I grew up my whole life eating juicy burgers, steaks, and lots of salmon and fish. Both my parents always knew (and still do know) how to make mouthwatering cuisines. Of course, I sometimes get that craving for one of their delicious meals, but coming to college I made the decision to become vegetarian... something I never thought I would do. I never felt as if meat was a bad thing to eat, but as soon as I became in charge of my own diet every day, I realized that I was feeling l bloated and just overall lazy and tired. After figuring out that it was the meat that was causing me to feel this way, I immediately went cold turkey (no pun intended) and stopped eating all meat.
I'll be the first to say: it is NOT easy to make such a drastic diet change in college. It is hard enough to adjust to the different foods offered in the cafeteria and to cut your options in half due to their content of meat, which makes that adjustment even harder. After I eventually adjusted and realized what I could and couldn’t eat, it became a habit to head to the salad bar or stir-fry vegetable station. The hardest part came when I took my first trip to Target and realized all of my usual snacks were not going to cut it if I wanted to be meat-free and health conscious. For all of you potential vegetarians or vegans, some of my favorite snacks are RX bars, nuts, carrots, Kind breakfast bars, and when I want something unhealthy and sweet, I usually go for the Halo Top ice cream.
The first few trips to the store were hard, but I promise it gets easier as you start to adjust to the new foods you're eating in place of meat or dairy. Since I stopped eating meat, I have overall felt more energetic, happier, and healthier. My advice to anyone considering going vegan or starting out vegetarian is to just give it a try. It doesn't have to be all at once, but take it one step at a time. It isn't realistic to say you are going to wake up one morning and not eat 3/4 of your normal foods that make up your daily diet. I am a culprit of being unreasonable with these things too though. One day I will get myself to the gym, eat two salads, and complete my full skincare routine, getting in bed before 12. The next day I am going to bed at 2 A.M. with a full face of makeup on and a bag of chips in hand. Nobody says you have to be perfect; everyone has a few cheat days here and there.
The most important thing is listening to your body and what it needs. College is a busy and overwhelming time, and it is okay to experiment different diet options and find the one that works best in your life. Regardless of your health habits, is it really so bad to pick a salad over curly fries every once and a while?