Many people will agree that in order to maintain a healthy body, one must adhere to a healthy diet. This can be achieved by eating balanced meals consisting of meat, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and grains. While this way of eating is very common, some individuals choose to exclude meat from their diets; becoming vegetarians. Many people argue that one must eat meat in order to sustain a nutritious diet; however, it is possible to be a healthy vegetarian if one is well informed on the lifestyle. While vegetarianism is not for everyone, many people choose the diet because it can improve ones’ health overall, reduce the inhumane treatment of animals, and help the environment by not supporting the meat industry.
One of the main arguments against being a vegetarian is that they don’t acquire enough protein in their diet, as meat is a chief source. While it is true that meat has a great deal of protein per serving, it is easy enough to obtain protein in ones’ diet through other foods such as yogurt, cheese, soy, seeds, nuts, legumes and grains. Not only does a vegetarian’s diet eliminate meat and all the fat that is found in it, but also all the growth hormones that are ingested by the animals before they are slaughtered and packaged for human consumption. In one of the largest studies to date, researchers from Loma Linda University in California report that vegetarians live longer than meat eaters. Among the group of 70,000 participants, the researchers determined that vegetarians had a 12 percent lower risk of death due to various diseases compared with non- vegetarians. Dorsey 2
While it is beneficial for ones’ health to be a vegetarian, many choose not to eat meat solely out of compassion for animals and the desire to boycott the meat industry. The conditions under which modern agriculture commonly raises cows, pigs, poultry and other animals for meat production are often cruel and inhumane. Before the animals are slaughtered, they are often denied veterinary care, exercise, sunlight, fresh air, and even the feel of grass underneath their feet. They are often kept in severely overcrowded conditions, unable to turn around or even take a single step, for their entire lives. Animals suffer and die at the rate of millions per day just so that meat eaters can have their burgers, patties, and nuggets.
When one realizes the powerful adverse impact that the meat industry is having on the environment, some become