I'm a new-ish vegan Spartan racer and college student, studying Environmental Studies and History.
A little background: I grew up on a typical Midwestern farm. Working hard, playing in the mud, climbing trees, exploring the outdoors, and of course, eating meat from the animals that we raised. I've always had a sort of connection with animals. I have vivid memories of crying my eyes out when the animals that I had raised since they were babies were hauled away on a trailer, headed for the slaughterhouse. I couldn't bear to eat the bacon that came from my sweet pig, Daisy.
To this day, two of my best friends are my Black Sumatra chicken, Sumi, and my free-range Angus cow, Kayla. Kayla had a calf last week (named Hazel), and she's adorable!
I've always known deep down that going vegan (or at least vegetarian) was the right thing to do. For a while, I pushed it off because I knew that my family would think I had lost my mind. When I got to college and started learning about the horrible impacts that the American meat industry has on the environment, I decided that it was time to make the change, and I am SO happy that I did! I feel much healthier, recover from workouts faster, and handle stress better.
The most interesting part about becoming vegan has been the social aspect. At the cafeteria, I get asked at least once a week, "are you vegetarian?" This doesn't bother me, I have good reasons (environmental, health, and ethical reasons), and it's a way to spread the word about living without meat. The hard part about this comes when I want to get pizza with friends (I can't) or I go to someone's house and they're not serving anything that's vegan (such as roast with buttered mashed potatoes). Any suggestions on how I can handle these situations without ruining my college social life? That said, it's hard to have much of a social life when I'm always in class, at work, in the gym, or studying, but my friendships are still important to me and I don't want to be a pain for someone!
Also, I'd love to chat with any other vegan/vegetarian athletes out there!