A solid 14 years have passed since I have eaten a single piece of meat. In other words, I became a vegetarian at the tender age of six.  

Very rarely do I go around telling people that I am a vegetarian because answering questions about it gets old.

Betsy Thompson / Equinox Staff

Betsy Thompson / Equinox Staff

However, I am explaining myself for the sake of this article and to explain that being a vegetarian is not nearly as easy as it may seem. I have always had a natural curiosity about the world around me (some would argue that is why I went into journalism).

As a young and naive six-year-old, I became increasingly interested in knowing what I was being fed at the dinner table.

Once my parents gently broke it down to me that I was eating a chicken, or a cow, I was absolutely taken aback. From that point on, I decided I would no longer eat something with a face.

Now, go ahead and laugh, but if I could go back in time and thank my six-year-old self for that silly logic, I would.

As I have grown older, I have learned about all of the health benefits associated with being a vegetarian.

However, with these benefits comes some major hassles.  I cannot tell you how difficult it is to eat at a restaurant and find something to eat other than a salad.

In fact, oftentimes I have to specifically order salads without meat because that is how frequently they include meat.

Now, this is not to say that meat is bad for you and everyone should become a vegetarian. I am definitely not trying to argue that.

I recognize that meat is a great source of protein and that by nature humans are meant to eat animals.

With that said, I have made the personal choice to exclude meat from my diet.

Taking a step back, it is important I mention that it is especially difficult for me to go out to eat at chain restaurants versus local ones.

From my experience, local restaurants do a much better job at including a wide variety of meals which appeal to people with all kinds of eating restrictions.

Other than this effort to accommodate for vegetarians in some local restaurants, the struggle to find a meal on the-go is real.

According to statistics compiled by market research group Datassential, “About one-third of quick-service restaurants are menuing at least one dish identified as vegetarian, either in name or description.”

Well, I can’t deny, that’s an improvement. At least one-third of the places I dine in will offer me one sole option.

Luckily, I’m not a very picky eater. I recognize that vegetarian dishes are probably not the hottest-selling plates and definitely not what people come to restaurants for.

But every time I find a restaurant that has made the effort to offer me at least one option, I feel acknowledged by society.

I do not expect to walk into a restaurant and be handed a menu with a plethora of vegetarian or vegan options, but it is a slap in the face when I legitimately cannot find one meal I am able to eat so that I have to get up and leave the restaurant altogether. Taking into consideration all different kinds of people and their eating restrictions is something I strongly encourage the restaurant business to start doing.


Sabrina Lapointe can be contacted at slapointe@keene-equinox.com.

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