Vegetarianism offers multiple benefits

Ben Sadkowski/Staff Writer

The idea of being a vegetarian is an increasingly popular topic these days. With more awareness coming out about animal cruelty, the movement to stop eating meat has become stronger. There are many other reasons to become a vegetarian, including decreasing the amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol and contaminants in your meals. These things are commonly found in abundance in animal products such as meat.

There is often confusion when vegetarianism terminology comes into play. A vegetarian is one who does not eat meat, poultry, fish or seafood.

A vegan is a person who follows stricter discipline in which one does not eat any animal by-product whatsoever.
The term “vegetarian” is often used as a blanket label to cover the many different disciplines of vegetarianism.
One lesser-known issue that apparently comes from consuming meat is the negative impact it brings down upon the environment.

The United Nations released a report in 2006 stating that deforestation coming from the meat industry is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems (deforestation), at every scale from local to global.”

Another far less pleasant negative is the massive amount of animal feces that is part of the runoff from farms. This massive amount of waste in turn pollutes America’s waterways more than all of the other industrial pollutants combined.
According to the WorldWatch Institute, roughly 89,000 pounds of fecal waste are created every second. By turning to vegetarianism, people can help to lessen the negative impact on the environment.

As already mentioned, there is an increased amount of knowledge about animal cruelty being circulated throughout the public. Animals kept on factory farms are subject to mutilation, neglect and cruel drug regimens.

Animals are crammed into tiny spaces, often so small that they are unable to lie down or even move. stated that by switching to a vegetarian diet, each person will save more than 100 animals per year.

Finally, there is strong scientific evidence that states that a vegetarian diet is extremely beneficial to the body. According to author Elizabeth Somer, vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease. At the same time, Doctor Neal Bernard stated in his book The Power of Your Plate that the rate of cancer in vegetarians is 40 percent less than their meat-eating counterparts.

There are many more benefits, including a higher IQ, less chance of getting osteoporosis or asthma, and a longer life span. However, the issue of obtaining vitamin b12 in a vegan diet comes up often. This can be remedied by taking a vitamin or supplement to get the needed amount of b12.

While all of this information is extremely convincing and I am very supportive of vegetarian efforts, I can’t neglect the fact that it would be very painful to deprive myself of meat, having eaten it for almost my entire life. Nevertheless, I want to give it a try, not only out of my curiosity, but because I think the potential benefits are far too strong to ignore.

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