To many people, vegetarianism is just a fad and has no real benefits. When most think of a vegetarian they see a hippie or a left-wing animal activist when in fact anybody could be and should be without meat in their diet.
While I personally am not a vegetarian anymore, I did give it a try when I was in high school for about a year and a half, and I loved every second of it. Turning back from it was a decision to get rid of the label that accompanied my lifestyle.
When talking to my vegetarian and nutrition major friend, she explained that she practices this lifestyle and diet because she does not feel that she has the right to take the life of any other living being for her own benefit. She says she feels healthier since she stopped eating meat and gets sick significantly less often.
If you have not picked up the book “Skinny Bitch,” by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, I highly recommend it. Both authors are vegan and go into both the health problems and the animal cruelty problems that eating meat causes.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and The New England Journal of Medicine, meat eaters are much more likely to be overweight than vegetarians. Meat can actually cause our kidneys to shut down. When more than 30-35 percent of our daily caloric intake is protein, our bodies will experience a buildup of toxic ketones. When this happens, our kidneys are put under tremendous stress as they try to flush out the toxic ketones, and they may eventually give up. Also, human saliva is composed partly of alkaline. That plus long intestines means we are not designed to digest animal flesh. This is why animals that are carnivorous have acidic saliva and small intestines to digest quickly.
Moving past the obvious health benefits of cutting meat out of your diet, let’s discuss the animal cruelty that goes on in this country. According to the Humane Society’s Web site, in the United States alone, more than 10 billion animals are slaughtered each year just for our consumption. The places that these animals are harvested are not pretty green pastures either, but factories. These factories are so crowded that all animals are forced to live in their own urine, feces and vomit, and they develop infected sores all over their bodies as a result. To keep animals alive in these conditions, farmers just give them antibiotics, which are then ingested by the people who eat the animals. These antibiotics can lead to urinary tract infections in women, cancer, miscarriages and birth defects. And this doesn’t even begin to mention the pesticides that the animals previously ingested on the farms they resided on before being moved to the factory.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to go in this direction with your diet and life, try it for a few weeks to see how you feel.
Kait Staffieri is a sophomore psychology major from Dallas.