April is Earth Month, and I’m excited to be partaking in #EverydayActivismChallenge this year. My pledge will be changing to a plant based (vegetarianism) diet for the month of April. When I think about the fact that by going vegetarian, I can reduce the impact of climate change, rainforest destruction, and pollution, I’ll gladly give up burgers and fried chicken for a month. In addition to making a positive impact on our world, this challenge would be a bigger step to self-care for me (anyone who knows me knows I’m huge on self-care).

As of now the challenge has been, to say at the very least, challenging. I definitely regret not having a slow transition into vegetarianism like my co-workers/friends suggested. The sudden change in my diet had me heavily craving chicken and other meats the first week of my challenge. However, I stuck to my challenge and did not break. Now that I am in my second week of this plant based diet, I find myself physically having more energy and being more active. There’s a sweetness to having a plant based diet, not only because of the dressing from the kale salad but, with each bite I take I’m aware that my carbon footprint is lessening. It’s a sweet feeling knowing that one can take care of the Earth simply by changing eating habits.

This challenge has also been eye opening and a continuing learning experience because I encountered some perspectives, specifically, that my act deviates me from the traditional behaviors of men in society. This idea was new to me and never resonated in my mind before so I thought I’d share my thoughts on it.

Except for stone aged people, no one today should associate food with gender. “Men eat meat. Women eat salad.” NO. NO. and NO. This concept not only hurts women but, hurts men by contributing to toxic masculinity. Affirmation of the standard of masculinity (in short) is stupid. It cannot be tolerated because it lowers our expectations for men to live a fully realized life. Being vegetarian or vegan does not make me weak nor should it bring my masculinity to question. Masculinity isn’t something that should be set in stone but constantly evolving. My choice to be vegetarian is not to satisfy the stereotypical male ego to prove that I can break the boundaries and prove that something can be done. However, it is an ethical decision because I am standing up for what is right and by doing so I’m taking care of the earth and my body.

So far I am very happy with challenge I decided to pursue and I hope it continues to be a learning experience for me. I am positive that by the end of this challenge I will continue a plant-based diet and be more conscientious of my actions and how it can affect the earth.