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Friday, September 22, 2023

Life + Arts

Veganism is a healthier choice

Eating a healthy vegan diet provides health benefits for the consumer, reducing the consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat. It also reduces your eco-footprint and can even increase your lifespan by reducing your risk of certain cancers and obesity. |

A plant-based diet provides individuals with vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, all on a silver platter fit for any health enthusiast.

So for your next meal, hold the meat, cheese and eggs — anything animal-based — and amp up your order to a vegan style pro-animal, eco-friendly menu item.

Did I say eco-friendly? Yes. Vegans not only try to avoid all animal products, including leather, wool, silk and meats, but they also (even if some do not realize it) reduce their eco-footprint, according to the Vegan Society website.

“Vegan diets can produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than meat-based diets. A University of Chicago study found that the ‘typical’ US diet generates the equivalent of nearly 1.5 tons more carbon dioxide per person, per year than a vegan diet… Plant-based diets only require around one third of the land and water needed to produce a typical Western diet.”

Farms used for dairy and meat production are incredible sources of waste production.

The Environmental Protection Agency considers manure (waste) to be one of the top 10 pollutants, and US farms alone create 2 billion tons of it annually.

Of course, there are several health implications to consider too. Studies show those who practice a balanced vegan diet meet all healthy eating recommendations, including consuming more fruit, vegetables, whole grains and less cholesterol and saturated fat.

Eating these foods daily can help decrease the chances of suffering from disorders such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and several cancers.

In fact, it’s been proven that vegans and vegetarians live longer than the general population.

Subsequent to global health initiatives encouraging individuals to eat less meat and more greens, restaurants are changing their menus to satisfy a growing market of vegetarians, vegans and mild meat-eaters.

For instance, Chuy’s, located on Westheimer, attracts food lovers from all culinary backgrounds, from your Tex-Mex crew to vegan vixens.

Just ask Michael Olson, UH finance junior and the restaurant’s front of house manager, and he will tell you this restaurant caters to all.

“We have a lot of vegetarian options,” Olson said. “A lot of our clientele consists of people from middle eastern countries, so we cater to those who have those religious beliefs which prevent them from eating meat and other animal products. There are people who believe it is just wrong to exploit animals.”

But Olson is not one of them. He said that after working at the establishment for about a year now, he has considered being vegan, but wouldn’t dare cross that line for family purposes.

“My grandparents own a cattle ranch, so it would be hard for me to go vegan,” he said.

For those who decide not to follow in Olson’s footsteps and dive into the culinary vegan pool of non-animal-based products, consider this and take a dip.

‘Moo-ve’ over meat

Many people who become vegan have a genuine concern for the treatment and killings of animals.

All animals farmed for food meet the same fate, and vegans try to do their part in choosing not to participate in this ending. In fact, by avoiding foods with meat in them, vegans demonstrate their compassion for all living creatures.

Baby steps: try popular vegan dishes on for size

There are many international vegan dishes that have been known to taste so good they set off firecrackers in your mouth.

There are vegan pizzas, casseroles, even salsas (which can be found at Chuy’s) that people can eat.

One of the more popular dishes everyone should try is hummus, which is a dip or spread made from chickpeas.

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