Spring break is approaching, and that means diets and beach days are finally back in season. Speaking of diets, there are tons throughout the school. Whether your diet consists of potato chips and chocolate cake, or straight veggies, trust me when I say you are not alone. However, I decided to focus my search on people that primarily live cruelty-free lifestyles, and have diets somewhat as a result of this kind of lifestyle.
Let’s talk about vegetarians. For those that don’t know, a vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that you do this for the animals, but it could also mean you might want to live a healthier lifestyle without the possible effects of eating meat. After all, leaving meat out of your diet has been proven to have tons of benefits, including higher consumption of fiber and vitamins. I sat down with junior, Abby Smallwood and sophomore Emma Cumashot and asked them about vegetarianism.
Why Become A Vegetarian?
Smallwood has been a vegetarian for over a year and a half, and Cumashot was a vegetarian but is now a pescatarien. Starting with the big question, why vegetarianism in the first place? “Well, I watched the documentary Food Ink, and then I did some research on our effects on the environment and animals—and from a scientific standpoint it’s important to conserve, while spiritually it’s important to respect all living things.” Said Smallwood. She is a firm believer in sparing the body from harshly processed things. For Cumashot it was allergies that restrained her from eating meat. “I found out I was allergic to red meat, so I just gave up on it. But seeing how meat was processed and how the animals were treated was disgusting.” Although, Cumashot is no longer vegetarian, she too is a firm believer in treating all beings, including animals, with a sense of equality.
The Paleo Diet
How about we talk about the opposite of vegetarianism for a second? The Paleo Diet. The paleolithic diet is a diet that mimics how we used to eat way back when (like WAY back when). This is setup to imitate the diet of the cavemen. This means fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and LOTS of meat! Senior Hana Beatty, partakes in this diet. Beatty states her reasoning for switching to a paleo diet, was because of her modeling agency. “It’s definitely stereotypical, but they want everyone to be a certain size. But it’s also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle.” Beatty admitted to being vegan for “a hot second”, but says after switching to a paleo diet she feels healthier and happier.
Last but certainly not least, probably what is considered to be one of the hardest yet healthiest to follow through with, veganism. Veganism is the diet that eliminates the use and intake of all animal byproduct. So, no meat, dairy, eggs, silk, leather, fur, or wool. Junior Elena Riederer, is a fellow vegan and when it came to animal cruelty, she was probably the most passionate person I talked to. Riederer was first a vegetarian for 11 years and then recently switched to being a vegan.
Why veganism? “I switched because of things like diseases and allergies, and because I love animals.” She admitted that it was hard switching to this kind of lifestyle at such a young age, but eventually it got easier for her. When I asked her why she believes it’s so important to live a cruelty free lifestyle, she simply said “Why not? Why harm animals? Animals should be treated with equality—animal testing and the other things they do to animals is just so sad.” Riederer advises that if you do eat meat or any animal by product, make sure it comes from a sustainable organic farm.
So, anyone wanna go vegan over spring break?
For more information on animal cruelty, visit peta.org.