The Life of a Vegetarian
By Kyleen, age 15, Arizona
This is my story. I live the life of an ovo-lacto vegetarian. For people who don't know what an ovo-lacto vegetarian is, it's a person who chooses to not eat red meat or fish. They are permitted, however, to eat poultry, like chicken and turkey. They are also not allowed to eat eggs or have honey.
Confused? That's ok. We are prohibited to eat eggs because they are possible baby chicks, and to the vegetarian lifestyle that would be like being pregnant and having an abortion of the child - it is not a thing we would like to do. Honey is prohibited because it is a natural labor for honey bees, but the way we produce it for humans turns it into a mandatory manual labor.
Now you're probably sitting back and saying, Wow, vegetarians are weirdos, and you are entitled to your opinion. But I want to show you how being a vegetarian can be a rough, but fulfilling lifestyle.
Daily I have people ask me, Why are you vegetarian? I never really know how to answer that. Normally I just say, Well, why do you watch TV? Because you choose to. Well, I choose to be a vegetarian. But really I guess I am a vegetarian because of an experience I had about 3 years ago with lobsters. It's a very interesting story, even though right now you may be laughing. You see, my family and I went to Maine, which is known as the lobster state, visiting my dad's mother and sister. While there we went to a crab shack out by the beach. My mother ordered a lobster, and headed to the tank where she could pick out her lobster. As I walked over there with her I saw that all the lobsters' claws were tapped up, and I found that cruel. I have always been emotional with animal cruelty, and this happened to feel like animal cruelty. So she picked her lobster, and they grabbed her choice and took it to the back.
Photo Credit: Creative Solutions
As they left I asked her if the lobsters felt pain while they killed them, and she responded, "Yes, they actually scream." Right then I told her, "Mom, I am going to become a vegetarian." She looked at me like I was a nut case because our family is a big meat eating family, and I had always been one myself. I used to chow down on tons of ribs, but for 3 years now I have tried my very best to keep my lifestyle.
It's pretty difficult to keep up with the lifestyle. Food, smells, and pictures taunt me with my past meat-eating lifestyle. What I want people to know is that it's not easy, not one bit. I have slipped up because it does become difficult and hard to handle. People have teased me more since I became a vegetarian, because most of my peers believe that animals are there to be eaten. Again, I say, everyone has their opinion.
Over the time I have been a vegetarian I have become more healthy, fit, and active than before. My family, mom and dad, have started taking to being vegetarians. My mom is not as dedicated as me, and slips up more than I do, but she has been healthier since trying it out too. My dad is more determined than me at times. The only time he has red meat, because he doesn't like fish much, is when it's a special holiday or his birthday. But every day he eats tofu or poultry. I am incredibly proud that I could be a healthy influence on my family, and now some of my friends too. I have a hard time dealing with the teasing about it at school, but what always keeps my head up is telling myself I am making a difference, no matter what others say. I am helping to save the lives of animals.
Being a vegetarian has its ups and downs, but all in all I am incredibly happy that this is the road I chose to go down. It has been extremely beneficial to me and my family. This choice has made a difference in my life, and continues to make more sense each and every day. I encourage people to at least try it. Find a good recipe for some tofu and test it out. Try it for a week; see how hard it is. Maybe there's a kid at your school who is one, and always gets picked on for it. Try it out and see the tough road they are taking. Try the life of a vegetarian, or at least take what you read from me and understand that they are going down a daring road. Befriend them and let them know you understand their position. Don't bash them. Take it from someone who is in their shoes every day - it hurts.