According to Harvard Health, “Approximately six to eight million adults in the United States eat no meat, fish, or poultry.” Numerous Stevenson University students are following the vegetarianism trend for either health benefits, moral beliefs, or religious reasons.
Most advantages of being vegetarian are related to health. According to Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, switching to a meat-free diet will lead to “lower saturated fat and cholesterol intake, while increasing fiber intake.” The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine also notes, “Plant-based diets can help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and lower high heart rates.”
A big concern for switching to a meat-free diet is having a balanced food intake. Although pizza and french fries are both vegetarian, it is important to eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Shim Patel, a junior psychology student, also agrees that the hardest thing being vegetarian is finding good sources of vitamins and protein.
People have many reasons to become a vegetarian. Christina Endy, a senior middle school education major, has been a vegetarian since high school.
“I am a vegetarian because of my experience working in a fast food restaurant for many years,” said Endy. “The only time I will use something from an animal is when I eat yogurt, cheese, or use butter to cook.”
Some vegetarians, like Patel, follow a meat-free diet due to moral or religious reasons.
“I am a vegetarian because my parents are vegetarians. Since my whole family are vegetarian, you can say I had no choice since our meals were all vegetarian meals. Also, I don’t like how animals were being killed for us to eat. I love animals and don’t want to do them any harm.”
Another concern switching to a meat-free diet is the lack of places to eat. Patel said, “Deciding to eat out with non-vegetarian friends is very difficult for me; I have to figure out whether or not the place has vegetarian options.”
For students looking to try out vegan or vegetarian dishes in the Owings Mills area, The Flying Avocado Café provides fresh, homemade food.
Stevenson University students interested in consuming a plant-based diet should contact a licensed physician to be sure they are getting the proper amounts of vitamins and nutrients.
Cynthia Marquez, news editor, contributed to this article.