A look at the vegetarian diet: Do students feel better or worse when cutting out the meat?
Does saying no to meat mean you have to fall asleep in class?
Anne Schuster, the special coordinator of the community health department at Wardenburg says she thinks that it is possible for vegetarians to eat healthy.
“You just need to be watchful with the amount of protein and vitamins you get. Vitamins like B12 and B6 are more difficult (to get) but not by any means impossible,” Schuster said.
The American Dietetic Association says that vegetarian diets offer many nutritional benefits.
The ADA says a vegetarian diet has: “lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer.”
Ross Gardner, a junior political science major says he agrees that getting enough nutrients without eating meat can be hard.
“I honestly believe that I am healthier as a vegetarian; however, I always find it hard to really make sure that I compensate for what I miss when I’m not eating meat,” Gardner said.
According to WebMD, when vegetarians do not replace what meat offers, problems within the body can occur.
“A deficiency of nutrients can lead to illness. Vegetarians often use fortified foods or dietary supplements to make sure they get proper nourishment, especially nutrients they’d normally get in animal food,” according to WebMD .
Also, WebMD warns students about not eating healthy as vegetarians.
“Sometimes teens call themselves ‘vegetarians,’ but eat an unbalanced diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and french fries, leaving their bodies nutritionally deprived.”
Christian Eaton, a sophomore open option major says she doesn’t think getting enough protein and nutrients is a problem for her.
“I feel much healthier after making the switch to a vegetarian diet, but I know this is different for many people,” Eaton said. “Vegetarians, along with everyone else, need to make healthy choices in their diets. This doesn’t mean Ramen, Taco Bell or pizza everyday.”
Eaton says she takes a B-complex vitamin daily and makes sure to eat a lot of protein from non-animal derived sources such as nuts, quinoa, tofu and soy.
Schuster says students should stick to eating vegetarian based on how the diet feels. Some students may find they don’t feel full or satisfied if they don’t eat meat. Changing to a vegetarian diet can also influence energy levels.
Schuster says CU’s Community Health Program has a lot of information for students wondering about becoming vegetarian.
“We have a number of brochures in eating healthy,” Schuster said. “There is a lot of information on recipes that are quick and inclusive of all diets.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Jennifer Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org