Compassionate Eating Challenge – 7 Days (9/21 – 9/27)

Hey Superstars! 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Compassionate Eating Challenge, aka challenging yourselves to being vegetarian for a week! As you may all know, the purpose of this challenge was to see how much carbon dioxide we could reduce by eating meatless meals for 7 days. TOGETHER, we have reduced ~ 10,349 lbs. carbon dioxide.

We asked some of our UCSD Participants to share what it was like to be vegetarian for a week by answering the following questions: 

  1. Were you a vegetarian before you started this challenge?
    • If yes, what is your reason for being vegetarian?
    • If no, how did it feel being vegetarian for a week? Are you going to continue?
  2. What was your favorite meal of this week?
  3. As well as anything else they wanted to add 🙂
Let’s check out what our Tritons had to say!
Eric Horng (4th Year, Electrical Engineering)
12087021_10203571786455222_1632101518_n1. Were you a vegetarian before you started this challenge? No, but I’ve been vegetarian for a long period of time before. It felt good to be vegetarian again, and I felt cleaner and healthier. I will not continue to be vegetarian, but I will reduce my meat intake.

2. Favorite meal was potato pancake. I used onions, mushrooms, broccoli, eggs, hash browns, v. sausage, cheese, and taco seasoning to create a heterogeneous mixture of awesome. However, I had a garlic mashed potato, spinach and avocado personal pizza which was just outstanding, but I had it on the 28th so I don’t know if that counts.

3. Going to restaurants to eat with friends is a tricky matter. I went through it for two years, and this week while I was vegetarian I remembered how it was again. It was a nostalgic feeling. I felt that I couldn’t eat anything, yet it was liberating in the fact that I didn’t have to choose from so many options. It’s a sacrifice that you have to make, but that’s why vegetarianism is not just a way to preserve life, it is also a form of self-discipline. Overall, it was a great week, and a powerful reminder for myself to eat more vegetarian meals.

Mandy Lai (2nd Year, Physiology and Neuroscience)
1. I wasn’t vegetarian before climate week, but not eating meat felt very refreshing and I really enjoyed it. It was like a small way I could make my difference for our Earth. Also, I feel like being vegetarian forced me to think more about the food I was putting in my body, which just made me healthier. Haha! I’m not going to strictly continue to be vegetarian after this, but I will definitely lean towards more veggie meals. All in all, being vegetarian for a week was very fun and it wasn’t hard at all! As a disclaimer I guess I should say I wasn’t this huge meat lover in the past, but I would still definitely encourage people to try going vegetarian for awhile!

2. My favorite meal was at the during moon cake festival at the San Diego Tzu Chi Service Center. I just really enjoy eating with people and good company! For taste is better when it is shared with friends and family.

3. Oh and I guess I had a pretty good veggie burger at Phil’s BBQ too! Go try it out if you’re vegetarian! It’s not very healthy, but yum!!

Christine Diao (Alumni)

12071347_953187428061425_240880554_n1) Were you a vegetarian before you started this challenge? Yes and no… I don’t eat a lot of meat
in general (currently trying to be pescatarian), but I have tried being vegetarian before since I wanted experience what it was like and in general reduce my carbon footprint. TC was one of the main influences that made me realize that eating less meat is better for the body and our planet in general. Since TC always emphasizes compassion for all living beings, I became more aware and mindful of this message. Although I’m 12042288_953187421394759_114917442_nnot always fully vegetarian, I’ll keep trying to reduce my carbon footprint as much as I can. Sometimes it can be hard to order vegetarian dishes at restaurants because your options will be quite limited sometimes. However, it just allows plenty of room for you to be more creative in food hunting and buying the right groceries! Plus, you can always look online for some veggie cooking ideas.


Victoria Low (4th Year, Public Health)
12053110_10153648432134104_398848849_n1) I was eating vegetarian before the challenge started but I am not a vegetarian… school just started and when I’m at home I eat meat because filial piety > vegetarianism for me. I just got back to school so I had already started eating vegetarian. I broke it today (the 28th) because salmon is my weakness but ordinarily when I’m eating I choose to eat vegetarian meals.
2) The tacos at Puesto. I got one each: Potato Soy Chorizo, Zucchini & Cactus, Rajas tacos 🙂 It’s so much easier to feel satisfied choosing vegetarian options when they taste so good too.
12048944_10153648432859104_545194147_n3) I don’t really have a problem feeling full when eating vegetarian meals but because American and family culture is so meat-centered, it’s hard to eat with people and be vegetarian at the same time without hurting feelings or inconveniencing others. For that reason, I choose to eat meat when I’m with my family, although I have never really enjoyed eating meat. I hope that environmental awareness and activism can help facilitate a kind of social norm where it is acceptable and not so difficult to choose vegetarian options.
Nicolette Valicenti (4th Year, Visual Arts ICAM-Music)12083759_10208032833965078_12148958_n
1) I was not a vegetarian. I have been before a couple years ago but for a short period of time. It was a little challenging at first, but I found it easy and I felt like I had more energy after a while. I am continuing it, at least for now. I don’t want to give it up yet.
2) My favorite meal was quinoa with sautéed onion, tomato, blank beans, and steamed broccoli. With a loaf of beer bread – just add beer to a flour mixture and cook it to make bread. (This whole delicious meal is actually vegan! But so delicious)
Kathy Lam (2nd Year, Visual Arts ICAM)
12071713_10203571785255192_196685626_n1. I was not a vegetarian before I started this challenge, but I have been cutting down on meat after my whole summer experience. I was able to be vegetarian for a whole month straight by working for Tzu Chi Summer Camp, so it wasn’t too bad to just do it for a week. However, trying to be vegetarian on campus is kind of difficult as the options are very limiting. Also made me realize how much more I need to learn how to cook and eat healthily because this week I kind of just ate out A LOT.
2. My favorite meal this week was the Tzu Chi Food prepared at San Diego Service Center for Mid-Autumn Festival. TC Food is the best food ❤

