college vegetarian vegan lifestyle change

4 tips to Cut Out Meat from your diet, Cold Turkey

A beginner's guide to becoming vegetarian/vegan in college.


Coming into college, I was exceptionally worried about gaining that notorious "freshman 15."

In high school, I always reverted to being a relatively poor eater as I napped after my numerous fried chicken sandwiches from Chick-Fil-A and indulged on convenient but unhealthy afterschool snack options on multiple occasions. I always felt a slightly guilty feeling after eating what I did, perhaps due to my past experiences with food shaming and bullying for my weight or maybe because what I was eating wasn't good for my body or my mindset.

I had many friends and other acquaintances that had adopted vegan and vegetarian lifestyles throughout the years. It was fascinating to see the plethora of options available to them including almond milks, kombuchas, and probiotics, vegan cheese, vegan eggs, meat substitutes, nutritional yeast, etc. I loved how informed my colleagues were about their health, the environment, and the truth behind where our food comes from. I desired to stabilize an efficient diet for myself that would withstand hours of energy for classes, workouts, and walking around Tallahassee without a car, without all of the extra supplemental caffeine provided by my Redbull.

It was extremely hard cutting out meat entirely as Italian heritage thick runs through my blood and my plate. Saying "no" to nonna's fried chicken cutlets, chicken parmigiana, and penne al la vodka with pancetta was a disgrace. I needed to give this lifestyle change a shot in order to give myself the nourishment I desperately needed. After only a few weeks of making myself fun, plant-based recipes and of course, dealing with some mishaps on the way, I eventually got the hang of this healthy eating thing! After all, I lost 15 pounds and felt like a little ray of sunshine walking on Florida State University's campus. I was able to connect with friends from both my dorm room at Gilchrist and the classroom that were also on this vegan and vegetarian college journey with me and that support was essential for my success.

After a year of solid vegetarianism, I strayed to my moderate meat intake and eventually gained back the weight I had kept off. However, about a week ago on June 18, 2018, I pledged never to eat meat again. Throughout my journey with eating less meat and more plant nutritious items, I hoped to break the stigma regarding vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. No people, we do not just eat grass and inhale air.

I made a Tofurky roast for Thanksgiving 2017 and was actually ridiculed via Snapchat for not being "American" because I chose to not eat a real turkey. I'm not the kind of girl to hound animal activism, environmental sustainability, or vegetarianism/veganism down your throat, so if you read this and don't feel intrigued to try something new, that is totally up to you, your diet is not a problem to me. However, I think it is so utterly important to try new things and give it a chance because how will you ever know unless you try! Even if you just have one meatless Monday, you will cut your overall carbon footprint by 20% and will save nearly 133 gallons of water with each meatless meal you savor. I have gathered a list of overall advice and tips for people considering trying a day of meatless loving or even better, a potential lifestyle of plant-based bliss.

First of all, do you want to try vegetarianism or veganism? Do you know the difference?

Most people get confused about which is which so I'm here to simplify it for you. Vegans do not eat fish, meat, or dairy which includes eggs, and many people do not know that. Vegetarians do not eat fish or meat but still can have eggs and dairy.

Here are some tips for this transition to become more simplified, and less restricted. I found these to be extremely helpful for my journey and urged to pass them along. In the end, do what you want to do! Plant-based foods most of the time are great so please don't restrict yourself. Think "What's going to make me feel my best!"

1. Cooking meals at home is a must, so less takeout food.

  • If you do want to enjoy a meal out with friends, don't mind asking the waiter what options are vegetarian/vegan if it's not explicitly said. I used to feel annoying and petty about asking but please do not. Many of my vegan friends have explained to me about how commonly people have food allergies to nuts, eggs, dairy, etc. and need to ask themselves. Schedule time for preparing meals so you don't feel overwhelmed when you're hit with an endless list on your agenda planner This is an "eat in abundance" lifestyle, so don't cut yourself short from it. Add exciting options that are appealing to try- for example, new milks and meat substitutes. Also, make sure to stay stocked on your favorite veggies, fruits, beans, and rice! I recommend trying out Trader Joe's, Lucky's Market or Publix for some amazing and inexpensive options. The myth is that this lifestyle is very hard to afford but I promise that is false.

