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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Opinion

Eating vegetarian is worth it, morally responsible


veggies

Photo illustration by Anthony Torres

Heart disease, high cholesterol and a higher risk of heart attack are just a few of the dire consequences of eating red meat.

Because of this industrialization of the meat industry, animals in factory farms are squeezed into tiny spaces and kept in filthy, unethical conditions in order to maximize profits and minimize costs.

It’s important to note that four companies produce 85 percent of all the meat in the United States.

“I’ve followed a vegan diet for about eight years now for health, ethical and environmental reasons,” said Stephanie Hoban, a registered dietitian, a licensed nutritionist and the owner of the Ripe Cuisine food truck.

“It just makes sense to me to eat a diet full of plant-based foods that support optimal health and nutrition.”

The Ripe Cuisine food truck is Houston’s only all-vegan food truck that offers seasonal and locally-sourced food with plenty of options for every meal.

“Following a vegan diet also has less of a negative environmental impact on the planet and opts out of supporting companies which raise and slaughter animals for consumption, which is unnecessary, violent and often under poor working conditions for laborers,” said Hoban.

Still, only an estimated 3 to 5 percent of the population actually follow a vegetarian regimen.

According to recent Harvard studies, vegetarians have lower rates of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. This is due to the consumption of less saturated fat and cholesterol, and the addition of more vitamins, dietary fiber and phytochemicals.

With the increase of different food alternatives, it’s surprising there aren’t more people making the better lifestyle switch.

Nisreen Mahesri, an American studies senior, is one of millions of Americans that would never consider switching to a vegetarian diet.

“I could never stop eating chicken; I love it way too much,” said Mahesri. “Being a vegetarian would never be an option for me. Not many places sell vegetarian food, and I’m pretty sure it’s a lot more expensive.”

Alejandra Vargas, 28, said she has been a vegetarian for three years and has never had a problem finding good food to eat.

“Of course not all places have many options for vegans or vegetarians, but it’s not like you ever starve to death,” said Vargas. “I still enjoy different foods at different restaurants with the benefit of feeling healthier and more energized than before.”

With more vegetarian selections at grocery stores and restaurants, the market for meatless products has consistently increased over the past couple of years.

Students should be encouraged to try vegan or vegetarian meals. Not only for the great food or benefit their overall health, but because we need to realize that humans are animals too, and treating other animals immorally is wrong.

Society needs to get ahead of the curve and start eating less meat now.

Opinion columnist Rebekah Barquero is a print journalism sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]

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