I'm Going Vegan Because I Don't Want To Be A Hypocrite Any Longer

I'm Going Vegan Because I Don't Want To Be A Hypocrite Any Longer

The dairy industry is just as bad as the meat industry.

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In was Christmas Day, 2012, and my family was in the midst of a tour of Europe when, after being served rabbit covered in a red sauce that looked eerily like blood, I decided to become a vegetarian.

I had wanted to become a vegetarian for months out of concern for animal welfare. More than 2,500 research studies conducted by scientists have shown that nonhuman animals are sentient beings. Mammals, birds, and others feel a range of emotions, from joy to sadness to fear to jealousy to grief. Farm animals like chickens, cows, and pigs feel empathy. Nonhuman animals are sentient beings, can feel suffering, and like humans, have an interest in avoiding suffering. And like the moral philosopher, Peter Singer, I think those interests should be respected. The more I learned about the factory farm system where meat came from, the more horrified I became. I didn't want to support a system that caused so much suffering for so many sentient beings.

The catalyst for my diet change was the aforementioned rabbit. From that day on, I never purposely ate meat again. At first, it was incredibly challenging. Meat had been a staple of my diet for my entire life and it was hard to not be able to enjoy the foods I used to love. There were no more sausage pizzas or chicken sandwiches for me. I also faced ridicule and discouragement from my friends and family, the people closest to me. My parents thought it was just a phase and my so-called friends failed to understand the rationale behind my sudden choice. Everyone I knew kept telling me to give up being vegetarian and just eat meat. But in my heart, I knew I couldn't.

I had several people tell me that killing animals for food was justified because animals exist for the benefit of humans. But such a view, while having a biblical basis in the Book of Genesis, seems to me to be a quite arrogant assertion, and one that contradicts scientific evidence. Animals were not created by God for the benefit of humans. Humans evolved from animals. In the words of Alice Walker, "The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women were created for men." They are living, sentient beings in their own right and it is unjust for us to cause them so much suffering just for our own selfishness and greed for food that tastes good.

I've been vegetarian for 6 years now, and it's one of the things about me that I'm proudest of. I wasn't raised in a vegetarian family; this was a decision I chose to make. I formed different beliefs from my parents, from my friends, and basically from society as a whole and I took those beliefs and turned them into action, determined to live a life in harmony with my ideals. I made a sacrifice for a cause bigger than myself. And yet I was still a hypocrite. Because while claiming to stand against the oppression and abuse of animals, I was still consuming eggs and dairy, products which still involve the suffering of animals within the factory farm system.

Despite popular belief to the contrary, the production of milk and eggs involves killing animals. Once their production declines, dairy cows and egg-laying hens are slaughtered. The egg industry kills male chicks through gassing, crushing, and suffocating. Like other mammals, cows only produce milk for their young. So they are constantly artificially impregnated to produce milk and are separated from their calves despite already forming a maternal bond. Their male calves, a byproduct of the dairy industry, are slaughtered shortly after being born and turned into veal. Chickens suffer great emotional distress crammed together battery wire cages, and their beaks have to be seared off because they start obsessively pecking each other.

The facts show that the dairy industry is just as bad as the meat industry. Animals are still experiencing tremendous suffering for the sake of human greed. And that is not something I can tolerate or accept, not something I can ignore any longer. In the words of Angela Davis, "I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am working to change the things I cannot accept." Sorry Mom and Dad, but I'm going vegan.

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The Unspoken Dangers of 'Mukbang' Culture

Ever wondered why you can't stop clicking on these addictive, self-made eating shows?

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Unless you've been living under a rock for the past five years, you've probably heard of the internet trend commonly referred to as a mukbang, or "eating show." These self-produced video clips typically involve one hungry individual, their filming device, and an obscene amount of delicious foods.

Though these broadcasts originated all the way from South Korea (hence the foreign vocabulary), the growing popularity of eating videos has taken the internet by storm. Nowadays as you scroll through YouTube, you'll find an outrageous amount of uploads with titles like "10,000 CALORIE PASTA MUKBANG," "EATING EVERYTHING ON THE MCDONALD'S MENU," or "THE ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE CHALLENGE."

