The Truth About Vegetarianism

During my lifetime, I’ve heard many ridiculous claims about vegetarianism. The assumptions that all vegetarians are unhealthy, consume nothing but broccoli and tofu, inflict damage upon our earth, and contribute to global warming are some of the more popular ones. Many people that think about their food seem to view eating animals as a necessary part of the human diet. Others create a fantasy in their mind in which that chicken from Wal-Mart lived a long life, healthy and free, that it proudly donated to become a stranger’s sandwich. Based on my opinion, knowledge, and experience as a vegetarian, none of these ideas are true.


My siblings and I have been vegetarians for our entire lives, and we’re very healthy. One of the most common questions I’ve been asked is, “How do you get enough protein?” According to www.iom.edu, the recommended daily amount of protein for men is 56 grams, while for women it is 46 grams. However, the average person gets about 100 grams of protein per day. It is therefore much easier to meet, and in the case of non-vegetarians, exceed, the protein recommendations than many people believe. Yes, meat is a good source of protein and other nutrients, but so are beans, nuts, seeds, dairy products (for vegetarians that aren’t vegan), and even vegetables.


There is also a misunderstanding about the amount of food choices vegetarians have. What do we eat? Pasta, bean burritos and tacos, pizza, vegetable stir-fry, rice, fruit, potatoes, salad, sandwiches, soy ‘fake meat’ products, falafel, chili, soups, nuts, yogurt, enchiladas, cereal, and dessert, to name a few! I don’t eat at restaurants like McDonalds, but I don’t think that’s a terrible deprivation. A determined, creative vegetarian will find plenty of different options.


Some people justify their meat consumption with the idea that they’re eating the animals that contribute to global warming by adding gases into the planet’s ever-thickening shield. Well, why are those animals alive in the first place? They are raised to be slaughtered, and as long as there are people to eat them, more and more animals will continue to escalate global warming. Livestock production accounts for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions [woods.stanford.edu]. Cows produce methane, a very potent gas, rainforests, which produce oxygen, are chopped down to raise cattle, and the vehicles for meat transportation ooze even more gases. Vegetarianism not only takes a step toward slowing the greenhouse effect, but also overfishing, coral reef damage due to bottom trawling, deforestation, an extreme waste of crops (It takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat, according to www.iun.edu), and more.


Lastly, just because animals can’t speak does not mean they don’t care about the horrible treatment they went through before and as they were killed. That burger on your plate was once a sweet cow with big brown eyes that deserved a life better than the one it got. It is not the “circle of life”, as someone once told me-who’s eating us? Also, treating animals the way they are treated in the meat industry is definitely not a natural part of life. When someone humanely hunts animals only when absolutely necessary, or buys their meat from organic, cage free sources, it’s a little more acceptable.

Overall, to those who make these rash, uninformed assumptions, please show some respect for vegetarians and their opinions and do your research first.





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Anita This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 6, 2010 at 12:45 am
This is a nice article :). Though I do disagree with you on the circle of life front (there has to be a top of it, you know), I think you made some good points.
 
guinea_pig_girl said...
Feb. 4, 2010 at 11:20 pm
To TheUnknownGuest, even just eating less meat helps. Thanks for the comments! :)
 
TheUnknownGuest said...
Feb. 4, 2010 at 9:35 pm
This was awesome! I hate how all these animals are dying and being used for our enjoyment. I tried to be one a couple of times, but every time, I almost fainted. My whole family eats meat and I find it very hard to do it alone. So everytime I eat meat, I see a cute little innocent face that never really had to die. I kinda have to eat meat...... it's either that or starve my self from the nothing but meat in our fridge. Your story helps me a good bit on trying harder, but I don't think... (more »)
 
PoetUnknown said...
Jan. 23, 2010 at 6:44 pm
i just learned something. i thought i used to be a vegetarian when in reality, i was a vegan. I really liked this article, it sets people straight. Not only should they do their research before cnfronting vergetarianism, they should do their research before saying uninformed things about anything. circle of life my behind. keep writing please. i liked that. :)
 
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