Gabby Modesti, ‘20
PART ONE: THE JOURNEY BEGINS
When I was younger, my family always jokingly said, “Out of anyone you would be the one to be vegetarian.” This was in 2011 when I was 10. We were the family who made fun of vegetarians even though I would never complain about eating fruits or vegetables. I remember sometimes preferring the fruit or vegetable over the main course of the dish, meat. From where I was then to today, I could never imagine the food journey I have made. We all go through a significant change in our lives, and mine was which food I choose to eat and which I chose to cut from my diet. We all have the choice to fuel our bodies with what we want, and we have a plethora of choices at grocery stores, which on average have about 47,000 different types of foods. How do we know what food we should choose with all the options before us?
I have been vegetarian for the past year and a half of my life and have found a passion for researching and pursuing the life of no meat. What I have learned, gained, and become from it, was something that I never pictured for my life. As many do, I used to hate when vegetarians tried to convince me not to eat meat. I am here to somewhat do that, but I am also writing to share something dear to my heart. Having a choice in what we do these days is something not to take for granted, and we get to choose what we want to put in our bodies. That, in itself, is a privilege. We have the opportunity to choose any diet we want and have all the resources right under our noses at our local supermarkets. I have not only developed a more extensive palate, but I have also learned how to cook more for myself, choosing what I want to eat in a family of carnivores. Moreover, I have a newfound appreciation for the world we live in. We are deeply separated by a curtain between ourselves and where our food comes from. But what do you have to worry about with fresh fruits and vegetables? No processing, slaughtering, antibiotics, fear of food poisoning, or most importantly, the extensive torturing of animals.
My journey started two summers ago with my brother Nico, now a freshman in college. He did a unit in his AP Lang class all about food. He was taken aback by how our world has been made into this massive meat empire, and he transitioned to a vegetarian diet. At first when I heard of this, of course I made fun of him! It’s my job as a little sister. Nico changed his diet halfway through his junior year and never went back. He is entering his second year as a vegetarian and is the sole reason I am where I am today. One day on our way to a family vacation, he made me watch a documentary on Netflix called What The Health, where the filmmaker Kip Anderson goes into depth about the secret to reversing and preventing chronic diseases, as well as investigating what our nation’s largest food organizations don’t want us to know. This was not only an extremely disturbing documentary, but one that completely changed the way I lived. Although it is a long road, everything is always a process. I started out as a weekday vegetarian, so I wasn’t going cold turkey and leading myself to fast failure. Eventually, I did my own research and viewed documentaries such as Cowspiracy, Food Inc. and Forks over Knives. I found for myself that I wanted to cut meat from my diet, and it was something that I was increasingly passionate about.
For everyone, it’s a different process. It is a change in not only the way you live but also how you perceive life itself. I have discovered many interesting things through curiosity about how eating meat affects our environment and bodies in depth. The way we live doesn’t just affect our environment, but our own health as well. There is so much more behind the labels we see on packages of meat, and that once beautiful picture of cows on a vast open area of green grass is now almost virtually gone, replaced with assembly lines and workers. For me, life not eating meat is more than fulfilling; it is also rewarding, and I can’t wait to share it with you.