An intro to a plant-based lifestyle

Magan Leitermann, Editor

From a young age, one may have been subject to the consumption of animal products throughout their life from childhood to becoming an adolescent. As one can go from eating hot dogs and chicken nuggets as a child to eating pizza at parties as a pre-teen, most go through life with the knowledge of meat eating as the ‘norm,’ without even questioning it. As a society, consuming meat and dairy is the most common type of diet due to it’s long history in human lifestyle. This can lead to people’s curiosity when someone mentions their differing lifestyle choice, such as those who prefer to not eat animal product.

“I went vegan as a healthier alternative to eating meat,” junior Mary Tuzinsky said. “I researched the benefits and that influenced me even more.”

One who is vegan or vegetarian is usually questioned by peers regarding their decision to not eat meat or dairy. Yet, one would most likely not question someone eating meat or consuming dairy because it is the norm but it can be questioned just as much as a plant based lifestyle, even though one would probably be stunned by the question. As a society there seem to be things we don’t necessarily know the reason behind doing, but continue to do so, anyway, and a ‘normal’ lifestyle where one consumes animal products can be argued as one of those things.

Some decide to lead their own lifestyle, and plant-based at that, and as much as it seems distinctly different from an animal product based diet, aliening vegans and vegetarians doesn’t make those who want to pursue a transition any easier as it could be considered normal to eat strictly plant based. Switching to a plant based diet can have many reasons behind it such as ethical, health or agricultural reasons, any reason one may have can be viewed as valid.

Many worry about certain things when they transition to such a new lifestyle, since it can be seen as restrictive, people tend to worry about how they can get their protein and certain vitamins such as b12. People tend to misunderstand that everyone is in control of the foods they eat every day, so it is primarily the persons dedication that shows whether they care about being nutrient deficient or not. And with this, there is also misconception around the lack of protein in a plant based diet. Those who eat meat may not have to worry about protein, but they could be lacking in things that vegans, vegetarians or even pescatarians are sufficient in.

“I always felt hungry eating meat,” senior Derek Ford said. “I thought that if I had a healthier, controlled diet I’d feel better physically and mentally and I actually do.”

People who follow plant based diets are also sometimes criticized for not being able to eat as wide of a variety of foods as those who eat normalized diets but in most cases realistically, that can be proven false. The stigma around those who eat plant based is usually that they are stingy and constantly check food labels. They can also be viewed as not being able to ‘eat anything’ yet this is ironic because drastically changing a diet forces individuals to seek out different options and for lots of people these options end up being good if they are seeking out good resources.

But it should be noted that just because someone changes their diet, does not mean they will end up being healthier than someone who does eat meat and dairy.

It is all in the hands of the person who is changing their lifestyle, there is a balance in everything whether one is plant based or not.

Some take this as a bigger deal to others, as food is something that people bond over around the holidays and sometimes parents can see it as a big deal if their child wants to change their diet. Some see food as ones choice, but there are some parents who would not allow it for whatever reason they may have, it usually is because the difference is bothersome and making special food for their child can be seen as too much extra work. There are ways to get around this, if ones parent disapproves they can make their own lunches for school and eat plant based in their own environment and not their household. But adolescents wanting to change their lifestyles can be seen as important to lots of people because it opens up people’s minds about health and pushing towards a cleaner environment in general.

“There are many studies that show the benefits of plant based diets,” vegan parent Michelle Selengowski said. “I personally get very excited when I see people trying to incorporate more plant based foods into their diet. As long as an individual eats a well-balanced diet and makes sure that they are meeting all the nutritional needs, no one should disapprove.”

If parents were more open to children embracing a plant based diet, things in the world could start to drastically change over a period of time. Not only does being plant based push towards a healthier lifestyle, but it also helps the environment in many ways and if more people are educated on how the animal industry is primarily causing harm to animals, the world and our bodies at the rate it’s moving, it will be most clearly beneficial to everyone in the long run.