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So You Want to Go Vegetarian

Part 1: Why Cut Out Meat In the First Place?

“Think before you act” is a life lesson that we are taught from the onset of our childhood and continues to remain a valuable piece of guidance as we get older. We’re taught to give thought to every one of our actions, even if it’s as minuscule as purchasing a candy bar, or as paramount as deciding where to go to college.

Why should the decision to adopt a vegetarian diet be any different?

Before taking the plunge into a meat-free world, it is important that you think before you act. It is important for you to think about why it is that adopting a plant-based diet is something that you are interested in doing in the first place. In other words, what the heck made you think about taking on this herbivorous lifestyle to begin with?

Making the decision to go meat-free can come from a variety of influences, whether it is because you are simply curious to see if “it’s possible” for you to survive without meat or because of your religious beliefs, it is important to establish your reason. Constantly reminding yourself as to why you are transitioning can help make process easier. While there endless potential of reasons to make the switch, there a few reasons that tend to sway people more than others.

One of these numerous reasons is because of the negative impact the meat production process has on the environment. Generally, raising animals for food requires large quantities of resources such as water, land, and energy. For instance, PETA reports that more than 260 million acres of forest have been emptied in order to help feed and house farm animals which has then contributed to significant habitat loss and other negative impacts on the environment. Additionally, during the meat production process, numerous harmful gases such as methane, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and nitrous oxide are released into the atmosphere.

Another reason many people choose to adopt a vegetarian diet is because of the health benefits that can potentially come with saying goodbye to a carnivorous ways. A few of these individual benefits include lower body mass indexes (BMIs), cholesterol levels, risk of developing type 2 diabetes, acquiring high blood pressure, and more. Additionally, vegetarians report experiencing include increased energy levels, better digestive abilities, and clearer skin. Of course, these benefits are only experienced when vegetarians have diets providing adequate nutritional value.

Other people choose to take on a plant-based diet for moral reasons regarding animal rights. It is no surprise that animals are treated inhumanely during the meat production process, and video imagery of animals conditions can be particularly compelling. The animals are kept in overcrowded cages and confined spaces that are often times not even large enough for the animals to move the slightest bit. They are deprived of proper exercise, fresh air, veterinary care, and a number of other survival necessities. Certain species are even injected with hormones in order to enable them to grow at a more “efficient” rates or even skinned while still alive.

Whether or not your interest in adopting a meat-free diet is a culmination of these reasons, or a mixture of your own, it is important for you to really think about why it is that becoming a vegetarian is something that you’re interest in pursuing. Remember, there is no right or wrong logic – it is a completely personalized decision. Having a clear understanding of why this diet choice is right for you will only make the transition that much easier and more meaningful.

College Cooking

The Definitive Visual Guide to Quesadilla Ingredients

We present to you The Definitive Visual Guide to Quesadilla Ingredients! The following is a suggestive supplement to our Basic Cheese Quesadilla Recipe. Listed and wonderfully photographed below is every quesadilla ingredient we could think of. Scroll through the page vertically, or select a photograph and navigate through the set using your arrow keys.

What ingredients are missing? Let’s make this definitive list truly definitive!

Cheeses

Vegetables

Proteins

(ideally seasoned with taco/fajita mix)

Seasonings/Enhancers

(go wild here, it’s up to you)

Site News

Upcoming Features

Today marks the one-week milestone since our site launched, and while we’ve had an amazing first week in terms of traffic, the site is still considered a public beta. That of course means that not everything is perfect quite yet, but it also means there are features yet to come. We’re excited to roll these features out over the next month or so, but for now we’ll whet your palate with a little teaser of each.

  1. Food-Porn Mode
    BF3MH4T6HQXB Browsing recipes in a list-view type format is fine, but once in a while, you’re just looking for a sensory overload-type experience of full-screen foody goodness. That’s where Food-Porn Mode comes in. After enabling it, you’ll simply see a full-page of thumbnails, unobstructed by text, star ratings or all the fluff. See a photo of a recipe that looks amazing to you? Simply mouse-over it to see the details that are otherwise in plain view. You’ll also be able to arrow between full-screen versions of the photos with your keyboard.

  2. Mobile Website/WebApp
    Our site already works great with mobile browsers, but as it was designed to look good on a laptop/desktop display first and foremost, we acknowledge there’s room for improvement. No one wants to have to pinch-to-zoom or double tap on a text region within the page to better see a recipe. Especially if you’re in the kitchen with a spatula in your pinch-to-zoom hand. First-world problems, am I right?

    But never fear! We’re working on making the site even more mobile friendly, with content scaled exactly as you need it to view on your phone without needing to zoom in. That omelet might turn out after all.

  3. Print Recipe
    Printing is so 2008. And in 2008, it was so 2004. Despite us all having phones or tablets these days, there’s still something nice about printing out a copy of a recipe, especially knowing what might go down in the kitchen. I know when I make cookies around the holidays, I always have my recipes printed out on regular old 8.5×11. Why? Well, I really don’t want vegetable shortening, egg or molasses all over my precious iPhone. That stuff gets on the sheet of paper? Who cares. Toss it.

