By Lindsey Rothering —
“Lindsey Tries” documents the misadventures of a 22-year-old who first attempted vegetarianism merely to see how long she could do it. (She lasted until she went to Buffalo Wild Wings.) This is the story of her second attempt.
When the semester started, I told myself I was going vegetarian. I was always jealous of the natural cool vibe vegetarians give off (or I imagine they give off, anyway), and helping save cute little piggies from slaughter is never a bad thing. Since being a vegetarian would be too hard at home (my mom cooks, and every meal centers around chicken), I figured being a vegetarian during the week would be easy. I go home most weekends, so I figured I could be a vegetarian when I’m at school, and on the weekends I would go back to eating meat. I was, what the internet refers to as, a “weekday vegetarian.” I didn’t know it existed either.
At first, being a vegetarian was working out great. I had two servings of vegetables with every meal, I had more energy, and I felt proud of my reduced carbon footprint. As the weeks went on, my determination started to dwindle. The black bean burgers I religiously wolfed down weren’t curbing my cravings for chicken nuggets or cheeseburgers, so by the time I came home on the weekends, they were all I asked for.
I got lazy about the nutrition I was getting (just because you’re not eating meat doesn’t mean you’re eating healthy), and was slowly beginning to reside on a diet of energy bars and black bean burgers. It was then that I started to feel weak all the time, and had constant headaches.
I Googled my symptoms one day, and there it was, on WebMD and the Mayo Clinic: I had an iron deficiency. I hit almost all the signs, which is five more than I was hitting before I started this vegetarian diet. My hypochondriac nature thought that I was lucky to have noticed it so early. I looked at the list of iron-rich foods they recommended, and noticed I hadn’t been eating any of them. As luck would have it—red meat is the No.1 recommendation. That night, I got a real burger and decided I wasn’t cut out to be a vegetarian, not until I find a good cheeseburger alternative, at least.