Popular 'mukbangers' such as Peggie Neo, Megan McCullom, and Steven Sushi have made a sizable profit off of their viral eating shows, some collecting tens of thousands of dollars in revenue.

So, what's the big deal you say? You order a large quantity of food, indulge in said food, film yourself completing this menial task, and upload to the internet for money and fame. On the outside, this may seem like a luxurious lifestyle, but behind the camera lens sits an individual battling their own demons and influencing the world of social media to partake in their harmful behaviors.

Mukbanger Livia Adams ("Alwayshungry" on YouTube) has opened up about her unhealthy relationship with food in the past, praising herself for fasting several hours in order to justify her over-indulgence on camera.

Similarly, internet sensation Trisha Paytas claims to diet and starve herself for weeks just to be able to satisfy her subscribers with epic mukbangs, which are essentially binges.

In all actuality, these social media celebrities are negatively impacting (and possibly triggering) vulnerable viewers.

Many fans only see the highlight reel of YouTubers shoveling bowls of cereal or boxes of doughnuts into their mouths, yet remain completely unaware of what truly goes on behind-the-scenes. Messages saying:

"I'm on a diet... watching this is giving me some sort of satisfaction, like as tho I ate, you know?"
"I watch these videos because I know I physically can't afford to eat like this because I gain weight too easily."
"When having an eating disorder, watching Trisha's mukbangs is sorta comforting in a way omg"

flood the comments sections of Paytas' videos. Quite obviously, fans young and old are heavily influenced by this content and continue to support these creators to fulfill a self-destructive need.

Additionally, famous mukbang accounts never seem to include the painful after-effects of their ginormous feasts in videos. Fitness model Stephanie Buttermore flaunts her slim physique just days after consuming over 10,000 calories for a challenge, giving the impression that her previous overindulgence had no repercussions on her health whatsoever. Because Buttermore is a trained, athletic young woman, she was able to quickly bounce back after a series of workouts and low-calorie meals.

On the contrary, if a sedentary woman of about the same age were to attempt this challenge, she would most likely feel sluggish, irritable, bloated, stomach discomfort, and even vomitous post challenge. Eating regularly like this could lead to bigger issues such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. Unfortunately, because topics like these aren't glamorous and attractive to subscribers, mukbangers often edit them out.

Now don't get me wrong. Though not everyone who uploads a mukbang to the internet has an eating disorder or an evil agenda, they have to realize the kind of audience they're appealing to. This generation is more susceptible than ever to emulate the actions and words of their favorite celebrities. Young boys and girls look up to successful adults, and influencers should be remembered for the change they inspired, not the disease they encouraged.

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It’s Not The Super Bowl Unless You EAT Like YOU'RE Playing

I mean, I'm not wrong. I know I ate like they could have "put me in, coach."

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Step aside, Thanksgiving, there's a new holiday in town and it's called the Super Bowl. I had no idea until the other day that more calories are consumed during the Super Bowl, but if you really think about it, it kind of makes sense.

It's a time in American history, or at least that's how serious it seems to be, where every team across the nation has battled each other, down to the last two. As these extremely fit individuals run around on the screen, we're there on the other end just stuff, stuff, stuffing our faces.

It's like Super Bowl party hosts everywhere are competing for the best buffalo chicken dip, the best wings, the best beer stash, or who can arrange the best cheese platter. There's nothing like a Super Bowl party, or even better, being invited to multiple Super Bowl parties.

Let's admit, this year's Super Bowl was just downright boring, and I actually found myself eating so much more than usual. But why?

Was it because Goff just couldn't connect with any of his fellow teammates, or that their kicker just couldn't connect his kick for that last-stitch effort? Or maybe the fact that I knew I'd be getting numerous calls, texts, and Facebook posts from my mom congratulating Tom Brady on yet… another Super Bowl.

I always questioned why she did that, too, because I'm not a Patriots fan. I respect what they've created for themselves, but I've never been a fan. So, the only other explanation is to congratulate me on all of the food I stuffed my face with that day. Either way, it's so odd that no one really catches on to the amount of food they've consumed during the Super Bowl.

I know one thing is for sure, next year's Super Bowl is going to be a little different.

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