The right way to eat

A fantastic letter to the editor published today on syracuse.com – Syracuse & Central New York’s leading news website…

Going vegan is healthy and easy choice
Friday, April 18, 2008 By Katie McCafferty

Dani Walters, the writer of “Meat Eater vs. Vegetarian: There’s really no right or wrong,” in the “Voices” section, claims that, “there is no ‘right’ way for people to eat.” This statement illustrates a huge national problem: a large chunk of U.S. citizens do not realize that there is in fact a “right” way to eat.

As a result, the United States has become known as a fast food nation in which obesity rates and obesity related diseases such as diabetes are skyrocketing. For human beings to be an appropriate weight, and have a healthy immune system and abundant energy, they must get all of the necessary vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fiber, proteins and fats.

While the methods of obtaining all of the essentials vary, I know firsthand that going vegetarian makes eating the right foods much easier.

I went vegan when I was 16 years old. A vegan is a person who decides, for whatever reason, to completely take all meat, dairy and eggs out of his or her diet. Now, 15 months later, I look back on this decision as the best I have ever made.

Today, I am more energetic and I get sick less often. And contrary to the implication Walters made in her article, being vegan, even as a growing high school student, is easy.

The Internet provided me with an abundance of recipes and new food ideas to try. Going vegan gave me an interest in what I was eating and allowed me to discover my love for cooking. I also met new friends and kept relationships with old friends intact because I know the most effective way of showing someone that veganism is beneficial is through example, not through nagging.

I do, however, also understand why some vegetarians or vegans would picket outside of fast food restaurants. Walters implies that this type of activism is over the top and too controlling: “People should get to decide for themselves what food they will and will not eat,” she claims.

I agree that people should decide for themselves, but this does not mean that they should abstain from peacefully protesting for a cause they feel passionately about.

Fast food restaurants are notorious for supporting inhumane slaughter of animals, providing their employees with low wages and bad working conditions and selling noxious foods to the public. I struggle to understand why Walters would suggest that protesting such companies is inappropriate.

I am vegan because I feel it is the most environmentally conscious diet choice that also takes animal and human rights into account. I understand that being vegan is not for everyone, but I encourage everyone to give it a try.

Katie McCafferty is a senior at Weedsport High School.

http://www.syracuse.com

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