Vegetarians, vegans and people who have any idiosyncratic diet are becoming more and more prevalent as time continues. Here is what I have learned from being a vegetarian.
The time period was the fall of 2014. I was a freshman in high school, experiencing some finite new change. In the midst of all this, I realized I wanted to make another change; my diet. Although, it's not what you're probably thinking. I wasn't going to stop eating meat to be healthier nor save the animals, meat simply hadn't tasted good to me for months and I figured in a period with an ample amount of change, this was the time to do so.
Cold-turkey, I stopped eating any meat. Cow, chicken, pig or fish products were off limits, as well as their offspring (eggs). Some vegetarians don't do these extremities, but I had such an aversion to the taste of meat it was no problem. Although, it didn't come without external difficulties.
Primarily, certain family members scolded me that I wasn't consuming enough protein, blaming my constant state of fatigue and coldness on my newfound vegetarianism (symptoms I still experienced long before I stopped eating meat and continue to experience). Then for the following years, every time I was out with friends they'd ask since when and why I was a vegetarian. It was tedious to explain, needless to say. Occasionally awkward, when their use of heuristics tied my choice of vegetarianism to being a hardcore PETA supporter.
I chose to become a vegetarian due to the despise of meat, but I've learned so much more along the way.
For one, after many years of thinking I was the edgy vegetarian who would say, "I eat meat because I don't like the taste, not because I'm some crazy animal advocate" I learned I indeed, do care. Seeing videos of maltreatment of animals started to add another factor of why I was being meat abstinent.
Secondly, I soon saw I could thrive just like everyone else without this "protein-packed meat." I could eat something on the sweeter side (I.e. peanut butter, protein bars) and still get the nutrients I needed in, without feeling sluggish after eating, like I often did when I ate meat.
Lastly, I learned how it should, in fact, take time and thought into planning our meals. All in all, we eat to live, we don't live to eat. Therefore, preparation to make sure we're eating all of the components to constitute a healthy diet. Being a vegetarian aided this because during meals I had to think and plan, even though everyone should be doing that, in my opinion.
Being a vegetarian taught me more than just being self-righteous, it taught me how to mentally and physically live better.