By: Charles MowenVegetarianism Vegetarianism is not just some crazy fad anymore. After considerable deliberation I decided that eating meant just didn't fit in with my values. More and more it is becoming not only a healthy alternative to the traditional meat and potato diet, but it is also a way to become more aware of environmental and animal welfare. Some people believe that a vegetarian diet is pointless and unhealthy; it is actually a very ethical and healthy alternative to the typical American diet.

It seems to me that people today need to learn some basic biology. I'm still not sure what to do with otherwise intelligent people who think a chicken is not an animal. For the record, vegetarianism means no red meat, poultry, or fish; no body who ever had a face. It disturbs me when people go around eating fish and still call themselves vegetarians, especially when that person is a vegetarian for ethical reasons. To people who would ask if you "just want a little" chicken for dinner, I would ask how would you feel if "just a little" of Uncle John was in your soup? People need to stop lobbying for the meat industry. Meat-eaters seem to think that vegetarians are like dieters and that we want to cheat a little now and then.

My father is sure that if he can convince me just how good his steak tastes, I'll give in and eat it. Some of my friends try to get me to try 'just a bite' of whatever meat product they " re eating, on the premise that it is so good I couldn't possibly pass it up. I sometimes think that meat-eaters took their lessons in peer pressure from the bad kids in the anti-drug movies we used to watch in high school. Vegetarianism is a very healthy alternative to the typical American diet. There are many different health related reasons why someone should become a vegetarian; among them are weight loss, cholesterol, and fat. Even though I didn't become a vegetarian for health reasons, after being one for a relatively short amount of time I have lowered my cholesterol and blood pressure levels and lost over fifty pounds.

Heart attack is the most common cause of death in the United States, killing one person every 45 seconds (Maharaj 2001). Men who eat meat have a 50% risk of suffering form a heart attack. One the contrary, a male vegetarians risk of suffering from heart attack is only 15% (Maharaj 2001). Many people who have become vegetarians are because of the ethical argument for it. Knowing what goes on daily at any one of the hundreds of slaughterhouses in the United States, where animals suffer the cruel process of forced confinement, manipulation and violent death is hard to bear.

In the United States alone, over 600, 000 animals are killed for meat every hour (Maharaj 2001). The amount of meat eaten in a lifetime is staggering, on average consumption of meat in the United States is approximately 11 cows, 3 lambs, 23 pigs, 45 turkeys, 1, 100 chickens and 862 pounds of fish (Maharaj 2001). One big argument that I always hear against vegetarianism is that the diet is very unhealthy. When any vegetarian gets sick, the first thing that people say is that you are malnourished. From the comments I hear when I have a cold, you'd think that meat-eaters never get sick. When I get sick, there's always someone waiting to tell me it's because of my diet.

In actuality, just as there are healthy and unhealthy meat-eaters; there are healthy and unhealthy vegetarians. Studies have shown that vegetarians have stronger immune systems than meat-eaters. Another complaint about a vegetarian diet is that there is not enough selection. So the big question is 'what do you eat?' This question really does baffle me; how would anyone with a reasonably varied diet answer that? I eat spaghetti, wild mushroom stir-fry, stews, minestrone soup, salads, burritos, lentil chili, lasagna, waffles, veggie burgers, tacos, bagels, brown rice, and the list goes on. Although it is true that eating-out can be a complicated experience, there are plenty of things to eat. People just needs to rid themselves of the notion that all vegetarians eat are raw broccoli and bean sprouts.

So don't make faces at our food. Before you scrunch up your nose at my soy burger or tofu, think about what you are actually eating. Just because eating animals is widely accepted doesn't mean it's not gross. Stop telling us humans that we "have to" eat meat; vegetarians are living proof that we don't. People who otherwise respect my ability to take care of myself refuse to trust that I did not make the decision to become a vegetarian rashly. I've done plenty of research on vegetarianism, probably more than you " ve done on your diet and I'm confident in the choice I have made.

Are you all aware of the studies showing that meat-eaters are almost twice as likely to die from heart disease, 60% more likely to die from cancer, and 30% more likely to die from other diseases and that for every person who becomes a total vegetarian one acre of forest is saved from destruction? I wouldn't be eating this way if extensive research hadn't convinced me that vegetarianism is healthier and more ethical than eating meat. A more appropriate question might be whether you can back up your diet. Works Cited: Maharaj, Jai. "How to Win an Argument with Meat-Eaters." EAT VEG. com.

2001. 11/26/2001. < web >.