume dairy products. A variation of the vegetarian diet is pescetarianism, which allows the consumption of fish.

4. Plants have protein!

And protein is important on all kinds of levels. After my initial transition, I thought I was limited to tofu and tempeh for my protein sources but the internet has lead me to a huge variety of choices for this important nutrient. Plant-based protein sources include: broccoli, hemp seeds, seeds & nuts, quinoa, spirulina, edamame, and more!

5. Gelatin is gross.

You’re just going to have to Google this one, folks. You’ll never look at a marshmallow the same way again.

6. Vegetarianism does wonders for the environment!

Studies show that diets that contain less meat and more plant-based meals use less water and scarce resources, compared to traditional meat-filled diets; vegetarianism also has a positive impact on the amount of greenhouse gases being released. You’re not just saving animals -- you’re saving the planet!

7. Anti-meat does not equate to anti-farm (It also does not equate to pro-animal life.)

Many vegetarians want to do all they can to support local farmers. They can do this by purchasing locally-grown fruits and vegetables, as well as buying dairy products from grocery stores that are supplied by local dairy farmers. Vegans and vegetarians recognize the hard-work of farmers who raise their crops and animals with levels of integrity and ethics and want to support them so that they can continue raising food for their communities.

It’s also shown that many who people convert to plant-based diets have reasons beyond the scope of saving the lives of animals who would otherwise be slaughtered. Other reasons for the lifestyle conversion could include environmental concern, health concern, and awareness of the food they are intaking. Restricting your diet to the extent that vegans and vegetarians do requires heightened awareness of ingredients, freshness, nutrition, and preparation of every meal.

Cover Image Credit: Jonas Mikka Luster

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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10 Easter Candies That Should Be Thrown In The Trash IMMEDIATELY

Marshmallows should not be considered a candy.


As a child, it was such an exciting feeling to wake up on Easter morning.

You would spend that morning near the entryway of your home, waiting for the famous Easter bunny to ring the doorbell or knock on the door. After hearing that anticipated sound at the door, you'd take off running as fast as your little legs would take you in an attempt to catch a glimpse of this lightning-fast animal that never seemed to fail you in the candy department.

Your disappointment from missing him was always immediately forgotten because of the giant basket that he left behind.

As an adult, I still get an Easter basket, and no matter how old I get, I'm still just as excited as I was when I was five.

Only these days, my taste buds are more developed, and just because it's loaded with sugar doesn't mean it's gonna cut it.

Below is a list of Easter candies that belong in the trash rather than in a basket.

1. Peeps


There is nothing worse than a Peep, and if you like them you're a psychopath.

2. Brach's Jellybeans

brach's jelly beans

Brach's jellybeans are the worst. They taste like cleaning supplies.

Starburst jellybeans are the move.

3. Robin Eggs

robin eggs

Points for festivity, but it still doesn't change the fact that they're gross.

4. Cadbury Creme Eggs

cadbury eggs

I honestly just can't get over the mess.

5. Jordan Almonds

jordan almonds

First of all, these shouldn't even be considered a candy. Second, good luck eating these without breaking a tooth.

6. Hollow Chocolate Bunnies

hollow chocolate bunny

A lot of people oppose solid bunnies because it's just "too much chocolate." In my opinion, there is no such thing as too much chocolate and these hollow bunnies just don't provide enough.

7. Ferrero Rocher

ferrero rocher

My sister likes these and I always gag when I see them poking out of her basket. Ferrero Rocher = TRASH.

8. Bunny Corn

bunny corn

Like candy corn, but with different colors — and it's just as bad in the spring as it was in the fall.

9. Russell Stover Marshmallow Eggs

marshmallow eggs

Again with the marshmallows?

10.  Edible Easter Grass

edible easter grass

I just wanna know who came up with this idea? Who let this happen? This is just not okay.

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