Why Did You Become a Vegetarian?
"Vegetarianism is more ecologically sustainable than meat production, and more of the world's population could be fed if we did not divert our food supply to the production of meat." – President Beverly Daniel Tatum.
Veronica A. Hopkins, C’2014, biology, pre-dental major
I became a vegetarian when I was at a fair in Seattle, Wash., and there was a vegetarian stand. My father is a vegetarian, so we stopped by to look at the information they were providing. I read through some of the materials about the processes utilized to kill the animals and the various things they inject in the animals and so forth. Immediately after reading the details and becoming informed about the situation, I decided to stop eating meat. I did not want to support those practices or have that meat in my body. Even though my father was a vegetarian, he didn't influence me to stop. It was a decision I made on my own. So far it has been 10 years and this is a lifelong change for me.
I'm not the "healthiest" eater and I'm very picky. As a result , I typically order pizza or simple dishes when I go out to eat. Spelman has come a long way in the vegetarian world. Now, there is a vegan/vegetarian section that I enjoy going to, and the cafe also has a vegetarian refrigerator of various veggie items that one can choose from. Spelman offers many options for a vegan/vegetarian.
Sharon Lightfoot, scholarship coordinator, Office of Financial Aid
I became a vegetarian out of concern for my health. I decided 12 years ago that this was the diet I wanted to maintain in order to keep my weight down and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. My biggest influence to become a vegetarian was my mother. During my childhood she was a staunch believer in eating healthy. She did not cook pork or beef; she only cooked brown rice and encouraged us to read food labels. Going from vegetarian to vegan five years ago was one of the best decisions I ever made; however, I still have an occasional piece of cake (I just can’t let go of a slice of chocolate cake every now and then). According to my doctor, my cholesterol numbers are incredibly low as a result of my veganism. Being a vegan has made me focus on every other aspect of living a healthy lifestyle including exercising regularly, getting the proper amount of sleep, and feeling good about myself in general. Also, it has made me a much more aware person on issues such as animal rights and environmental hazards.
Having a vegetarian president is a win-win for everyone who eats in the cafeteria. There is a heightened awareness of the need to separate foods that are animal products/byproducts from the vegan foods. Having the vegan grill is great for vegetarians/vegans as well as meat eaters who get to broaden their food palate. The vegetarian refrigerator in the cafeteria is a nice bonus especially for vegetarians/vegans.
Angela Loynes, resident director, The Suites and McAlpin Hall
I stopped eating pork and beef during my last year in college. I'd heard a student speak about how unhealthy they are for your body and I decided to not eat those particular meats anymore. At that time, I had no intentions of becoming vegetarian. When I moved to Tallahassee, Fla., for grad school, I found out that vegetarian restaurants and health food stores existed and learned more about vegetarianism. I realized I could stop eating all animals. I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for a year, then in 2006, I chose to become vegan, as a natural progression toward a healthier lifestyle. Since then, I have grown to realize that being a vegan isn't just about not eating meat – there are plenty of food options that don't contain meat. I've had to make a deliberate effort to eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains.
When meat is being cooked around me, I notice the odor and a certain essence of it that makes me feel ill. For me, that reinforces the fact that there is nothing to miss about an animal-eating lifestyle. I love vegan food. I have fresh smoothies, salads, and a variety of fruits almost daily, but I also enjoy experimenting with different flavors in burgers and wraps. Two of my favorite raw vegan foods are eggplant bacon and cinnamon rolls, which I haven't learned how to make yet. Sometimes I'll make almond cookies or fruit crisps to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Colm Mulcahy, Ph.D., professor, Department of Mathematics
I am not a vegetarian, but I brought up my kids to be veggie. My wife, Emory mathematician Vicki Powers, was vegetarian for a while in the late 1980s. When our oldest, Ann Powers, was born in 1990, we decided to bring her up vegetarian – and spice-loving. We did the same when her sister Molly Mulcahy arrived in 1993. We've always cooked plenty of exotic tofu and chickpeas dishes anyway. Neither of the girls ever had any interest in eating meat or fish. Ann actually went vegan last February. People seem puzzled by my answer to the question "Why did you bring them up veggie when you're not one yourself?" My answer has always been, "Had I been a smoker, would I have brought them up to smoke?" The planet would be better off if there were more vegetarians. It's true that I've yet to go down that road myself, but why inflict my bad habits on my kids?
Taphaphene Khalilah Young, C’2014, psychology, pre-dental major
I was raised a vegetarian. I was home schooled until third grade with the mindset being a vegetarian was the norm. My parents’ close friends were also vegetarian and even when I arrived to middle school, I felt at home because it was a vegetarian school. It wasn’t until I arrived at high school that I found that I was from a different society. I researched my diet.
In my research , I found that the FDA approved the production of cloned meat. The negative effect of cloned meat, besides the obvious fact that it is not naturally created, has been reported to cause adverse health outcomes in those who consume it. Also the FDA has reported that stores need not inform the consumer they are purchasing cloned meat. Moreover, meat eaters not only take in animal cells, fats, hormones etc., but also waste products (chemicals) fed to animals. I truly appreciate how Spelman has devoted an entire refrigerator to the vegans/vegetarians. I find myself looking in there every day for some wholesome options.