When people think of vegetarian food, the first stereotypical things that comes to mind is “bunny food.” As perceived and portrayed in multiple industries, vegetarian food is mostly thought of as salads or pure vegetables, not as “regular” or “common” foods, such as fries, burgers and pizza. As a lifelong vegetarian, I can assure you that I still need to remind myself to eat vegetables, instead of just eating carbs and peanut butter all day.
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Many vegetarians have expressed embarrassment over their diet habits because of society’s cynicism over “just eating vegetables.” But being vegetarian doesn’t mean someone is trying to lose weight, eat less carbs or is only doing it to be healthy. There are so many more reasons to go vegetarian that impact a bigger picture.
Reduce Global Warming
A lot of people don’t realize the amount of energy that goes into producing meat and the upkeep of livestock, especially as livestock generate more greenhouse gases than all the cars in the world. The severe ecological problems associated with livestock are more than just the destruction of water supplies, massive amounts of oil and them depletion of the earth’s natural resources, but also viruses caused by mass-produced livestock caused by the pumping of antibiotics.
Prevention of Preventable Diseases
A vegetarian diet generally has less fat and cholesterol and less risk of coronary heart disease, obesity, colon cancer and more. The mortality rate for many heart diseases that affect millions is much lower in vegetarians because of their plant-based diet.
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Longer Life Span
An Oxford study published in the British Medical Journal found that on average, vegetarians outlive non-vegetarians by approximately 6 years. That’s 6 more years of life if you reduce your intake of meat! Plant based diets have more fiber, antioxidants and vitamins which helps strengthen the immune system and slows down the aging process.
You’ll Save Animals
Billions of animals are slaughtered each year for human consumption. Unlike centuries ago, most animals were not domesticated and brought up to be slaughtered. Today the conditions they are put through, such as mass caging systems and mass slaughterhouses, is cruel.
Help Reduce Famine and Starvation
In the US alone, about 70% of all grain produced is fed to livestock, as they consume five times as much grain than the American population. The number of people that could be fed by the grain given to livestock would exceed a staggering 800 million, or if it were to be exported, would increase the US trade by $80 billion a year.
The transition to becoming a full time vegetarian is difficult at first, but in the end is so rewarding.
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Mana Mehta is a 16-year-old high school student, aspiring to be a political journalist. She is usually glued to a good book and watching political debates.