The meat industry is detrimental to both animals and society

I Will Not Participate In A Process That Kills 3 Billion Animals Per Day

Why everyone should consider the option of vegetarianism

Emi
Emi
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I will never eat meat again.

It has been over five years since I last sat down at a restaurant and ordered a hamburger, five years since I helped my dad grill hotdogs on our back porch, five years since I crafted my favorite sandwich combination of turkey with pickled relish and mustard. Five years later, I do not miss any of these things. I never envy my relatives who dig into the festive ham at Thanksgiving, nor do I stay up late at night simply dreaming of the crunch of buttery crab legs.

I will emphasize now that I do not appreciate people who shove their ideologies down other's throats. I have never been one to preach my values to others and judge those who do not think exactly the same way as me. I understand and appreciate that meat can be vital to surviving for certain individuals, while simultaneously acknowledging that for many of us (especially in the developed world), meat is by no means necessary to live. I am still very much alive and highly active, and yet meat has been absent from my diet for years.

Here are some of the reasons I personally have made the commitment to a vegetarian lifestyle (and why I encourage others to at least give it a chance):

Including both land and sea creatures, around 3 billion animals are killed every day. 3 billion every single day. This number is devastating for a variety of reasons. First, the treatment of these slaughtered animals is abhorrent. Simply watch one of the countless documentaries that investigate factory farming and you will be exposed to gruesome images of caged pigs being force-fed steroids until reaching 300 pounds and being slaughtered, of young calves being separated from their mothers at birth to be killed and sold as veal, of goats being forcibly impregnated in order to produce milk. The images and stories are out there, and they are grotesque.

Animals are sentient beings who feel pain. There is documentation of commercial farmers slaughtering sheep by shackling their hind leg and raising it off the ground, only to cut the sheep from their stomach to throat and letting the animal bleed to death (often the animal is conscious). This is horrifying, I know, but it is also important. One can read something like this, be disgusted, but move on with their day and keep consuming meat. Or, one can research factory farming and discover the deplorable inhumanity in current practices and decide to take action by refraining from contributing to such a torturous process.

Another reason the 3 billion number is devastating is because of the negative impact factory farming and the mass production of meat has on the environment. The meat industry has a detrimental impact on energy consumption, fertilizer and pesticide application, water usage, waste production, and soil quality. For example, people who eat beef (just beef alone) use 160 times more land, water, and fuel resources for their diet in comparison to a plant-based one. That's a huge gap in resources that could be spent elsewhere. Additionally, as the world population continues to expand, it is increasingly harder to feed the 805 million people suffering from chronic hunger. Why, then, is 70 percent of grain in America alone fed to farm animals instead of people? Cattle by themselves consume the same amount of food that could feed 8.7 billion people. Think of what an impact a plant-based diet could have on both the environment and world hunger.

Finally, 3 billion animals killed per day is not only a detriment to animals, but it is harmful to the health of humans as well. In contrast, a vegetarian diet offers multiple health benefits including a decreased chance of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. I have never felt more healthy or energized since switching to a plant-based diet.

3 billion animals killed per day is a staggering number. The suffering animals endure in factory farms is atrocious. The impact of the meat industry is devastating to the environment and resources are allocated improperly. Meat has a negative impact on health. The reasons to become a vegetarian are endless. But mostly, the number of animals killed per day is heart-breaking.

But it is one that can change.

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ASU Students Push For A Healthier Dining Hall To Counter 'Freshman 15' Fears

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap.

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Arizona State University students are pushing for change within the downtown Phoenix dining hall as they strive to avoid the infamous freshman 15.

The downtown Phoenix campus offers fewer dining options than the Tempe campus and has a less appetizing dining hall. The freshman 15 is a common scare among students living in the dorms, who are often freshman.

The freshman 15 is defined as a student who gains 15 pounds or more in their first year of college. Studies prove the average freshman does not exercise the right amount, is sleep deprived, has a poor diet, increases their stress level, alcohol consumption, and fatty food intake, which is most likely causing their weight gain.

Lauren Hernandez

Daniella Rudoy, a journalism major and fitness instructor at the SDFC, relived her freshman year as she provided tips for incoming freshman.

"There are a lot of workouts you can do in your dorm room as long as you have access to YouTube or a floor. You can go on a run, a walk, or do exercises that do not require equipment," Rudoy said in support of college fitness.

Rudoy said that mental health, fitness, and nutrition all correlate with one another.

"I follow the saying abs are made in the kitchen. So if you are working out day and night, but eating a giant pizza and chicken wings with a pack of beer when you come home you aren't doing yourself much good," Rudoy said.

Lauren Hernandez

The main cause for weight gain is increased alcohol consumption. 80 percent of college students drink and this includes binge-drinking, which is unhealthy for many reasons.

Students who do not drink are most likely gaining weight because of their exposure to an all-you-can-eat dining hall. The downtown Phoenix campus offers a salad bar as their only consistent healthy option for students, therefore students are left eating hamburgers, fries, and pizza.

"I haven't been to the dining hall this semester. Last semester, I went because I had no other options. I am a vegetarian and the dining hall is not accommodating to those with allergies or food restrictions. I find it very difficult to find vegetarian options," Lexi Varrato, a journalism major said.

Lauren Hernandez

Varrato explained that she believes the freshman 15 is "100% real" and that incoming freshmen should research their meal plans and ask their school how their dietary restrictions will be accommodated before purchasing a non-refundable meal plan.

