Would being vegetarian benefit you?
Animal-friendly doesn’t just mean skyping your dog
Have you ever spent time deliberating whether being vegetarian would be right for you as a student? Is the only thing stopping you the worry that it’ll ruin you financially, or whether you’ll have to give up some of your favourite foods? It’s not as scary or difficult as some people may think, and actually, as a student, it could benefit you massively. Here are some of your FAQs answered.
So where do you get your protein?
This is something that we veggies get asked repeatedly, and the answer is fairly simple. There are foods other than meat readily available to us that provide ample amounts of precious protein, and they’re really easy to find. Nuts and pulses are excellent sources of plant protein, and baked beans count as protein AND one of your five a day. There are meat alternatives sold in supermarkets, and even your cheesy chips after a night out count – yes, cheese = protein!
But isn’t it more expensive than eating meat?
Absolutely not. If anything, you’re likely to end up spending less than if you were to buy meat. For example, a pack of frozen quarter-pounder beef burgers will cost around £3 for 4 from Sainsbury’s, but their frozen meat free ‘burgers’ are £1.50 for 8. Changing your diet and lifestyle might cut your food bill down as much as 50% – a fortnightly shop could cost less than £20! Most restaurants nowadays offer at least one yummy veggie option, and you might even find that it’s cheaper than if you were to order a meaty meal. Maybe then you’ll have enough money for that other bottle of vodka.
Won’t I be constantly tired and lose the energy I already lack?
Not necessarily. You might find that you feel less sluggish, more alert, and less irritable, most likely due to the cutting out of animal fats – the less meat you eat, the more fruit and veggies you consume, boosting your vital vitamin, and fibre intake. As a student, this may help you to stay focused for longer in lectures, and while your housemates come down with Fresher’s Flu, you could still be fighting fit!
The benefits are clear, however it’s important to keep an eye on your mineral intake. It’s not rocket science to know that minerals such as iron and zinc are incredibly important for human functioning. Therefore it might be a good idea to think about supplements, or just eat copious amounts of kale and spinach every day.
So the positives really do outweigh the negatives?
It’s not all doom and gloom – there really are some wonderful advantages to taking on a vegetarian lifestyle. Whatever your motivation, be it the environment, animal rights, monetary issues, or just your health, becoming vegetarian really could work for you. It’s not for everyone, but there’s no better time to try something new than while you’re at uni!