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By Sam D’Amico
Food makes the world go ‘round. Every day, everywhere, you will find someone snacking or eating a full meal. It’s the universal language everyone speaks. So when you find yourself with a craving or hunger pains, what is your go-to meal? Chicken fingers, hamburgers, perhaps steak, if you’re feeling fancy. For me, it’s not as simple to find a bite to eat. And dinner can be a full-on challenge for me.
Hello, I’m Sam, a vegetarian college student who struggles to find viable options for nourishment due to a medical condition where I cannot process meat or poultry. It was a tough day when I discovered this problem, and I recognized that I needed to make a change. I know I’m not alone being a vegetarian in the 21st century who struggles to find food that I can eat and actually enjoy in a college setting. So join me on my Vegetarian Ventures as I travel around Long Island, trying to discover the best vegetarian options under 20 dollars.
But before I hit the road to eat and write, I am going to answer three questions that people always ask me (and you are probably thinking) when I tell them I’m a vegetarian.
Question 1: How long have you been a vegetarian?
For too damn long, to be honest. In actuality, it will be five years this coming January. Crazy, right? I still can’t believe I’ve been eating this way for this long.
Question 2: Do you eat chicken? It’s not meat.
There are many different types of diets that humans follow. For instance, a pescatarian is an individual who can eat fish products but not meat products. There are also pollotarians, who can eat chicken products but not meat products. Then there’s me, a vegetarian whose diet consists of plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, soy, and nuts, eliminating any type of meat supplement. The short answer is, I do not eat chicken.
Question 3: Is a vegetarian the same as a vegan? (which is my most asked question)
For starters, if I were a vegan, I’d introduce myself as such, not as a vegetarian. Secondly, if you didn’t notice my last name is D’Amico, which means I am as Italian as mozzarella cheese. Cheese and dairy products are in my DNA, and my Italian grandparents already are upset that I don’t eat their meatballs. Imagine if I didn’t eat their lasagna! I’d be disowned from the whole family. By definition, vegans are people who do not consume animal or any animal products, such as dairy and eggs. You will also never see a vegan in a leather jacket, even if the clothing item is trendy.
Hopefully, this clears up any confusion with my diet. So if you are a vegetarian, my column will be a place where you can find new places to eat on a student budget. And if you are an “FOV,” my term for friend of vegetarian, you will become a more educated and considerate meal partner and friend. Plus, I’m a lot of fun to eat with.