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The Benefits of Being a Vegetarian

Maitreyee Mittal, Staff Reporter

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Let’s just get to the point. I’m a vegetarian, and I want you to be one, too. Thanksgiving is around the corner, and you could do a lot better than eating that poor turkey. Of course, being vegetarian has its drawbacks—limited options at Panda Express, always starving on family trips to Las Vegas and never finding anything to eat at sporting events, where they only serve classic hot dogs and hamburgers. So why am I still a vegetarian? Well, it’s partly due to my family values. Going all the way back to my great-great-great grandfathers, everyone has been a vegetarian. Apart from this, I’m vegetarian because I care. I care about animals, I care about the planet and I care about my health.

Most of us have a dog or a cat, and we know that animals are intelligent and have the ability to feel love, joy and pain. This is no different for the animals we eat. Animals such as pigs, sheep and cows suffer from animal cruelty, treated like production units instead of the intelligent beings that they are. They suffer from intense overcrowding or confinement so  extreme that they cannot move around. Your Thanksgiving turkeys are in continual contact with urine and feces, causing deformities on their bodies.

Would you treat your pet like this? Probably not. In addition, the average meat-eater consumes 100 animals every year. That’s how many animals you can save just by switching to a vegetarian lifestyle.

Being vegetarian is also the easiest way to ‘go green.’ Livestock production requires more land and water than the production of edible crops. In fact, according to the United Nations, livestock production is one of the biggest contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Being vegetarian reduces the rate of global warming, and it solves global problems such as the lack of water. More than one billion people worldwide lack enough safe drinkable water. A plant-based diet requires 15 times less water than a meat-based diet. Switching to vegetarianism can save up to five million liters per year! Why wouldn’t you want to help people from dying?

Aside from the benefits vegetarianism has for the rest of the world, know that being vegetarian is also a great way for you to stay healthy. It is one of the simplest ways to increase life expectancy and decrease chances of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A meat diet is filled with fats that contribute significantly to high cholesterol and to these diseases. Conversely, a plant-based diet contains many goodies that fight these diseases, including fiber, which increases metabolism.

So just by eating green, you can save animals, save the planet and save yourself. It’s a triple package–don’t pass it up! So how about skipping the meat this Thanksgiving? Try vegetable lasagna, mashed potatoes, and a salad. Don’t forget the cornbread and pumpkin pie!

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The Benefits of Being a Vegetarian