By: Shirley Zavala
Whether your diet is being a vegan, vegetarian, or eating meat and dairy, more people are eating a plant-based diet than ever before. If you did not already know there is a number of vegetarians at school from different grade levels. A plant-based diet is the healthiest diet someone can have because it comes with many beneficial factors like reducing risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancers. A vegetarian is a person who does not eat any animal meat including fish, meanwhile a vegan does not eat any type of animal product including milk and eggs.To understand why people choose to be a vegetarian or vegan, we first have to understand what are the reasons for why people choose to go plant-based.
I went around and asked people I knew personally on their transition to a plant-based diet. Senior twin brothers Pedro and David Barreras recently turned vegetarian this year. They both found out about the vegetarian and vegan diet through their vegan sister. Pedro said that once he tried it out for a week his brother joined him and it became a challenge to not eat meat but then they started getting used to it. I then asked them what made them continue a plant-based diet.
Pedro Barreras said, “I don’t feel like I crave meat. There’s a lot of benefits to it and I’m doing it for my health. I know my brother is doing for animals but I’m doing it more for my health. The transition was relatively easy none of favorite foods contain meat.”
David Barreras said, “my sister who is vegan told me about the lifestyle and she showed me a documentary on netflix called What the Health (2017). It showed me how I’m hurting myself, animals, and the world. I would do my own research on animal practices and it made me feel sad and reminded me of Bobby my pet pig.”
Although, both brothers have different reasons for being vegetarian, they both know it’s a healthier choice for their diet. While their parents were supportive, there is other people’s whose parents and family haven’t been supportive of their decision.
Junior Angela Contreras said, “I turned vegetarian about three years ago and it started with me with watching factory farm videos that is when I was like okay I don’t want to eat this, this is carcass this is disgusting, on that day I stopped”.
Another junior Judith Moreno said “I turned vegetarian because I had sympathy for the animals being killed for their flesh, mostly ethic reasons”
Both of these juniors had something in common that not everyone in their family was supportive of their transition.
Judith said, “I came from a very cultured family they were surprised and angry about it because meat is a part of the family” Angela said “I became a junk-driven vegetarian for a whole year because my mom did not support me being vegetarian and wouldn’t buy me my necessary food”
Angela then received support for her sister to start eating a good diet and she explains how she sees her mother point of view because she was raised in a ranch and she never saw the cruel practices that is in factory farms and how inhumanely animals are killed. This touches on the subject on knowing how to transition to a healthy vegetarian diet because people who aren’t well informed tend to just eat the junk food that is easy to access. Accessibility to healthy food options especially for vegetarians and vegans is difficult every person I interviewed had something in common that it was hard for them to eat out at restaurants with their family.
Personally, I went vegetarian then transitioned to a vegan diet for ethic and health reasons. But the lack of accessibility to be able to eat out with friends made me fall back to a vegetarian diet. For the meat alternatives and dairy alternatives I go every two weeks all the way to downtown at Whole Foods. Luckily, my parents have accepted my diet and take that long trip with me downtown. If you wonder what can vegetarians and vegans eat well, just like everyone else we can enjoy hot dogs, burgers, and tacos that do not contain any meat but made with plant-based foods. If you ever have questions about a plant-based diet or being vegan, do not be afraid to ask someone or even me because there is more and more people who are becoming veggie everyday.