    Now you may be saying, “Hey Ron, that’s a good point, but what’s stopping me from printing a recipe right now?” Well…that’s a good point. I guess there’s nothing stopping you. The printout just won’t look nearly as pretty as it will when we’re done with it. It’s a fairly simple thing to tackle, but we decided to prioritize other features for our initial launch.

Other features have popped up amongst us, but none have reached the “Yeah We Definitely Gotta Do That” stage of the process. Not to worry, though. They’ll get there.

Do you have any ideas for features you’d like to see on CollegeRecipes.com?
We’re all ears. Just comment below tellings us your thoughts.

College Cooking

Ten Pro Tips for College Cooking

New to cooking and need some direction? Listed below are some great beginner tips to help you move forward.

  1. Paper Plates
    If your dorm lacks a kitchen sink, scrubbing plates in a crowded bathroom isn’t exactly a day at the beach. While spending money on disposable plates may seem irresponsible, the conveniences they provide make them worth it.
  2. Keep it Clean
    Chances are you share your kitchen with at least a couple roommates. Leaving pans with leftover molding food on the counter is great way to make enemies. Clean up after yourself when you finished eating and make others do the same.
  3. Hot Sauce
    If you enjoy spicy food, hot sauce will be your best friend. Does that $2 microwave pizza taste like crap? Tabasco. Bad Asian food? Sriracha. Only have cat food? Franks Red Hot. Hot sauce is a true life saver. Check out our previous post for more Sriracha goodness.
  4. Plan Ahead
    As mom-like as it sounds, make a list before shopping. Roughly plan out yours meals for the next few days and buy the necessary ingredients. It’s when you’re starving and grocery-less that you order delivery the most.
  5. Keep Your Fridge Organized
    Without an organized, or at least navigable fridge, you will lose track of what you have in stock. That tomato you bought will find its way to the back of the bottom left drawer under some corn. Three months later the smell will help you find it.
  6. Watch Your Budget
    Know how much money you have to spend on food and shop appropriately. Splurging on delivery and expensive meat can be great but not if it leaves you eating ramen every day for the rest of the semester.
  7. Cook with Friends
    Family meals are great, but seeing as your family may be 1000 miles away in Idaho, these can be hard to execute. Roommates and close friends make great substitutes. Cooking large meals together give you a chance to save by buying food in large quantities, show off your cooking skills and enjoy a nice sit down meal.
  8. Get a Hot Plate
    Though the microwave may be one of the greatest inventions of the last millennium, it has its limitations. If you want to be able to make more quality food absent a stove, a hot plate will be your best friend. Here’s one we recommend. It’s cheap ($20), but effective and reliable.
    Hot Plate
  9. Be Health-Conscious
    The freshman 15 is no joke; it happens. Cooking your own meals, as oppose to eating out and ordering delivery, is a great way to prevent it if done right. Avoid junk foods and wasteful calories and integrate more fresh foods and vegetables.
  10. Mix It Up
    Humans are habitual in nature. You develop routines and stick to them, even when it comes to eating. Rarely, unless you’re a dietitian, do the foods you habitually eat fully meet your nutritional needs. Try new things and avoid getting stuck in a rut. For more tips on mixing it up, check our Mix Up Your Grocery List blog by our very own Ashley Vasquez.

Got anything you would add? Comment below telling us!

College Cooking

Top 5 Kitchen Tips: Cooking for Beginners

  1. Recipes are NOT set-in-stone rules. As obvious as this sounds, it is often one’s initial reaction that not having every ingredient listed disqualifies the recipe as an option. Recognize which ingredients are essential and which are not. For instance, when making French Toast, the toast is an essential ingredient. However, the recipe can produce deliciousness without the optional garnish of powdered sugar.
  2. Paprika is not a combination of pepper and salt. Though our childhood entertainment led us to believe in the myth that when salt and pepper get together an adorable paprika love child is produced, I am sad to inform you that Blue’s Clues has lied to us.
  3. Preparation is essential. Make sure to check your recipe before going to the store to buy ingredients. Better yet, take a copy of the recipe with you (use our Print Recipe feature). There is nothing more frustrating than realizing you forgot to buy a key ingredient. It is also helpful to take out all your ingredients before starting to prepare the dish. This way, you aren’t running back and forth to the cupboard the whole time.
  4. READ DIRECTIONS. We have been having this order barked at us since elementary school and it never ceases to irritate. Long, lengthy directions are annoying (we here at CollegeRecipes try to avoid them). However, getting rid of your hunger is dependent on reading a recipe’s directions slowly and carefully. Read through the directions before doing anything else. Read each step twice before completing it. Beginners may want to avoid baking as part of their first soiree into the kitchen since these recipes tend to be more tedious and confusing.
  5. Have fun! Is this lesson cheesy? Yes, but here at CollegeRecipes, we believe cheesiness is always good. You will spend a good portion of your life preparing food and even more time eating it. If you’re having fun in the kitchen you are more likely to invest the time into doing right and producing quality meals that you and your loved ones enjoy. Why take 5 minutes to heat up some microwave-born pile of processed trash when with just a little more time (sometimes even less) and effort you can have food with better taste and quality. Cooking can provide an escape from reality in which only the food and you are important. Enjoy every moment in the kitchen!
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