The vegetarian and vegan movements have been sweeping the nation in the last couple of years, attracting people because of their ideologies of living a clean, healthy, and ethical lifestyle. I think anyone can agree that sounds like a great life to live. So what is it that keeps us from making the switch? Is it our dire love for animal products? Our fear of becoming deficient in protein? Lack of flavor?

I found myself in Boulder, Colorado recently, and it being a town filled with lots of vegetarian options, I decided to challenge myself. For 24 hours, I made the switch to vegetarianism to see how it would affect not only my body, but my lifestyle, mind, and spirit, and to see what I can learn from it. You'll be surprised at what I found out. Spoiler alert: it's not just vegetables and fruits.


Sabrina Fernandez

For breakfast, I made myself a nice hot bowl of banana oatmeal. Being in this town meant I had to be active, so I wanted to make sure my breakfast would provide me with as much energy as possible. For the oats, I used Irish steal-cut oatmeal, which has a higher content of carbohydrates and fiber than regular oatmeal. I cooked it in 2% milk instead of whole milk to reduce my fat intake, yet still allowing the oatmeal to have a creamy and rich taste. Then, I added two bananas into the mix with a dash of cinnamon and a spoon full of sugar. (#Spoontip: feel free to top off your hearty bowl with mixed nuts when you're done for an extra serving of protein!)

Eating this for breakfast made me feel super full and satisfied. Shockingly I didn't miss having bacon by my side and having this hearty breakfast made me feel like I could run a marathon. It was definitely a great boost of energy, and I was able to make it using no meat. Definitely a success!


Sabrina Fernandez

By the time lunch rolled around, I began to feel hungry. After a morning of park activities, it was time for me to eat something that would restore my energy. After spending what felt like an eternity trying to figure out what to have for lunch, I opted for a home-made salad. The salad had a bed of arugula, garlic roasted hummus, sweet bell peppers, carrots, onions, one boiled egg, feta cheese, and I seasoned it with salt and pepper. This lunch meal was delicious and nutritious! The flavors were on point, and it definitely took away my hunger for a good amount of time, while providing lots of vitamins and minerals.


Sabrina Fernandez

It was around dinner time when I began to panic. Throughout the day I'd been feeling very good, but at this point, I didn't know what else I could possibly make that was vegetarian but was not a salad! Then it hit me...I was in Boulder, Colorado! There were vegetarian restaurants everywhere.

I came across a restaurant called The Corner Bar. They had a variety of different menu options, not to mention a ton of vegetarian options. This was a place where meat-eaters and vegetarians alike can come together and share a meal. I ordered their Mediterranean plate; this plate was filled and packed with grilled naan bread, roasted garlic, roasted carrot hummus, olive tapenade, and marinated grilled vegetables. The food was so good I ate it before I could take a picture (how unmillenial of me, right?) but you have to trust was amazing. 

What I Learned

You often hear people say that going vegetarian makes your body weaker because humans need meat to survive. However, through this experience, I found my body to be the exact opposite. I did not feel weak at all; I felt strong. Being surrounded by a community of people who are health conscious and like-minded made it a lot easier to be vegetarian.

Elyse Carley

So, do I have what it takes to become vegetarian? Will I make the switch? If I lived in this town, yes, I would absolutely make the switch, mainly because of how easy and affordable it is to live the lifestyle in Boulder. In Miami, where I live, on the other hand, it's not as easy. Although there are many options, those places tend to be more expensive, and I'm not as surrounded by a vegetarian community like in Boulder.

This experience made me realize how important it is to be educated on what we eat. Since that day, I have cut back on eating red meat, deep fried foods, sodas, and unhealthy food in general. Now I focus on what food will give me energy and make my body feel better. I stopped paying attention to calories and started paying attention to my body. Even though I am currently not a vegetarian, I'm not going to cancel out the idea that I could be one in the future, given the right circumstances. Never say never, right?

Want to see how energetic that banana oatmeal from earlier made me feel? Check it out below!

Sabrina Fernandez