     12087409_10203571785495198_294481166_n   12092728_10203571784735179_720053096_n   12087409_10203571785495198_294481166_n

Roger Chou (1st Year, Environmental Engineering)
1. I have been a vegetarian before this challenge. I want to reduce the emission of CO2 and help sustain our environment!
2. My favorite meal this week was the Tzu Chi meal at the service center.
3.This challenge is very worthy to try again as a chance to turn people to vegetarian diet.
Tiffany Chen (3rd Year, Chemistry)
12081332_10203570106173297_371252920_n1. No, I was not vegetarian. Being vegetarian for a week was fun and challenging. The fun part was that I found some delicious vegetarian food and recipes. The challenging part was trying to cook. I think I would like to be partially vegetarian, like eating vegetarian food more often.
2. My favorite meal was the potato salad that I made. My parents make it all the time, but I didn’t realize the how difficult it was to make until now. I think that’s why it’s more delicious.
12087472_10203576671777433_1066262378_n3. Honestly, I am not a meat lover, so being vegetarian wasn’t hard. But because I live on campus, there’s not much variety, to eat vegetarian food, I will either have to cook or eat out. I think that’s probably the hardest part for me.
Tiffany Ho (4th Year, Human Biology)

1. No, I was not a vegetarian before I started this challenge. This week was both a challenge and an inspiring experience for me. It was definitely difficult to find a variety of vegetarian dishes to eat. In order to prevent eating merely salad all week, I had to really think about each meal I had. However, the process of doing so also allowed me to be more conscious of my food choices. This challenge inspired me to consume less meat and make healthier food choices. Even though I am not continuing the vegetarianism, I plan to include more vegetarian meals in my weekly menu.

IMG_42602. My favorite meal this week was the tofu avocado salad that I made from a recipe suggested on the event page. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly since I didn’t have sesame oil or soy sauce paste. Instead, I used a honey mustard dressing that I found in my fridge. I was skeptical at first at how this dish would turn out, but it turned out to be really tasty and filling at the same time. This dish was super easy to make and I would definitely make it again in the future.
3. The beginning of the week was a bit rough since it coincided with move-in weekend and I had to attend to many things after moving back on campus. I was indecisive whether it was a good time to do this challenge. However, after some thought I decided that this challenge would actually be a fantastic way to start of this school year. I am proud of my choice because I feel healthier and learned more about vegetarianism after this week.
Bryan Yang (3rd Year, Computer Science Engineering)

20150928_1035131)  No, I wasn’t a vegetarian before I started this challenge. However, I have been eating less meat since the beginning of this summer. It felt nice being a vegetarian for a week or even just eating less meat in general. I am glad that I was able to contribute to a better and healthier earth by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide produced and emitted. I might not continue to be a vegetarian, but I will definitely try to eat less meat in general!

2) Lemon Grass Tofu Salad/Grilled Plate with brown rice and some veggies that I made by myself 😀! (No pictures because I was too hungry to take pictures LOL.. sorry)

3) I ate out a lot during the challenge and I noticed that vegetarian food was actually pretty expensive. Therefore, I think it probably would’ve been better if I had time to cook/make my own food than to eat out.

John Combs (3rd Year, Environmental Chemistry)
1. Yes, I’m a vegetarian because morally I want to reduce the amount of animals being used to feed the population. I also do it because it is a more sustainable diet and has less impact on the environment.
2. My favorite food was a Caesar salad with tofu instead of chicken.
3. The most difficult part for me is when my friends and I go out to eat and we decide on a place that’s not vegetarian friendly. This is why I’m pescatarian normally so that there are a lot more options for me when going out. ^-^
In response to asking for pictures of food, “And my food is usually gone by the time a picture can be taken.”
Wow there were a lot of Tritons that participated in the Compassionate Eating Challenge, hopefully next time we’ll have even more 🙂. We hope this inspires you to become vegetarian, if not at the very least cut down on some meat consumption ^_^. If you made it through the whole post we give you kudos 😀.

If you haven’t checked out this amazing informational video yet:


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