Close your eyes and think back to your last trip to a restaurant. You and your closest friends all squeeze together, practically on top of each other inside a cozy booth, as menus are passed around the table. The options seem endless. You have no idea what you’re in the mood for, though, your stomach is teased by the juicy scent of a meat-lovers’ pizza crisping in the oven. The restaurant is bustling with people laughing and chatting. You look around to see what others have ordered: gooey garlic bread; heaping mounds of buttery, twisted pasta; a sizzling slightly-pink steak. Your stomach grumbles in its empty state. Flash forward and its past dinnertime. Your bellies are slightly rounder and filled with carbs, but now your tastebuds crave sweetness. You stand in line outside on this warm spring evening, waiting for your mint ice cream to be handed to you. Couples and giddy children huddle beside you underneath the light of the shack, as they share chocolatey licks of their cones and spread ice cream around their lips.
Now, forget everything you have just imagined. Picture the opposite. Picture restaurants with giant “CLOSED” signs dangling in their windows in the middle of the day. Picture vacant parking lots and barren streets. Instead of bumping into neighbors and sharing friendly conversations at your local supermarket, you’re now rushing down the aisles in hopes of avoiding all contact. The shelves look as if they were ravaged through by animals. Bread and eggs have suddenly become a scarcity. People’s faces are draped with tight surgical masks, bandanas, old scarves, or anything else they could find to cover their mouths. Bare hands are a rarity, and instead they’re now hidden behind rubber barriers. This is the current state of the world that we’re living in today, and it feels like a scene straight out of a horror movie.
When my boyfriend and I decided to go out to breakfast after a night filled with greasy pizza, an entire tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and other nighttime festivities, my stomach couldn’t stop churning. Like most URI students, I can attest that the “Sunday scaries” are real.
More times than not when I go out to breakfast, my options are slightly limited as a vegetarian. Typically, I can choose between the sugary-goodness of stacked French toast or plate-sized chocolate chip pancakes. Now, don’t get me wrong, I would absolutely die for either of those dishes. However, following a junk food-filled weekend, I craved a little bit of a change. I am by no means a strictly clean eater, but I am a strong believer in eating your colors.
So, when we settled on visiting T’s Restaurant in Narragansett, Rhode Island for breakfast, I knew I was in for a treat.
My mother was an incredible gardener, filling our yard with gorgeous flowers season after season. And, to this day, my father works wonders in our vegetable garden, growing all of the beautifully delicious vegetables that feed us all summer long. Yet, even with their talents in tending to plants, I have never been one to have a green thumb.
I bought a cactus and another small succulent last summer to have as decoration in my dorm room. However, I over-watered my cactus, rotting it out only a short two weeks after buying it. Then, I almost killed the remaining succulent the exact same way (because I clearly didn’t learn anything from it), until my dad came to the rescue. Here we are a year later, and he has kept my little “succy” alive and well. Though, he did not let me take it back to college with me.
So, inevitably, this summer I got three new plant friends as replacements. Does my dad know? He sure does. Is he going to end up caring for them when I begin to kill them off? Absolutely not! I am determined to not let it happen again.
When I was little, I remember trying really hard to like oatmeal. My mom had it for breakfast almost every morning, and of course, I wanted to be like her. Yet, no matter how much brown sugar and cinnamon I dumped onto my bowl, I still could never understand her love for it.
Flash forward to a few weeks ago, and a friend of mine was now raving over this new-to-me creation called “overnight oats.” I was oh-so excited to try out her recipe, until I actually tasted it… then the excitement went away completely. I figured I was out of luck- it was just meant for me to dislike oatmeal. That is, until a few days ago.
I’ve been a vegetarian for almost nine months now and have loved every second of it. However, like any other major change in lifestyle, it has come with a wide array of questions shot my way.
Most of these are harmless inquiries from people just genuinely curious as to why I chose to swap over, but then there’s also the people trying to put their two cents in. That’s when it can get a wee bit frustrating- if it makes me happy and doesn’t affect you, then why bother commenting on it?
Anyway, I digress. Because of all of this, I’ve decided to answer a few of my most frequently asked questions to share why I chose to go vegetarian, as well as all of its glorious benefits!