When I was in the fifth grade I watched a video produced by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that scarred me for life.
After watching the video, I promised myself and everyone around me that I would never eat a single piece of meat again. But, that didn’t last very long. After a few weeks I realized that my mom would not continue making special vegetarian dinners every night and I was too young and too lazy to do it myself. So, I caved by eating a meatball and have been a carnivore ever since.
Since then, I have felt as if I have disappointed all animals and people like Paul McCartney who have professed their vegetarianism. But with the recent passing of Hug a Vegetarian Day promoted by PETA on Sept. 28 and World Vegetarian Day yesterday, Oct. 1, I became interested in discovering what makes being a vegetarian a healthy option and finding vegetarian choices on or close to Main Campus.
Being a vegetarian means gaining a ton of health benefits. Vegetarians are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer and diabetes than those who are not. They also have an increase of energy and are less susceptible to certain illnesses. Practicing vegetarianism can build stronger bodies and aid in losing weight, too. Vegetarians also consume fewer chemicals and hormones that are injected into animals.
Magdalena Kornacka, a junior psychology major and president of Temple’s Promoters of Animal Welfare, encourages a healthy vegetarian diet.
“Vegetarians and vegans tend to be a lot healthier as a whole,” Kornacka said. “Not only because of not eating meats that contain cholesterol, antibiotics, et. cetera, but as you switch to a plant-based diet, you tend to pay more attention to how you eat and what goes into your food.”
Luckily, Main Campus has many different places that offer vegetarian choices. If you have a meal plan or prefer eating at one of the school’s dining halls, try the Johnson & Hardwick cafeteria, which has a section dedicated to vegan and vegetarian food. They even have “Meatless Monday” selections. While vegetarians are most likely aware of this, meat eaters should give this section a try. They typically serve tasty salads and dinner options like veggie burgers.
If you prefer eating food from a food truck or a food stand near campus, there are plenty that offer vegetarian options. Tai’s Vietnamese, for example, offers vegetarian plates full of fresh veggies. A lot of food trucks will even prepare certain foods without meat if you ask.
Also, don’t forget that we live in such a great city that has so many healthy food options for vegetarians. One specific example that I decided to check out was HipCityVeg located at 127 18th St.
When I went to try the place out I was actually really nervous. Something about vegetarian food and a restaurant with the word “hip” in it seemed a little sketchy. I imagined hipsters and a bunch of weird hippies chowing down on tofu. I could see them judging me, somehow knowing I eat chicken for dinner almost every single night. Instead, I walked into the restaurant to be welcomed by an extremely friendly staff. Instead, there was a mom feeding her son some sort of ice cream.
The menu offered different selections from tofu wraps and salads to sandwiches with portobello mushrooms. The restaurant even offered sweets like cookies, cupcakes and a type of milkshake. Not feeling too adventurous that day, I decided to go for the classic veggie burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup and mustard. The girl at the counter took my order, and as I waited, I noticed how nice the restaurant is. The interior is decorated with plants and there are reminders everywhere that the takeout materials are 100 percent recyclable.
When I got my food, I was weary. A veggie burger never seems as appetizing as an actual burger. However, I was wrong yet again. The veggie burger was delicious and I was happy to know I was eating a much healthier option. At one point I couldn’t even tell the difference and it tasted as if I was eating an actual hamburger. I left feeling content and I enjoyed the vegetarian food. My only complaint was the price. While the food was really good, the prices were a bit high, but still worth it. Next time I stop by, I want to try something more exciting.
HipCityVeg isn’t the only vegetarian place to eat downtown or off campus. There are so many options that you can find by searching for vegetarian food or even by just walking around campus or downtown. While I won’t become a vegetarian anytime soon, I will consider the health benefits and all the great vegetarian food. If you’re not a vegetarian, try some of the food and, if you already are one, here is my virtual hug to you. I really don’t know how you live without chicken.
Brianna McGrody can be reached at email@example.com.