Being Vegetarian - by Thersa Du (傳開), UC Davis undergraduate



                                                    Being conscious about why you eat what you eat.

     A vegetarian walks into a bar……a salad bar!   *sarcastic laughter*

     Many of my friends can’t imagine being vegetarian. Well, I can’t imagine not being vegetarian! But I have to admit being vegetarian is not as easy as it looks. I am fortunate that my mom is a great cook. Lately I have been contemplating about what kinds of thought and attention she puts into whatever she’s preparing. It has made me reflect upon the foods that I eat.

    There is an old saying, “You are what you eat.” If this is true, shouldn’t we all spare some extra thoughts to the foods we put into our stomachs? I think being vegetarian forces you to be conscious about why you eat what you eat. It goes beyond just recognizing what makes your taste buds explode and it’s not just about eating no meat. Those who struggle with this idea have trouble picturing themselves being vegetarian. After all, who wants to be doomed to eat salad for the rest of their life? At least French fries taste good—or so you think.

    Now the good news is that being a vegetarian is pretty simple when it comes to cooking. No worries of contamination from raw meat or that yucky smelly fish odor. I’m sure if most of my peers were forced to cook their own food their meat diets would be severely limited—because preparing meat is such a hassle. Vegetables are easy in comparison. You peel them, wash them, chop them up, and cook! No thawing, skinning, butchering, and salmonella! If it weren’t for pre-packaged meats like spam and sausages (which we all know are the worst possible parts of meat) I’d imagine more students would be vegetarian.



    My mother loves cooking and she has the knack for it too. She makes it look so easy that I realize I take it for granted. Thus, I will take a moment to recognize and appreciate her talent. Every meal that she makes is full of great love and appreciation. She thinks about what goes into each dish with meticulous care as she balances flavor and nutrition. Each dish is new and unique—even if she is preparing a regular favorite—because to her every dish is a creation, not just another obligation. She can freshen up leftovers by transforming it to a totally new dish. (I still can’t wrap my mind around how she does it!) Because of her cooking, eating vegetarian is never a chore.

So here is what I have learned from observing my mother:

     1.Nutrition takes thought. It’s the practice of applying knowledge to cooking. I think we all have enough information about whatis nutritious and good for our health but most of us never use it. What a waste!

     2.Know the seasons of fruits and vegetables and learn ways of preparing them. That way you can still have variety without breaking your budget because there are always seasonal fruits and vegetables on sale all the time. Don’t be stubborn, try something new!

    3.Cook for someone. Cook together. Food and company makes any meal more enjoyable and you are likely to take more time to make your vegetarian meal taste extra delicious. Enjoy it!

    Looking back on all these years, I can say that I have enjoyed being vegetarian. At first I thought I would get unbearable cravings but it was less problematic than I had imagined. Because once you start thinking about what you eat and start eating better, the foods that you thought you couldn’t live without start tasting well… nasty! You start wondering how you could’ve liked this food in the first place. However this is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to learn, contemplate, and apply your knowledge to realize why you are being a vegetarian. For me, it makes sense. For a lot of other people, it doesn’t—at least not yet?

    I do have my mom to thank. Her care and attention to our nutrition has made us strong and healthy. I always thought that being vegetarian gave you an automatic immunity boost because since I had become vegetarian, I stopped getting as severely sick as I used to. But now I realize that without my mother’s care in paying attention to what we eat being vegetarian may not have been as successful. So thanks mom! I love you!

    So remember, being vegetarian does not mean you just eat salad. There are plenty vegetarian foods that you can eat that makes you full, healthy, and satisfied. You just have to learn what they are and apply them to your cooking palette. Being vegetarian is easy—once you know how of course.





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