Going green? Turn to vegetarianism


By Michelle Schomer

Heidi Lara-Flores | HAWKEYE

Every day, young men and women are choosing to live a healthier and longer life by becoming vegetarians, people who do not eat any animal flesh. This can also be referred to as vegetarianism.

According to a study pulled by the Vegetarian Times, there are currently 7.3 million American vegetarians.

Is refusing to eat something that once lived a healthy lifestyle change? There are four different types of vegetarians, and they are Vegetarians, Pescatarians, Semi-Vegetarians, and Vegans.

A Vegetarian is someone who does not eat beef, poultry, fish, shellfish, or any other animal flesh. Pescatarians follow a vegetarian diet, but make an exception to eat seafood.

Semi-Vegetarians also follow a vegetarian diet, but on occasion eat meat. Some vegetarians decide not to eat eggs and dairy and are known as Vegans.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, following a vegetarian diet reduces the risk of cancer by 40 percent, because a vegetarian diet has no red meat. Red meat is high in saturated fat, which raises blood cholesterol.

The cause of cancer in red meats has not been found, but researchers are slowly researching why it causes cancer.  Becoming a vegetarian can also reduce the risk of obesity; 15 percent of men and 16.5 percent of women are obese.

Vegetarians gain a lower proportion of their energy from fat and suffer less from obesity. The American Dietetic Association says that a vegetarian diet is more common among adolescents, because they are using vegetarianism to cover up a current eating disorder.

Besides the health benefits, there are other reasons  to switch to being a vegetarian. It supports the stop of using animals as food. In 2008 Vegetarian Times conducted a survey with 11.9 million vegetarians and 54 percent said that they were vegetarians because of animal welfare.

Certain religions don’t condone the consumption of meat such as Jainism, Chinese Buddhism, and Hinduism.

The environmental movement is also supported by becoming a vegetarian.

In the same 2008 Vegetarian Times survey, 47 percent of the people became a vegetarian because of the condition the environment is in when meat is processed. Fish populations are declining, and life-sustaining rainforests are being chopped down in order to make animal grazing fields.

According to youryogi.com, animals in the United States produce around 30 times more excrement  than humans do. Plus, animal waste can’t be treated as easily. Humans have a complex waste system that actually treats the waste that’s mixed with the water, but the animal waste cannot be treated at all.

At a local supermarket, a pound of meat is usually more expensive than a pound of apples or carrots.

Becoming a vegetarian is a very cheap way to live because the main things being purchased are fruits and vegetables. A vegetarian diet is sufficient in protein as long as a wide variety of fruits and vegetables are eaten.

Protein can be found in grains, nuts, beans, and some form of protein powder, which can include soy or brown rice.

Vitamin D is also missing in a vegetarian diet, and teens must get a lot of this vitamin. This is because the teenage years are when the bones are developing, and without the vitamin D, the body may not be able to use the calcium it needs.

Vitamins like B-12 must be consumed in the form of a supplement; most vegetarians must take supplements to fulfill their daily requirements of all missed vitamins.

It’s a good idea to check with a physician or doctor if a person is thinking of converting into a vegetarian because switching to soy products in order to get your necessary proteins may affect with the digestive system.

When before the body was used to breaking down meat, now the body has to get used to breaking down soy products which will take a while.