Two weeks ago, I decided to make a change. I decided to become a vegetarian. Insert dark ominous music, right? Or maybe not so... I honestly was a bit hesitant at the first thought. Don't get me wrong, restrictions on your diet does make life different. Suddenly you are turning down offers like "Hey, want a bite of my burger?" and going out to eat becomes a lot different when you realize that meat is in nearly every staple meal. Has it made my life more difficult? Probably not. I mean, my friends still accepted me. My parents jumped into looking for vegetarian alternatives. After all, I became vegetarian, I didn't register with the nearest Ku Klux Klan (although be prepared for some people to give you looks as though the latter is the case).

One of the biggest factors that influenced me to become a vegetarian was following other people through social media. Tumblr and Instagram blogs, however cliche this may sound, are quite inspiring! I really don't know what the true purpose of this blog is yet. I think that in time it will shape itself. Maybe I will focus more on vegetarian-type things in the "food" category of this blog. For now, I think the blog is for some cognitive and creative release. Anyone who decides to follow me should definitely expect some photos from my Canon, a few rants about politics or morals, finding myself, yoga, running, and my vegetarian journey. I really want to make a habit of posting my foods because it was other people who inspired me! I know that I am pretty new to this whole "no meat" business, but I honestly think that it's a great lifestyle choice and I hope to one day inspire someone like that.

I'd like to touch upon some reasons why being vegetarian/vegan is worthwhile. It's not just a bunch of crazy hippies who want to control everyone's lives. It's a movement - a movement of animal rights, humanism, and environmentalism. Let me make something clear, shaming people into this kind of change is not the way, nor does it make you a better person. I also understand that there are a number of life circumstances causing some to be unable to make the switch to vegetarianism/veganism. No matter how good your cause, being a total prick will not change anything for the better. That said, I also think that more people should be educated of the effects of our meat industry. The video "Earthlings" is on the brutal side, and it's hard to watch, but the overall message of the movie is powerful. We human beings have indeed put our own species above other species. In my belief we are all creatures of the earth, all inhabiting it. The fact that humans are the dominant species means we have a responsibility to look after the planet and its other inhabitants. We have instead turned to unfair treatment of livestock animals simply because it is more economical to pack them in tight spaces and take their lives. But avoiding meat products is not just an animal rights movement, it's a human rights movement as well. It takes 12 pounds of grain and 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of feedlot beef. One pound. One Cornell University study found that around 800 million people could be fed with the grain that the livestock eat. Just think about this. There are starving, thirst-ridden nations in the world, and we could do something to help, but we put so much water and grain into our steaks and burgers that maybe the savory taste of our cheeseburgers makes us forget the repercussions. If Americans went vegetarian, think of the food and water that would be available to people who are in need. The final reason why I encourage anyone to join in this movement is the negative environmental consequences of our meat industry. The pollution of our air and water is a big deal people - a very big deal. We all live on this planet, and we all need clean air and fresh water. The choices you make when purchasing items have an impact. So if anyone who reads this is interested, I encourage you to go for it. Make the change. Make a difference.

For more information on the environmental impacts of our meat industry, check out this article: http://science.time.com/2013/12/16/the-triple-whopper-environmental-impact-of-global-meat-production/

For anyone who made it all the way to the bottom of this post (congrats), and would like to learn some more, I'm going to write a follow up blog at some point on what being vegetarian has done for me. 

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​This is a quote which I feel quite strongly about. One of my favorite things to do is to hike. I feel so free when I am finally allowed to roam, and ever since I was little I have been taken over by the peaceful sense of being a part of nature. When I hike through the forest, I am free of any society labels. I am not a student, a grocery store cashier, a runner, or the girl who argues too much politics. I am not a visitor or a passer-by. I am a part of the energy surrounding me. I am equal. The air that brushes over my arms does not notice me, it does not bother to change its course because I am nothing more than a creature of the earth. There is something humbling about being unnoticed by nature. It reminds me of who I am. My life is not defined by the materialistic values by which the vast majority of humanity has defined theirs by - money, war, power, etc. Nature above all else reminds me that I am a creature of this earth. We all are. We have simply forgotten how to be good guests. How to walk lightly. 

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