Oh Meat, Oh My! EHS Students Go Vegan for the Earth

October 7, 2019

With a growing awareness about the impacts of the meat and dairy industry, many Edina High School students are choosing to adopt new diets such as veganism and vegetarianism. 

Veganism is a popular lifestyle that eliminates all animal products from one’s diet. The predominant reason many people go vegan is because they find the treatment of animals in dairy and meat farms to be abusive and inhumane. “I chose to be vegan because a lot of the YouTubers I watch are vegan which is where I first learned about the harms [of the dairy and meat industry],” sophomore Izzy Paradis said.  

Another reason many students choose to go vegan is for the environmental benefits behind it. “I became vegan because I read an article about how the meat industry hurts the environment because of the methane emissions,” senior Zachary Shumway said. 

While this diet may seem restrictive, there are plenty of food options available for vegans. “A lot of restaurants can usually make your food vegan if you ask, so it’s not that hard to find stuff to eat,” Shumway said. Students who eat school lunches can also find vegan options in the cafeteria, such as salads, or pasta with marinara sauce. 

Another popular diet is vegetarianism, which eliminates meat from one’s diet. Vegetarians often have similar reasons for avoiding meat as vegans. “I’m vegetarian because my religion believes that eating meat is a form of violence. A typical meal for me is vegetable curry with roti [Indian bread] or rice,” senior Yash Shah said. 

While plant based diets have many benefits, there are potential downsides. A poorly planned vegetarian/vegan diet may result in vitamin deficiencies or unhealthy weight loss, and as a result, students who are considering making dietary changes should carefully consider the health implications beforehand. 

One alternative to going completely vegetarian or vegan is adopting a pescatarian diet, which incorporates fish and seafood as the only protein sources in a primarily vegetarian diet. Another great option is to go vegetarian one day a week, such as on “Meatless Mondays.” However, before making any dietary change, students should make sure to carefully plan out their diet so they can make a change that adequately meets their health needs.

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