Sunday, August 1, 2021
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More people should eat vegetarian, vegan options

By Jane Bowden
Managing Editor

If you asked me years ago what my favorite food was, I would’ve said a hamburger. Medium-cooked beef topped with American cheese, lettuce and ketchup between a toasted bun — it was what I ate every time my family and I went out for dinner since I was born.

But since becoming a vegetarian more than a year and a half ago, my answer and lifestyle have changed.

My vegetarian journey started in 2018 when I watched the Netflix documentary, “What The Health.” Directed by Kip Andersen, the 2017 film discusses the numerous health problems people can develop by consuming meat and animal products regularly, such as diabetes, heart disease and more. According to the documentary, “one serving of processed meat per day increases the risk of developing diabetes by 51 percent.”

Inspired by the documentary’s promised health benefits, I traded beef hamburgers for quinoa and black bean alternatives and joined on the vegetarian and vegan bandwagon that dozens of celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Beyonce and Joaquin Phoenix have been riding for years.

But a vegetarian diet or veganism isn’t just a trend for celebrities. It’s a movement towards a cleaner, more sustainable future for not only ourselves, but the world around us, too.

Studies show that the meat industry is one of the leading causes for climate change, as raising animals on farms and factories creates harmful CO2 emissions, nitrous oxide and ammonia. It also takes 1,847 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, which means you can save more water eating one pound less of beef than you could by not showering for six months.

It’s also no secret that the meat industry is terrifyingly, heartbreakingly physically and emotionally abusive to the animals we eat. Cows are forced to stand in their own filth, chickens are stuffed in dark, overcrowded cages and pigs are beaten, punched and kicked day in and day out.

Even animal-product companies that promised fair treatment of their animals, like Fairlife Dairy, have been exposed that they’ve misled the public and regularly abused animals, too.

While many argue that cows, chickens and pigs are bred to be eaten by us, this doesn’t excuse the unthinkable torment these animals endure every single second they’re alive. Just like us, they have souls and deserve better treatment.

The simple truth is this — we need to change our diets to save the world. While real change will happen when corporations find environmentally-friendly, sustainable ways to run their businesses, we as consumers can still make a difference. Even just opting for a vegetarian dish every so often — not cutting meat and animal products out completely — will save lives and better our world. Every little bit helps.


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