Vegetarian Living- CMR omnivores and herbivores share their stories

Meg Smith

Quitting cold turkey might apply to some habits, but for Sean Luwe quitting cold veggie is a much more appropriate phrase.

Luwe, a senior, has been vegetarian for three years with no future plans to become carnivorous.

“I actually enjoy very much how it has opened me to new foods so I don’t have to rely on animalistic sources for food,” he said.

But Luwe isn’t the only student with a heart for animals. Junior Hunter Breen gave up red meat four years ago after watching a video about slaughtering animals.

“It was just the thought of the dead rotting carcasses that turned me off to meat,” Breen said.

While Breen thought about the animals after they were dead, Luwe worried about the animals when they were still alive.

“I tried to think about it from a cow’s perspective. I wouldn’t want to live fenced in on a farm,” Luwe said.

These ideas move people into new lifestyles.

“It was very hard to be able to agree upon meals at my house,” Breen said. 

Meal times for junior Keeli Telleen are a much easier bite to swallow. Telleen has never eaten red meat.

“It was a decision my parents made after they met so I’ve grown up never eating [red meat],” she said. “But I’m definitely happy with the food I do eat.”

However, even with parental support, dining out can be a hassle.

“A lot of times I get stuck with grilled cheese,” Luwe said. “But you just have to be assertive with the waitresses and know exactly what you’re looking for.”

And for those vegetarians who don’t know what they’re looking for, giving up meat can force them to try entirely new foods.

“I had to start actually eating vegetables,” Breen said. “It was horrible for a while, but I grew to really like them.”

For Luwe it was a trip to Alaska to visit his sister when he found his new favorite food. The family went to a vegetarian restaurant, and Luwe’s mom picked out his meal for him: an eggplant burger.

“It was at that moment that I realized how much I loved eggplant,” Luwe said.

And while some take this love and transfer it into a lifestyle, Breen remains uncertain about the longevity of his abstinence from meat.

“I feel like over time I may start to eat meat, but for now I have no plan to eat meat again,” Breen said.

Telleen has much longer reaching goals.

“I don’t think I would ever start eating [red meat] because it’s my lifestyle at this point.”

But for those willing to make the leap, these three vegetarian veterans offer some advice.

Luwe advises all new omnivores to research local restaurants and the proteins and nutrients needed to stay healthy.

“You can’t live on McDonald’s fries and cheese quesadillas from Taco Bell,” Luwe said.

Telleen dishes out her own guidance on making the switch.

“Make lots of substitutions with turkey bacon and sausage and veggie burgers,” Telleen said. “My family makes sure to get organic items and milk without hormones in it.”

And Breen offers his No. 1 nugget of advice.

“You can’t just choose to do it to be trendy; it’s something you really have to want to do.”