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Opinion

Vegetarian diet shows health benefits

Melissa Thorud

April 17, 2019

Switching to a plant based diet and embracing a vegetarian lifestyle can be a huge transition. However, for me, making this switch has come with several benefits. It was originally a hard decision for many reasons. It meant giving up some of my favorite food, my body went through a tremendous change, and at first it was hard to find new alternatives to getting the right amount of nutrients that my body needed. Still, all these challenges brought so many benefits.

Before making the switch I did extensive research on the benefits of vegetarianism. I watched documentaries and read articles before I decided that I wanted to try a plant based diet. When researching, I found that eating a plant based diet can help with many health issues, both physical and mental.

Another reason I wanted to make this transition was the idea that, besides having major benefits for my own well being, this type of lifestyle can benefit so many others as well. By cutting out most animal products from my diet, I am helping the overall welfare of animals and I am making an environmentally conscious choice. I believe that with a plant based diet, I am helping to improve my quality of life as well as improving the lives of others.

Over the years, vegetarianism has become a more widely accepted and used lifestyle. There are more studies that are available on the topic discussing the many benefits of transitioning. Many people use a plant based lifestyle as a diet to improve their health and it is used by many athletes as well. I have found that my sleep, mental and physical health, and overall energy has improved with choosing to eliminate animal products from my diet.

Eating a plant based diet has allowed me to eat healthier and enjoy a variety of new foods as well. Cutting meat out of my everyday diet was much easier than it sounds and I feel healthier overall because of it. Some studies have shown that eating meat can contribute and lead to several chronic diseases, and by switching to an alternative plant based diet these diseases can be reversed. When doing research and making the decision to switch my lifestyle, this really stood out to me. When first making the switch, finding new foods and getting the right amount of nutrition was somewhat difficult. I have since discovered many new appealing alternatives to my favorite foods while also shopping on a budget.

When making the decision to switch and doing my research, the point of helping other animals came up several times. The idea that the mass consumption of meat in the United States means the mass destruction of animals was something that stayed with me. Knowing that by eating meat and other animal products, I was promoting killing other animals for my own benefit and this was something that did not sit well with me personally.

Being a vegetarian has brought me many benefits and making the switch has been one of the best decisions I have made. By continuing to improve my health from several aspects, I am also promoting a lifestyle that shows compassion. Although eating a plant based diet might not be for everyone, however, I have peace of mind knowing that I am choosing healthy alternatives as well as improving the lives of others.

Melissa Thorud is editor of the <em>Student Voice</em>.