Megan Tretter, a nursing major at Seattle University emphasized that not every dining hall is like ASU's and that the freshman 15 is "definitely not a problem" at her school.

"I always eat healthy at my dining hall. There are a lot of good and healthy options at Seattle University. I usually go to the smoothie line in the morning, have a salad for lunch, and make myself an acai bowl after work with avocado toast in our floor's kitchen," Tretter said in support of her school's strive for healthy options.

College students across the United States have healthier dining options than ASU, but many colleges still face the same problems that students here are facing.

Tara Shultz, a journalism major at ASU believes she has avoided the "very real" freshman 15 by living at home.

"I believe the freshman 15 targets dorm residence and first-year students who do not live at home as they do not have their parents as a guide and are forced to eat at a dining hall that only serves fatty foods," Shultz emphasized.

Lauren Hernandez

The downtown Phoenix campus offers students access to the SDFC, YMCA, and Taylor Place gym, where students can take group fitness classes, run on a track, play basketball, or swim. Alternative options for students are purchasing a membership at Orangetheory or EOS Fitness.

Most students agreed with journalism major Vanessa Gonzalez that they have little time to work out due to their workload, but many students like Varrato, Tretter, and Rudoy explained that they try to work out every day as it is a stress reliever and it enriches their mental health.

Steve Fiorentino, the owner of Powered Up Nutrition encourages college students to learn what they are putting in their bodies.

"I think it starts with nutrition. Students believe they can outwork a bad diet and I believe that is their number one mistake. My advice is to stop eating fast foods and start eating whole and healthy foods along with supplements," Fiorentino stated.

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap. The campus dining hall is not always the reason to blame as students have the option to decrease their meal plans, become active, and make healthy choices!

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11 Mouthwatering, Realistic Vegan Meals At Your Favorite Chain Restaurants

You don't have to give up your vegan lifestyle in order to eat out!

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Sometimes it's even greater to find a restaurant that is both vegan and meat-friendly than it is to find a vegan restaurant. It can be so tough to find a place that will have options for everyone. This is why I decided to make an easy guide of eleven different restaurants that anyone can order vegan.

1. Veggie skillet at Denny's

If you're opting for a healthier option, try any of the breakfast skillets at Denny's without the eggs and cheese. You'll have a blend of sautéed vegetables and seasoned red-skinned potatoes. Delicious and healthy? What a win!

2. So much vegan food at Taco Bell

Taco Bell has so many great options for vegans — like, literally. This fast-food chain has a variety of sides that are vegan—including the cinnamon twists, chips and guacamole, cilantro rice, black or refried beans, and potatoes. My personal favorite is the Bean Burrito "fresco style." Several of Taco Bell's other dishes can be veganized simply by omitting a few ingredients or asking for it "fresco style."

3. Plant-based bowl, burrito, or tacos at Chipotle

As someone who has worked at Chipotle for almost a year now, I can tell you that this is my favorite vegan fast food without a doubt. Chipotle offers Sofritas — organic tofu braised with peppers and spices — which you can order in a bowl, burrito, taco, or salad. You have the option of black or pinto beans and brown or white rice. Plus, the restaurant has a great selection of vegan toppings, including mixed fajita veggies, salsas, lettuce, and guacamole.

4. Zucchini Spicy Peanut Saute with Tofu at Noodles & Company

The tofu is crispy (not squishy), while the sauce is a mixture of sweet and spicy without being too much of either. I order the small serving and its still a very generous serving. Also, add Sriracha on top for extra spice.

5. Pizza at Papa Johns

The sauce and original hand-tossed dough are vegan, so go ahead and order your veggie pizza as usual — but without cheese. Go to town on the veggie toppings, and get extra garlic dipping sauce which is also vegan.

BONUS: For Illinois State University students, make sure to apply 'ISU40' to your order to save money!

6. Veggie wrap at Subway

Subway's veggie wrap without cheese and mayo is delicious.

Pro tip: Take your Subway game to the next level by adding your own vegan toppings — Tofurky, vegan mayo, and Daiya cheese.

7. Bagels at Einstein Bros. Bagels

Now with vegan cream cheese — and seventy percent of the menu containing dairy-free bagel options — this is a great breakfast option. On the side, you can get a fruit cup and kettle chips.

8. Lentil quinoa bowl at Panera

This plant-based bowl has quinoa, lentils, brown rice, and kale in a soy broth. Top it off with a Green Passion or Blueberry Pomegranate Power Smoothie and you can make a protein-packed meal.

9. Bread sticks and pasta at Olive Garden

The best things in life are free and vegan. Case in point: OLIVE GARDEN'S BREADSTICKS. The "butter" on the breadsticks isn't actually butter — it's soy. Get breadsticks with the many different pasta options available, such as whole wheat linguine with marinara sauce and broccoli. This also comes with free unlimited salad or minestrone soup. The best part about being vegan here is choosing which type of pasta to order.

10.  Vegan pizza at Blaze

Unlike Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, and Papa Johns — which all offers vegan dough and sauce — Blaze offers vegan cheese! All the crusts here are vegan, and there is a huge variety of vegetables. You can also get a BBQ drizzle on top.

11.  Protein packed smoothie at Smoothie King

This is a great light meal replacement offering a better-for-you alternative for vegans who want to avoid other chain restaurants. The mango kale, pineapple spinach, dark chocolate banana, and nutty super grain are all vegan, calorie packed, and refreshing.

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