In May, I became a vegetarian and stopped eating meat, even after my family constantly urged me not to. I chose to become a vegetarian because I visited a place called Farm Sanctuary where animals are kept safe and visitors are taught about factory farming and the process from that meat products undergo.
This really opened my eyes to the cruelty that surrounds obtaining meat products. I saw videos of how the animals are kept on these farms, which scarred me. I thought, “Why would anyone want to put animals through those horrible things?”
In recent years, more and more people have begun restricting their diets. Many people have gone vegan — a lifestyle where one does not eat or use animal products. Others have started vegetarian diets — a diet where one does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products, as well as pescatarian ones — a diet that includes fish but no other meat.
More people have begun to restrict their diets for several reasons, mainly for the preservation of their health, the environment, or for ethical reasons. According to a study done by Harvard, some benefits of a vegetarian diet include the lower risks of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.
Many students are unable to become vegetarians because their parents cook meat regularly and are unable to stop the diet they are provided at home. Many parents tell their kids to wait until college, and once the kid gets to college, there are so many meat options that they just forget about being vegetarian. But, once kids get to college, if they still want to, they have the option to not eat meat in college cafeterias which tend to have more variety of food for vegetarians.
Many cafeterias do not cater to vegetarians’ needs. My school’s cafeteria, for instance, has little to no vegetarian options. The school cafeteria has a beef, fish or chicken option everyday but there is only a vegetarian option about once a week. What are the kids who are vegetarian supposed to eat for lunch? They cannot live off of grilled cheese sandwiches, ice cream, and chips. These foods are unhealthy and are the reason people claim that being a vegetarian is not healthy.
My brother and I are both vegetarians, and he eats from the cafeteria once or twice a week, and he cannot get a nutritious lunch from the cafeteria which is supposed to be healthy. Grilled cheese sandwiches and pizza are good, but they are not a sufficient meal. There are other healthy options that can be easily made in place of pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches.
I think having the choice early in life to be a vegetarian or not should be more common. Parents should not force their children to eat meat if they do not want to. Parents should talk with children about where their food comes from and allow them to choose if they want to eat meat or not. They should not impose an omnivorous diet on them at an age when they cannot have a say. If students are given the option at home and in their school cafeterias, they will be more likely to adapt to this diet.
Although I may not be saving all the animals by not eating meat, I feel like I am helping animals by not eating them. I am very happy that I made this choice, and I hope that more people continue to make it. I also hope the cafeteria does change their vegetarian options, even if it is after I leave my school.
I hope people continue to become vegetarians in their lives. This not only helps one’s health but also helps nature and the animals in it. It helps reduce one’s carbon footprint and possible health issues. Finally, you will feel good that you are helping the animals out.