New Year’s Resolution: Go Veg, Maybe?

As another new year passes by, we try to feel good about ourselves by compiling a list of New Year resolutions. While we aspire to travel to ten different countries and go on twenty adventures with our best friends, we are often too excited to take something less fun, but more important, into con-
sideration: our health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 15% of Americans meet the advised daily fruit and vegetable targets.

While nonvegetarian diets should not be opposed prejudicially, The Physicians Committee, a non-
profit organization comprised of more than 12,000 physicians, suggests that a possible solution to nutrient deficiency is a shift in our dietary habits, because vegetarianism benefits our health in many ways. Firstly, vegetarianism lowers the risk of various diseases, ranging from coronary diseases to cancers. A vegetarian diet can be healthier because of the reduced or eliminated intake of animal fat and cholesterol, which can block or narrow the human artery, and thus cause a heart attack or stroke. On the other hand, while the direct relationship between vegetarianism and longevity has not been evidently affirmed, the effect of a vegetarian diet on controlling body weight is undeniable. Vegetarians are also biologically more energetic in general because excessive lipids from meat tend to stay in the bloodstream and hinder both blood and oxygen circulation.

Beyond physiology, vegetarianism is also more responsible for our planet. Eating vegetarian diminishes pollution, as the US Environmental Protection Agency found that the meat industry has caused pollution in over 173,000 miles of rivers and streams. Vegetarianism also helps other good causes, including famine reduction and farmed animal protection — as David Pimentel, a Cornell professor of ecology, reveals that “if all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million.”

Making a change in our diet can be challenging, but the modification can be gradual. Five com-
mon types of vegetarians are vegans, lactovegetarians, lactoovo vegetarians, pescatarians and flexitarians. As many people may already know, vegans practice the most restrictive vegetarian diet by refusing not only flesh, but also eggs and all dairy products. Lactovegetarians and lactoovo vegetarians are similar in that both consume dairy products, but the latter also consume eggs. A pescatarian diet is the loosest vegetarian diet. Pescatarians are sometimes not considered to be legitimate vegetarians because of their consumption of seafood, dairy products and eggs. Last, but not least, the term flexitarian itself implies a more flexible vegetarian diet. Flexitarians are basically lactoovo vegetarians, but they consume meat on occasion.

No matter which kind, vegetarians at Seattle Central are locally accommodated. Many restaurants in our community have some vegetarian items on their menus. In addition, Plum Bistro and High-line are two nearby vegan restaurants that newbies to a vegetarian or vegan diet may be excited to try. There is no such thing as a perfect diet, but at least vegetarianism can be a new option to those who are bored of their regular diets.

By Tracy Lam

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