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Conscious decisions on a greener lifestyle can impact more than just personal health

By Reana Palmer, ‘18

Habits are scrutinized and lifestyles are judged on a daily basis. A popular dispute in the current era has to do with the aspects of dietary health. Veganism and vegetarianism are becoming increasingly mainstream, causing many to question the overall impacts on not only the human body but the environment as well.

A vegan is someone who chooses to not consume any type of animal product or any trace of byproduct. Vegetarianism differs in that no meat products are consumed, however dairy and other animal byproducts are. These conscious decisions to flip an entire way of living takes major commitment as well as background knowledge on the topic. The people that have decided on this lifestyle have either undoubtedly done their research on the many benefits that come with it, or have a strong emotional connection to the creatures of the Earth.

A popular argument is that vegans do not receive all of the essential nutrients that omnivores obtain from meat products, so they generally have a “weaker” body. Many people believe that by going vegan you can eventually become B12 deficient, causing anemia or problems with pregnancy. B12 is an essential vitamin for a proper working immune system, upkept metabolism, as well as an overall healthy brain. It is commonly believed that this vitamin is found in animal products, which is why the vegan diet is often condemned.

The truth is that B12 is not naturally found in any type of food product, it comes from soil and the human body itself. Of course animal products contain B12 because they are being fed crops grown in dirt. On top of that, many agriculture factories inject their animals with supplements to market their products as B12 abundant, said Emily Moran Barwick on bitesizedvegan.

Another common misconception is that one cannot have a strong, muscle retaining body while being vegan. This can be argued by the many professional athletes who have chosen this dietary path. Melody Schoenfeld is a competitive powerlifter who has been a vegan for fourteen years. She can deadlift twice her own body weight and has been recognized at state and national level. According to her blog on, her strength has not suffered whatsoever and her skin, energy and blood work is always pristine.

Going vegan doesn’t only have direct benefits to the body and health, but positively impacts the entire Earth. Right now, so much mass farming is happening in order to sustain the demand for meat and dairy. Our water resources are being stripped due to the fact that it takes 441 gallons of water to produce only one pound of beef, according to a UC David study. So many third world countries are going hungry and we could so easily help them by providing even half of the food crops used to feed the animals in the meat industry. Not to mention that livestock is a human invention as well as a convenience, and because of it there is a huge influx of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere. With more CO2 being released and deforestation happening at the same time, the Earth is reaching its carbon dioxide capacity. 18% of the overall CO2 contribution comes from this mass number of livestock.

Having emotional attachments to animals is another important factor to some people when deciding to go vegan. Animals share this planet with all of us, and they just want to live life, reproduce, and mind their own business. Even when the label reads “sustainable meat” or “free range,” always be skeptical. These animals did not live life to their full potential being stacked against each other while being force fed hormones to meet a certain quota. There are many videos and documentaries that show the reality of these animals. They’re beaten with bats or tortured through elaborate farming tools and contraptions.

Even if making the full commitment to veganism/vegetarianism seems difficult, you can still choose to make conscious decisions by eating less red meat per day or cutting out dairy products. It’s a process that takes time and research, but undoubtedly has some of the best benefits out of any other lifestyle.