In the vibrant landscape of lifestyle choices, the decision to embrace a vegetarian or vegan diet is more than just a culinary preference; it’s a commitment to a healthier, more sustainable way of living. Today, we’re excited to introduce you to Giulia De Michele, a 21-year-old Political Science student from Scandiano, Reggio Emilia.
Giulia’s journey into vegetarianism, influenced by her lactose intolerance and a deep concern for the environment, provides a unique perspective on the vegetarian lifestyle. Her story is not just about avoiding meat or dairy; it’s about making conscious choices that align with her values.
Join us as we delve into Giulia’s experiences, challenges, and the joys she discovers in her vegetarian journey, offering valuable insights and inspiration for those interested in this lifestyle.
Tell us about yourself – who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
Hello, I’m Giulia De Michele, 21 years old, from Scandiano in the province of Reggio Emilia. I am a student of Political Science. My journey into vegetarianism started a few years ago, and it has been a significant part of my life since then.
What are the three main reasons you chose to become a vegetarian?
Initially, I identified as a vegetarian, but due to my lactose intolerance, I’ve almost completely cut out dairy, aligning closely with veganism. My decision was influenced by several factors.
Firstly, I’ve never been particularly fond of meat, so transitioning to a vegetarian diet was a natural step for me. The second, and more significant reason, is the environmental impact of an omnivorous diet, especially concerning climate change. Lastly, I chose this path for the health benefits it offers.
Was there any food item you found particularly hard to eliminate from your diet?
Yes, giving up fish was challenging. I’ve always enjoyed it, and unfortunately, the vegetarian alternatives to fish are quite limited. We have many substitutes for meat and dairy, but not so much for fish. Thankfully, there’s a gradual introduction of new products in this area.
How do you ensure your diet is balanced despite these ‘restrictions’?
Staying well-informed is key. I haven’t consulted a nutritionist but have educated myself through extensive reading and following vegan influencers on social media. Meeting nutritional needs like proteins and vitamins is entirely feasible with a vegan/vegetarian diet. The only supplement I’ve had to include is vitamin B12.
Are there still many stereotypes associated with this dietary choice?
Definitely! The most prevalent stereotype is about protein intake. Many people ask where I get my proteins from if I don’t eat meat. The truth is, proteins are abundant in a variety of other foods. It’s a matter of education and breaking the habit of relying heavily on meat for protein.
Do you feel better since adopting this dietary path?
Absolutely! I feel healthier, lighter, and more content. This lifestyle has encouraged me to cook more and understand my food better. Overall, I feel significantly better than before.
Has this change impacted other aspects of your life?
Certainly. It’s changed my approach to discussing this topic with others. I was initially reserved, but now I’m much more open and informed. I also actively engage in conversations about animal rights, especially concerning clothing choices.
Any tips or advice for those considering a vegetarian journey?
My advice is to start experimenting and view it not as a restriction but as an addition to your diet. For example, try incorporating foods like tofu, which many omnivores don’t usually eat. It’s about adding new choices, not just removing old ones.
What methods, techniques, or tools help you maintain this lifestyle?
I heavily utilize social media for inspiration, watching videos and exploring vegan/vegetarian recipes. Additionally, always reading labels while shopping is crucial.
How have you changed since living this way?
I’ve changed in a very positive way. Before, it was more about indulging my cravings. There are still plenty of delicious and tempting foods to enjoy as a vegetarian, make no mistake, but previously I paid much less attention!
Before, I would just eat whatever I fancied, often opting for quicker options. Now, however, I always try to include protein in almost every meal and eat more vegetables and fruit!
What are the joys of living according to vegetarian/vegan principles?
The greatest joy is knowing that I’m eating well and doing something beneficial for the planet, animals, and my health. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Thank You Giulia
In concluding our enlightening conversation with Giulia De Michele, we’re reminded of the profound impact that personal choices can have on our health, the environment, and our ethical stance towards the world.
Giulia’s journey into vegetarianism, punctuated by thoughtful choices and a commitment to sustainability, serves as an inspiring beacon for anyone considering a similar path.
Her story highlights a critical aspect of vegetarianism: it’s not merely about removing certain food items from one’s diet; it’s about embracing a whole new world of culinary possibilities.
Giulia’s shift from a diet driven by cravings and convenience to one focused on health and mindfulness exemplifies a transformative journey that goes beyond the plate. It’s about developing a deeper connection with what we consume and understanding the broader implications of our food choices.
Interestingly, Giulia’s experience also shatters common misconceptions about vegetarian diets. The stereotype that plant-based diets are lacking in variety or nutrients, particularly protein, is one that Giulia effectively debunks.
Through her informed choices, she demonstrates that a vegetarian diet can be as balanced and fulfilling as any other. Her emphasis on the importance of educating oneself, exploring new foods, and being mindful of nutritional needs is a valuable lesson for all, irrespective of dietary preferences.
Moreover, Giulia’s story transcends the boundaries of mere dietary change. It’s about lifestyle transformation. Her newfound enthusiasm for cooking, deeper exploration of food ingredients, and a conscious approach towards other aspects of life, such as clothing, reflect a holistic change.
This change is not just personal but also communal, as she actively engages in conversations and spreads awareness, influencing others around her.
As we thank Giulia for sharing her journey with us, we hope her story serves as an inspiration and a guide for those contemplating a shift to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
Her experience beautifully illustrates that such a transition is not just about what we give up but also about the new dimensions of taste, health, and ethics we embrace.