The Vegan Diet

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The Vegan Diet

Catie Abel, Arts and Culture Page Editor

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The vegan lifestyle has become increasingly popular with people of all ages in the past couple of years. What is veganism? Living a vegan lifestyle includes not eating or using any animal products or animal byproducts. This includes, meats, eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, and other products that have been tested on animals. By cutting these foods out of their diets vegans must obtain their daily nutritional needs by eating a plant based diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. Some may consider a vegan diet very difficult to follow and even sometimes more costly than a diet that does include animal products.

Why do people choose to become vegan? There are tons of positives to living a vegan lifestyle. The increased consumption of vegetables and fruits reaps many health benefits. The vegan diet as a whole contains less saturated fats which could improve cardiovascular health. Also, increased antioxidants provide protection against cell damage. As well as, increased vitamin A, B, and C which leads to improved heart health, immune system strength, and increased cell repair. The vegan lifestyle also has shown to prevent diseases such as, cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, arthritis, and various cancers. There have also been various physical benefits reported as well. For example, weight loss, increase in energy, healthier skin, healthier hair, stronger nails, and reduced allergies. Studies have also shown that vegans usually live three to six years longer than the average person.

People eating vegan diet will argue that veganism is not only a diet, but a lifestyle. People may become vegan because of their personal beliefs. The vegan diet not only benefits the person, but benefits the environment. How is a diet with animal based products hurting the environment? It takes over 1,000 gallons of water to produce a single pound of meat along with high amounts of fossil fuels used to process the meat. There has also been acres upon acres of forests removed where current pastures and farm factories now stand to produce meat. The animals most commonly consumed in America include; chickens, cows, pigs, and sheep. All of which produce high quantities of waste and emit methane which is taking its toll on the ozone layer. Producing vegetables and fruits does not take nearly as much of earth’s natural resources compared to producing meat.

The meat production industry and people’s’ love for animals is another one of the main reasons people choose to have a vegan lifestyle. It’s common that people are unaware of where their meat is from and how it is produced. The image of cows and chickens living on a countryside farm producing milk and laying eggs and eventually being killed to use as food is a mere fantasy compared to where the majority of meat, eggs, and milk are really from. Unless you’re buying the more costly locally grown and produced products, the meats from factory farms are produced under the most inhumane conditions. Vegans choose to not support the industry by eliminating meat and eating a plant based diet.

A common view of a vegan diet or any ‘plant based diet’ is how boring and tasteless it can be. With the current increase of people choosing to become vegan the opportunities have become endless with what foods vegans can now eat. Almost any animal product can be replaced with a vegan version. For example, eggs, butter, yogurt, and even milks such as, almond milk. It’s becoming more and more practical to live a vegan lifestyle. Health food stores, restaurants, and cafes are more likely to carry or serve vegan products or meals.

Veganism is often viewed as an ‘extreme’ diet and some are even looked down upon by living this lifestyle. Taylor Quattrocchi, a Junior at WVHS commented, “People don’t realize that veganism could literally save the world. So much water and land is used for animal agriculture and it produces so much methane as well, contributing to the destruction of the ozone layer. People need to be informed of the environmental, health, and ethical benefits of veganism.”.  More guidelines and regulations can be applied to these farm factories. There is no reason that justifies the cruel and inhumane treatment of these animals. Veganism is only one of the many ways you can actively and peacefully fight the meat industry animal cruelty.

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The Vegan Diet