A debate on diet

FINAL VEG for realHow do you feel about mistreatment of animals in the food industry?

K: I agree there is certainly serious mistreatment of animals in the food industry today, however it doesn’t really concern me. I believe animals like cows, chicken, and pigs aren’t as conscious as we are as humans. Therefore the fact they are slaughtered and manipulated to provide food and nutrition to humans does not bother me. The overall well being of the human race is a bigger concern to me than the comfort of animals.

J: Anyone with access to the internet or a television has seen something about the cruelty involved in mass farming. Delving a little deeper, the horrors that lie just beneath the surface of that annoying PETA email in your spam folder are very real and troubling. Personally, after educating myself on the issue, I decided to do what I could to lessen my contribution to these unfortunate occurrences.  I believe that ignoring the problem just because it is convenient to do so is irresponsible and selfish. Some people refuse to even acknowledge that there is a problem, which is completely foolish in my opinion because the evidence is right in front of us. Animals are sentient beings just like humans, and deserve so much more than the way they are treated in the food industry.

Comment on the health benefits of omnivorous vs herbivorous diets.

K: There is no arguing meat is an excellent source of protein. Chicken breast is a simple and accessible source of protein that is great in terms of offering nutrients your body needs. Red meat and pork products also pack hefty amounts of protein, though these are best eaten in moderation. Fish such as salmon and tuna are low in fat and offer other vitamins and nutrients on top of protein. Eating meat also makes for a more diverse diet, which often times equates to a healthier diet. I do feel efforts should be made to purchase organic, GMO free, and free range meats. They are void of any unnatural substances and better for your body to ingest.

J: A whole new world of food appears when you try eating meals minus meat. There are creative ways to dine that might not have been discovered otherwise, and these flavorful additions are more than enough to make up for what you miss in terms of a red meat burger or chicken nuggets for example. With so many cruelty-free alternatives, it isn’t very hard to make the switch when you consider them. When it comes to nutrition, vegetarians and vegans tend to be healthier than their counterparts, so long as they’re diligent about eating a varied and healthy diet. Consuming lots of different fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains without  the addition of artery-clogging red meat has obvious benefits. That being said, anyone who doesn’t make sure they have good eating habits is at risk for complications, vegan, vegetarian, or otherwise. Potato chips might be vegetarian, but anything in excess can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and a whole host of other problems.

Why do you you think veganism/vegetarianism is so popular as of late?

K: The media has perpetuated the embrace of meat free lifestyles. In the past five years an insane amount of documentaries have been released portraying the food industry in a negative light. People are now more aware of the health risks that come with eating certain processed meats and the mistreatment of animals. I also think a large portion of the population today is concerned with losing weight. They think omitting meat from their diet will help them shed pounds quickly, though often this isn’t the case. There’s also cases in which people adopt the lifestyle to seem unique or trendy. Which I find extremely stupid. Often times they aren’t even fully aware of what being vegetarian or vegan actually entails.

J: I think plant based diets are being adopted by so many people because the media has been highlighting all of the good things about them, and debunking the myths they are typically associated with. For instance, a common misconception about not eating meat is that such a decision will result in a protein deficiency but that simply is not the case. The only difference in how vegans and vegetarians get their protein is that they go straight to the source just like the grazing animals meat eaters consume do, deriving the nutrient from plants themselves instead.  Any well informed veggie buff could tell you this, but the problem with this fad is that many of the followers aren’t in it for the right reasons. Subscribing to an idea or belief just because it is considered cool for a brief time isn’t genuine and if anyone is taking on such a drastic lifestyle change for these reasons, they should probably rethink it.

Would you ever consider giving up meat/consuming meat again?

K: Honestly, that’s not something I can perceive happening. I love chicken wings way too much. Meat is such a prominent part of my everyday diet. I love the taste of it and I have no personal reasons not to eat it.

J: Not anytime soon. I can’t foresee the future, or how I’ll feel in the next few years but for now I plan on sticking firmly to my decision. I was never a huge fan of meat in the first place, and now that I have a moral conviction to avoid it I don’t see any reason to revert back to my old eating habits!

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