More vegans raise forks

photo by chloe murdock

Originally published in 2015 December issue of The Beacon magazine for Olentangy High School

VEGAN: A person who chooses to not eat meat or other animal products (dairy, eggs) because of health and/or moral and environmental reasons. Many vegans don’t wear leather under similar logic. Six percent of the U.S. population is vegan, according to the 2015 Nutrition Business Journal Food Tribes Reporta number which has tripled in recent years.

   For the veg-curious, science teacher and vegan-leaning vegetarian Julie Pinney advises to, “take small steps at a time or you’ll end up crash dieting. Stick to white meat, then eventually wean yourself off.”

   Consult a nutritionist to avoid protein deficiency and other health problems before becoming vegan.

VEGETARIAN WITH VEGAN TENDENCIES: “I don’t drink milk. I don’t eat yogurt. Cheese is probably the only reason I don’t consider myself a full vegan.” Science teacher Julie Pinney

DANGERS: “I have to be careful about how much protein I get,” Pinney said.

   Pinney relies on protein-packed nuts, hummus and organic burritos. Going out to eat can also be a challenge, but Pinney can always count on Mediterranean restaurants like Greek Express on Polaris.

VEGETARIAN: “I became a vegetarian because it’s healthier, not because of animal cruelty. I didn’t eat much meat anyway.” Gwendolyn Kunz ‘17

DANGERS: Protein is the greatest concern. Kunz found forms of protein in foods like bean burgers and tofu, but the time and money needed to discover these new foods is sometimes too great a cost.

   “It’s too much effort,” Alyssa K. ‘18 said.

PESCATARIAN: A person who does not eat meat, but relies on seafood as a primary source of protein.

DANGERS: Some fish have high amounts of mercury and other chemicals, which pose health risks to consumers. Overfishing is another environmental concern. But when sourced responsibly, fish can be a great source of omega-3s as well as protein.

MEAT EATER: “Meat tastes good. If it was easier to be a vegan or vegetarian, I’d do it.” Faiz Jafri ‘17

DANGERS: The World Health Organization (WHO) deemed processed meat an “established carcinogen” and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended a “movement toward less resource-intensive diets” grounded in plants, grains and legumes rather than meat.

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