2. Take your vitamins!

  • B12 for energy levels and healthy blood cells
  • Vitamin D for strong bone health
  • Vitamin C for immunity

3. Think about why you want to become vegetarian or vegan.

  • Cowspiracy documentary: the impact of the meat industry on the environment.
  • Earthlings documentary: GRAPHIC, shows what the animals go through during the meat process, how they are treated rather cruelly than our preconceived notions that they frolic on farm pastures, look into the fur farm industry, animal shelters, and factory farming
  • Food Inc. documentary: a look inside large animal processing facilities and examines aspects of how food goes from factory to chain restaurant plates.
  • Gelatin research! Read your labels and see what's inside the product your holding. You will be disgusted by how many items contain gelatin base in them which is ground up and boiled animal carcass, bones, and other tissue! I once opened up honey roasted peanuts to see that gelatin was one of the main ingredients.

4. Have a positive mindset about this endeavor, it gets easier with time.

  • Think simple!! Adapt your favorite foods to the vegetarian alternatives. Try Pinterest for vegetarian and vegan meals for ideas! Barnes and Nobles also has a great section of recipe books that are so simple and contain few ingredients
  • Take your time with it. Be slow. Your habits will eventually change. You will adapt to wanting to eat healthily! And its guilt-free (for the most part). Adding one day meatless is completely fine.
  • You don't have to be healthy all the time. Having a vegetarian plant-based diet should already fill you up with the nutrients you need. If you eat healthy 80-90% of the time, you can definitely binge and make some sweets or try some vegan sweet options that make you curious!

Cover Image Credit:

Photo by Lefteris kallergis on Unsplash

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20 Fun Facts To Use When Introducing Yourself

As we embark on the semester, we are put on the spot in order to share interesting details about ourselves. This article discloses possible fun facts to tell others!

After experiencing my first week of classes, I have learned that every student needs a handy-dandy list of fun facts about themselves to tell other people. Many professors use the first couple of classes to learn about their students, so you may need to think about who you are and how you want to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. We all have that one go-to interesting fact about ourselves, but sometimes you just have to mix it up!

1. My favorite hobby is...

What do you do in your free time? Personally, I love to stay active! I am a competitive Latin dancer and enjoy teaching and taking Zumba classes, going to the gym, and hiking.

2. I love...

Is there something, someone, or somewhere that you love? What makes your heart ache? What do you miss when it's gone? I can say that I love my friends because I feel my most confident when I'm surrounded by those who love and support me.

3. I look up to...

Is there someone you adore? Who mesmerizes you? Who do you wish to learn from? After watching "A Ballerina's Tale," I discovered Misty Copeland. In 2015 she became the first African American ballet dancer to become the Female Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her passion, grace, and strength continuously motivate me to better myself as an athlete and an individual.

4. This art speaks to me because...

Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." This encourages me to always follow my heart no matter what. I will never follow society's standards and norms because they do not define me. Chanel's saying definitely influences my character and lifestyle.

5. A funny and/or embarrassing memory of me is...

When you make others laugh they want to spend time and make memories with you! Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself. You will come off as down to earth, easy-going, and loyal.

6. My siblings or lack thereof influenced me by...

I can go on and on about my brother, who is 10 years older than I. We have opposite personalities and despite the age gap, we're quite close.

7. My pet(s) are my life because...

Only sad people don't like hearing about furry creatures, even if your pets are slimy and slithering creatures all human beings enjoy hearing pet tales!

8. I'm afraid of...

Your personality can be revealed by your likes and dislikes, including the things that you fear. I am terrified of change and the unknown, hence, the future is an anxiety-inducing topic to discuss for me.

