top of page

Acerca de

So What's It Really Like?


November 2021

Veganism and vegetarianism are becoming more and more popular in the United States, but some Americans have a hard time understanding and accepting the lifestyle. Unless one practices the diet themselves, it can be challenging to comprehend the desires of others to pursue it.


That is why we sat down with two people that would know firsthand what the diets are like: one vegan and one vegetarian. We discussed what the diets mean for them and all the challenges that arise in daily life.


Kathryn Burns and Kierlyn Casmirri are both juniors at Iowa State University. Burns is a vegan, and Casmirri is a vegetarian. They gave us the insight that we cannot get from a website or textbook. 


Let’s define the two terms first. 


“Veganism means not consuming any animal products; that’s with diet and products, like wearing leather,” Casmirri said. “That also includes honey for me.” 

“Vegetarianism for me means I don’t eat any meat, but sometimes on vacation, if the fish is local, I will eat it,” Burns said. “But I do eat cheese and dairy,”

Those of special diets typically have a motivation for choosing to change their eating habits, whether it be health reasons, animal rights or environmental concerns. 


Casmirri said that she took an animal science class at Iowa State during her first semester. Each Friday, the class visited some farms as a class lab component. Soon, she could not bear the thought of eating the animals she was seeing in front of her each week.  


Burns had more of an environmental perspective when choosing to change her diet. 


“I did an interactive news article in high school that showed how bad eating meat was for the planet,” Burns said. “So, I’ve been vegetarian for two and a half years, and I haven’t eaten red meat in three years.” 


These diets do not go without their challenges. Casmirri said that in her college classes, agriculture students sometimes make comments about her choice to be a vegan because of their passion for the livestock industry. 


“People get personally offended when you say you’re a vegan,” Casmirri said. “Especially in Iowa, since we’re surrounded by so much agriculture,”


Burns said she struggles most at family reunions or social gatherings regarding judgment and confusion from others. She said that people tend to feel bad or pity her for not eating meat, even though it is her personal choice.


Some vegans and vegetarians, like Casmirri and Burns, feel the opposite judgment from others, saying that people nitpick what they are eating or using to make them feel like they are not genuinely pursuing the diet they say they are.

Casmirri touched on an experience when she wore her mother’s leather belt that was gifted to her. Her peers questioned her validity as a vegan for wearing the belt even though she did not purchase it.

Burns had a similar experience. She said she once ate a bratwurst when spending time with friends, and everyone around her felt the need to point it out and question her.

“The most important thing to remember is to grant yourself grace,” Burns said. “It’s okay to slip up.”

Burns said despite the hostility she sometimes feels; she tries to remember her diet is not about being perfect but making progress towards something bigger than herself.

bottom of page