College Vegetarian Experimenting With Meat
James King, who says he’s been a strict vegetarian for the last 5 years, has been casually experimenting with meat since starting his freshman year at Syracuse University in late August.
“I hadn’t eaten any meat since I was a freshman in high school, but someone broke out a tray of buffalo chicken dip at this party a couple of months ago. People were passing it around and I felt weird turning it away. And it’s like when that stuff hits your lips you just have to have more,” King said while eating an endive salad in his dorm room.
King says that at first he would only have meat once a month, but he has been eating it more frequently in the past few months.
“You say to yourself, ‘I’ll only have it on the weekends or just when I’m with friends,’ but then it’s a Wednesday night and you find yourself sneaking bits of turkey breast from your friend’s fridge while no one’s looking. It’s embarrassing,” King said.
King says it’s hard to stay away from meat because of the peer pressure associated with the culture of meat-eating in your twenties. He admitted to keeping a lockbox of bacon hidden in the back of his fridge.
“This one weekend last semester, my friend and I went out into the woods and we grilled for like two whole days, man. I had like a half pound of beef and it wasn’t even that lean shit. I mean, the fat content was pretty high and the burgers were pretty rare, man. It was wild,” king said. “In the moment, it was an amazing experience but the comedown was weird. I had a stomach ache for like two days afterward, but it felt really good in the moment. I saw some of my vegan friends at the end of that weekend, and I felt like they could tell. They could smell the beef and the cheddar on my breath. I don’t know if I’ll do it again, but that same friend just bought a shit ton of really juicy, bomb-ass lamb from this guy he knows, so I might have to. I don’t know. Once you do it and you find yourself craving that experience again and again.”
King says he doesn’t think he has a problem, but admits he feels like he’s letting down his family who decided to stop eating meat collectively after his father had a heart attack in 2008.
“I’ve seen the effect it can have on people. I’ve heard the horror stories. I know the risk. But it’s like one day you’re having a small side of tuna salad at dinner and the next thing you know things have snowballed and you’re naked and drunk and ordering chicken wings at 4:00 in the morning from some shady character in a deli.”