My freshman year of high school, I had a best friend who had been a vegetarian for years. Being around her long enough inspired me to do my own research on it. I watched documentaries, read articles, and consulted with vegetarians I knew, and I eventually decided I would give it a try.
I guess I should start out with why I made this decision. For one, there are many different things in meat that makes it unhealthy for the human body, and it made me become almost disgusted at the thought of consuming it. Next, especially in documentaries, I observed how the animals are treated prior to being processed, and I did not want to be an advocate of that treatment. So I embarked on the journey of being a vegetarian.
For the first few months, it was difficult. Going out to eat with friends who ate meat presented difficulty in staying on my vegetarian track -- eventually, I didn't go out to eat with them as much. Another thing that was difficult was trying to keep a balanced diet while having cut out a primary food group: meat, which provides a lot of protein for the body. My mom was always concerned I was actually not being healthy by being a vegetarian. However, there are supplements and other foods that have protein such as nuts, tofu, and Morning Star foods that mimic meat and provide protein without actually being meat. While these things could be expensive, they were necessary for me to remain healthy.
As the months went on, being a vegetarian became more rewarding than it was difficult. I was able to go out with friends without feeling any temptation while watching them eat meat. My diet was satisfied and being a vegetarian became less and less of a big deal to me. I loved the way being a vegetarian made me feel. It made me feel like I stood for something different than most other people, and I felt healthier with every day I did not consume meat. It also helped me feel more in control over something in my life, since everything else during that time was pretty much up in the air. Overall, the experience of being a vegetarian was incredibly enlightening, and I quite honestly would love to do it again. It's not just a dietary choice, it's a lifestyle.
So then, why did I quit after over a year? Mostly due to others, unfortunately. My family found it becoming increasingly difficult to have to make two meals a night because they remained meat eaters. This was not only expensive, but inconvenient for them, and during this time, being a sophomore in high school, I certainly couldn't pay for it. So one morning, I went to Chick-Fil-A with some friends, had some Chicken Minis, and that was the end of it. I'm sure you all can imagine how sick I was after having eaten meat for the first time in such a long time -- it was not pretty. Not to mention emotionally I was a bit disappointed in myself for a long time.
It's been a couple years since then and I have steadily continued to eat meat again. I have not decided if I will become a vegetarian when I go to college since there will be several vegetarian options available. However, I would recommend that everyone at least try it once in their life, whether it be for a day or for years. The experience is definitely worth it if nothing else.