Benefits of Eating Vegetarian and Vegan Foods

Benefits of Eating Vegetarian and Vegan Foods
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Photographed by Jasmin Wang ’17

When it comes to dieting, majority of people have different perspectives of this concept. Obesity is a conspicuous problem that most Americans face, but anorexia has also become a huge issue. Both of these are not healthy. People usually go on strict diets, follow gym schedules or consume multiple ‘weight loss’ pills to solve this problem. These are not the healthiest options that might not even work on some people. Creating a vegetarian or vegan based diet is usually not what comes to mind.

Changing my personal diet meant changing my lifestyle. Becoming a vegan is something most people aren’t aware about. It is a diet where people don’t consume meat or animal products. Vegetarians do not consume meat. There are major benefits to both of these options. I found that being vegan was more complicated compared to being vegetarian but the benefits of being vegan were completely worth it. To clarify, being vegan means no  consumption of dairy (animal based) ice cream, cake, chocolate,  butter, or milk. There happens to be vegan options for all of these items.

Why go vegetarian?
Humans are not required to eat meat to survive, it is a privilege but it is not even healthy for us. Chickens receive hormones to increase in size. Their feet cannot withstand their weight and many of them end up crippled and their beaks are cut short. The horns of cattle are also removed. Almost all of these animals are so confined that they cannot even turn around, which makes many of them go insane. Most illnesses go untreated and the cruelty  done with out any pain killers. Most people do not care to change because they are accustomed to their routine diets and subconsciously forget the harmful effects of certain foods. All the substances put inside the animals are consumed by humans.

Why go vegan?
You might be wondering why people go vegan if being vegetarian could end a lot of the cruelty. The fact is that in the same way that female humans can’t get milk in them until they are pregnant, dairy cows also cannot constantly provide milk for us. Thus, they are annually falsely impregnated, until it is time that they get killed and served to us. This means that they give birth to beautiful creatures which are soon taken away from the mothers.

Personal Experience
There are some people who I personally know have transitioned to being vegetarian for weight issues. After a few years, it hasn’t changed their weight very much. Personally, I think it feels as normal as being an omnivore. The vegan people I know are very healthy. For me, being vegan after about a month or two was when I could really feel the difference. My body felt in a cleaner state and helped me recognize the benefits of being vegan.

Making the transition
Not all vegetarians cut out eggs or seafood from their diet. That is a personal decision. Eating this diet at home for students is a matter of being able to convince your parents. The media is spreading information on animal cruelty and health benefits of being vegetarian and vegan so that can work in your favor. Eating this diet outside is relatively easy. There are more vegetarian options in restaurants than vegan options and saying you are vegetarian to others is also more simple than explaining the vegan diet. As mentioned before, most people are not aware of what being vegan is and do not see the difference between the two. I usually find myself explaining this to many people. Vegans usually indulge in fruits and potatoes. You might be required to carry your own food around because vegan foods are not available everywhere. It is also important to note that when you are vegan, it doesn’t mean that you are eating less. In fact, you should probably start eating more than your normal amounts because the food is usually digested faster and not eating enough can cause fatigue. I have seen dramatic differences from being vegan. Vegan doesn’t automatically mean that you become skinner than you were before, because it has helped anorexics get to the healthy weight. The only supplement that vegetarians and vegans are required to take is B12.

Both diets will most likely benefit you and the world, but if you can’t commit yourself, then changing a few things in your lifestyle and being knowledgeable on this topic can also help.

Inspirational Quote:

“When I turned vegan, I didn’t feel that way about every animal around. I’ve noticed that it’s something that changes naturally. Nowadays I vacuum around a spider, catch flies to release them outside and let silverfish go about their business; a whole new world, a whole new-found mental peace. I love being vegan, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I finally understand, we all have but one life, human, cow, ant, everyone, it is not our right to take it away in a whim, simply because we can, it’s their right to live their lives, just like us, just like me.”- Jaco van Drongelen

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