Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Why I went vegan

Going vegan has many benefits

(Collegian File Photo)

(Collegian File Photo)

By Cassie McGrath, Collegian columnist

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Everyone that knows a vegan, knows that person is a vegan. As a vegan, it is something that I cannot help discussing. As a student at the University of Massachusetts, I am unbelievably lucky to have such incredible food. However, when I go to the pasta bar and find that I cannot have plain spaghetti, even though the marinara sauce is vegan, I cannot help but begin to challenge the way that people eat.

The three most common reasons for going vegan are a desire to eat healthier, a consideration for the lives of animals and to help create a more sustainable environment. If people were more aware of just how terrible eating meat is for us and for the planet, they would not feel as casual about eating flesh as they do.

Sustaining our planet becomes a greater issue with each passing day. Consuming a plant-based diet is a great way to do your part in creating a healthier environment. According to The Vegan Society, “A plant-based diet requires only one third of the land needed to support a meat and dairy diet.” If this fact doesn’t scare you, consider that in 2009, a study found that 80 percent of deforestation in the Amazon could be linked to cattle ranching. I could sit here all day and list all of the problems that eating an animal-based diet can cause, but they are public knowledge. Cutting back, even a little bit, could play a role in reducing environment degradation. The one thing that we all have in common is this planet. It is our job to save it before it is too late.

Somewhere along the way, we were all convinced that eating animals is ethical. We all turned a blind eye to animal cruelty and decided that as long as we did not see it, the slaughterhouses did not exist. Factory farmers put the term “free range” on their products in an effort to ease our minds. We picture the animals running happily around a field before they are murdered and this somehow makes us feel better about eating them. The fact of the matter is that when you see the label, “free range” only means that the animals were not kept in cages. Instead, the animals were cramped up in a factory with no room to do anything but wait to be killed. If people knew how meat got from the farm to their plate, I wonder how many people would still eat meat. I recently had a conversation with a friend about the production of honey where she casually asserted that it was okay because no bees were hurt or died in the process. My jaw dropped. Of course bees are hurt during the process. Our imaginations have created a nice story where the bees and the farmers are friends, but the truth is that their only real concern is making money. We must break this illusion.

The hardest part of going vegan is the inconvenience. Seeing that it is rare diet choice, going out to dinner with friends or even finding a filling meal in the dining hall can be quite difficult. However, once you find a healthy meal, you will feel more fulfilled than ever. Ask yourself, have you ever felt good after eating greasy pizza and salty french fries? I know that I haven’t. Being vegan forces you to eat healthier because almost all unhealthy foods have animal based products in them. I cannot snack on Cheezits, so I eat an apple instead. Studies show that eating animal products can cause diabetes, high blood pressure and even cancer. I am not willing to sacrifice my health just for convenience. Famous athletes, such as Kyrie Irving, are taking advantage of the health benefits that come with being vegan. Irving attributes his high energy to his diet and his coaches agree with him.

Now, I must say that going vegan is not a feasible option for everyone. However, I challenge you to consider some of the consequences of having an animal-based diet. Do your part to help the planet. Although it is hard to manage transitioning to a vegan diet, it is only going to get harder. Next time you eat a meal, try substituting your mac and cheese for broccoli or cauliflower. This planet belongs to us all. Plants, animals and humans alike. Do not be okay with eating animals that were abused. Stand up against factory farmers that kill male chicks because they are “useless.” Each life has a purpose. A plant-based diet can bring you to the next level in your life—if you give it a chance.

 

Cassie McGrath is Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

5 Comments

5 Responses to “Why I went vegan”

  1. NITZAKHON on February 14th, 2018 8:58 am

    We’re evolved to be omnivorous; apparently you are a science denier.

  2. VeganSteak on February 14th, 2018 1:30 pm

    I thought the only reason women go vegan is to become utterly unattractive/unattracted to men.

  3. John aimo on February 14th, 2018 8:13 pm

    Why doesn’t the Daily Collegian show how many people read articles or have an option to share on social media?

    How many people read this fascinating op-ed piece? 10?

  4. RJM on February 16th, 2018 1:00 pm

    totally agree – great article and there should be a visual counter for number of reads

  5. Alfred P. McGrath on February 16th, 2018 3:50 pm

    Wonderful article. I recently watched an Martha Steward baking show on TV where she substituted vegetables for meat. She too expressed concerns about the negative effect of a meat based diet on our environment and general health.The meals she prepared actually looked very appetizing.
    ,

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