For all of you vegetarians out there who still love burgers and chicken, you're not alone. It may be a phase or a permanent lifestyle change, but we are in this together.
My vegetarian story started two months ago. I had this amazing veggie pasta dish from a hometown hero, Agricola in Princeton, NJ and I had a conversation with my parents about becoming a vegetarian. My mom told me that most girls during their late-teens and early twenties become a vegetarian at some point.
I have always been an animal person who loves nature and didn't agree with factory farming. I grew up in a family that never goes a meal without meat, so I rebelled. Vegetarianism takes discipline that I felt I needed in my life and it was an exciting new start. However, it hasn't always been the easiest lifestyle change.
My first problem was—how the heck am I going to do this in college? College is a time for long study sessions and late-night snacks. People are always wanting to split a pepperoni pizza or a burger and I am going to have to get the courage to say no.
Most people at my school enjoy a Chicken Bacon Ranch Slice of Pizza from Boss Lady Pizza or a lovely Philly Cheesesteak from Half Fast Subs. Two of the late night go-to's in Boulder. Instead, I've had to go for the Mac & Cheese Pizza and the Tempeh Cheesesteak—so it hasn't been the worst trade-off.
I did face some unexpected struggles, though. For example, I struggled to find trendy clothes for my new vegetarian lifestyle. I have shoes with burgers on them and a shirt that says "Real Queens Eat Burgers." Unfortunately, neither of these items show a microwavable black bean burger.
Shake Shack, Five Guys, In-N-Out, and almost every grill in this country provided me with what I used to consider love between two buns. I was scared that I wasn't going to be able to find yummy vegetarian dishes. However, I have found a new love in all the vegetarian options restaurants now offer.
I have luckily been able to find a tee that says "Lettuce Be Friends" and things like grilled cheese and desserts are vegetarian—so who needs burgers?
I can't complain too much because I now live in the vegetarian capital of the country so finding great options is a breeze. However, I would still like to thank Shake Shack for having a Portobello Mushroom Burger that does not disgust me, my dining hall for always giving me halfway decent tofu, and every person that has not put a pile of bacon in front of my nose and made fun of me for being a vegetarian.
If you're going vegetarian, here are some helpful tips and tricks I've learned along the way:
Always at least try the tofu. It may surprise you and you need protein.
Ask a restaurant for their vegetarian options even if you think it's annoying. They may have a secret menu for us.
Don't let vegetarianism force you to be a lame eater. Figure out a good recipe for black bean burgers or falafel and our kind may come away with the W.
And if your vegetarian journey isn't permanent then listen to Gigi Hadid when she says, "Eat clean to stay fit; have a burger to stay sane." She's a part of Taylor Swift's squad and she is a Victoria's Secret Angel. She knows what she's talking about.