Illustration by Diego Torres
According to Vegetarian Times, 7.3 million people in the United States choose not to consume meat, and 1.6 million choose not to use or consume any animal products at all. These animal products can include silk, certain makeup brands, honey, and marshmallows. The vegan lifestyle is more than what meats the eye. After adjusting to the vegetarian lifestyle, people often become vegan because they gain a greater awareness of what they buy and consume.
“Living these lifestyles can be somewhat stressful, especially when you first switch,” senior and vegan, McKenna Rowley said. “Obviously it affects my everyday life because I have to be careful about what I’m eating or making sure I’m not going to an event that would exploit animals. [I’ll be asked] “Why aren’t you going to the aquarium? Why aren’t you going to the zoo? […] those are the situations where it might be harder to say no.”
Junior Kiara Romero, a vegetarian who is attempting to transition over to a vegan lifestyle. said, “Companies will try to say, ‘Hey, we’re cruelty-free.’ But the company they are owned by is not […]whatever money they receive still funds that.”
“There are so many things that we don’t realize are made from animal products, or treat animals unfairly,” said Rowley expressed her feelings towards vegetarianism by saying, “I think it depends on the person, for me, When I started out being a vegetarian my mindset was, I don’t want animals to suffer, but I think that is the flaw with vegetarianism– you’re still contributing to the industry.”
Another take Vegetarianism that might not be the most popular to the vegan/vegetarian crowd, supporting everyone in eating what they want if it keeps them healthy. Animals were put on this earth to help us, that why there is a wide variety of uses for every animal. Do most wish the animals were treated differently while they are alive and during slaughter? Absolutely. Does this keep people from eating meat? Not necessarily. Although many very fascinated and interested in these lifestyles and think the health aspect of each of them is incredible.
I challenged 5 of my friends to try the vegetarian diet for 1 week. After doing this challenge, Junior, Mason Bingham said, “I felt weaker doing this challenge, I broke closer to the end of the week because my body was just lacking protein.”
I also asked my friends if doing this challenge made them more conscious of what they were putting in their bodies and if it would ever persuade them to transition to the vegetarian diet.
Senior, Kimby Jackson said, “This made me aware of how much meat I consume, which is actually less than I expected.”
Romero said, “People will say “everyone has to be vegetarian or vegan” but that’s not necessarily true, I just choose to try and be an example and educate people, I’m not gonna get mad if they’re not, I’m just gonna tell them why I do what I do.”