Reasons for choosing to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet vary between people. Some do it for health reasons, others for ethical. Some do it as an experiment, to see if they can handle the dietary change.
“I just started to grow bored meat. Then I watched a documentary about dairy farms … that official did it for me,” explains Christina Melaku, a graduate of Michigan State University, who is currently trying to transition into vegetarianism.
The choice to become a vegetarian or vegan is typically an easy one. The difficulty lies when one tries to follow the dietary change.
“Following a vegetarian lifestyle is hard, especially if you grew up, or were raised to eat meat.” says Janae Dabney, a vegetarian and student at MSU. “It started to get to a point where I have to avoid my parents when they would eat…”
Melissa Gaines, a dietitian for Michigan Health & Wellness, tells the importance of paying attention to nutrition and vitamins, just as much as discipline, when making the dietary change.
“I’ve talked with some people that are looking for a lifestyle change because they want to make sure they do it in a healthful way,” says Gaines. “Many people assume that once you become vegetarian or vegan, your automatically healthier. This is not the case.”
Gaines tells that while taking vitamins and making sure there are no nutritional deficiencies are important for any dietary habit, it’s even more important when following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
“Making sure we are taking multivitamins and going to see a dietitian is always a smart decision,” Gaines continues. “Just like having too little of a good thing is bad, too much of a good thing is also bad.”