9. I am the way I am because...

What have you gone through in life that has shaped you into who you are today? Remember to be open minded and allow yourself to open up to your peers. You may be surprised by how others respond and/or what others have endured as well.

10. The most unusual item that can be found in your dorm...

This is a fun fact about yourself that can easily liven up an awkward conversation. Think about your quirks and differences! One item I have in my dorm is my teddy bear, Peter, whom I like to joke is my boyfriend.

11. My dream job is...

In college, "What's your major?" is a widespread question. Nonetheless, skip the boring statement of "I'm majoring in..." and go in depth on what your dream job is (hopefully your major factors in to this dream of yours).

12. My hidden talents are...

Angelina Jolie is a knife thrower. Kendall Jenner can produce bird noises. Amanda Seyfried can crochet and knit. Is there anything special you can do? Some people have rare and unique talents, maybe you can think of some hidden talents of your own!

13. My guilty pleasure is...

I will say it a million times: don't be shy when introducing yourself to new people! I'll start by divulging my guilty pleasure: Youtube's family vlogging channel, "OKBaby"!

Check them out:

14. Some activities on my bucket list are...

This is an easy way to grab people's attention and find others with similar desires as you. Be an adventurer! Go out of your comfort zone!

15. Talk about your best friend...

How would your best friend describe you? What do you love to do with your best friend?

16. Talk about an accomplishment of yours...

You are incredible and have achieved so much! Reveal something that you are proud of — show off a little!

17. This one time at my job...

Bosses breathing down your neck. Curious coworkers asking personal questions. Cursing customers who never leave you alone. Your job can be filled with tons of hilarious situations that can easily entertain a crowd.

18. During the summer...

Any scars with stories? Any summer flings? Any lessons learned from the tanning too long? Now that summer is over, disclose memories that can leave positive impressions on others.

19. I volunteer at...

Do you do any community service? Share a funny moment while you were volunteering. What did you learn while there? Would you continue?

20. [blank] is meaningful to me because...

What do you appreciate in life? What brightens your day? What makes you fall in love? What does someone have to do to make you smile?

Finally, remember to be outgoing! Reveal that three-mile smile and open your arms to learning about others. Spread smiles, love, and happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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20 Things I'd Do If The Concept Of Time Was Abolished

If only our lives weren't limited by time.


Recently, news outlets have been reporting on how the people of Sommarøy, a Norwegian island located north of the arctic circle, would like to remove the concept of time. This is largely in part due to the fact that the sun does not set during much of the summer nor does it rise during the winter. The inhabitants of Sommarøy do not have rigidly separated days and nights like the rest of the world and can be found doing normal daytime activities at 2 am in the summers.

They also would like to take clocks out of their society. Although this lifestyle might seem impractical to the rest of us, I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to live in a world where time is irrelevant, in regards to the concept AND the physical effects of its passing. This newfound information gave rise to ideas of things (some simple, some whimsical) I'd do if the concept of time did not exist and we had as much time to do the things we wanted.

1. Live on a ship at sea.

2. Watch a flower grow from a seed to its death.

3. Apply as much makeup as desired without being late.

4. Retake my favorite college courses and participate as fully as I possibly can, including the completion of every single reading and film.

5. Take a non-stop trip through every country in the world.

6. Learn to play and fully master every single musical instrument in existence.

7. Watch a full rotation of Earth around the sun from space.

8. Live by myself in a cabin at the edge of the woods a la Thoreau.

9. Reread every single book that shaped my childhood.

10. Have a brief conversation with every old friend.

11. Re-drink that first sip of the perfect cup of coffee.

12. Observe how the tides change with the lunar cycle.

13. Learn as many languages as possible.

14. Sit at the beach and listen to music for days.

15. Train for an Olympic event.

16. Write a detailed, thorough analysis of every track in my favorite movie soundtracks.

17. Take a photo of every interesting place I visit and every little nook I find peace in and make a physical photo album.

18. Cook food without burning it.

19. Watch a star's life cycle from birth to death.

20. Replay the feeling of coming home.


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