Why We Need to Stop Shaming People for Becoming Vegans/Vegetarians

I’m not on a diet. I like to eat meat and I like to eat pasta that isn’t gluten-free. Sometimes I even gorge myself on chips while watching Doctor Who late at night. 

Choosing what to eat every day is hard, and on top of that, college is not cheap. A lot of us students don’t really have a choice over the foods we eat. Though I have my choices, it doesn't mean I have the right to make fun of, or shame people who choose to eat differently.

When the words “vegetarian” and “vegan”, or even “gluten-free” come to mind, they seem silly. People believe that these diets are simply to lost weight, not for other reasons. For instance, my cousin went gluten-free for a couple of years because of some bad skin allergies believe it or not. Even though his skin is clear now, he continues to eat gluten-free because he feels more energized throughout the day. While my cousin continues to eat gluten-free in order to keep feeling energized and healthy, his initial reason for starting it was because of a different reason other than a diet. I mean, it was either eat gluten-free or have blotchy skin. Going vegan and vegetarian can have greater effects beyond personal health and can help keep the world healthy too!

Every day we are getting closer and closer to the negative effects of human activity, which includes gas emissions, pollution, bad soil, species extinction, and many other things. Here in Davis, we’ve all seen it. With all the fires going on around us, it’s hard to ignore. Livestock produce a lot of waste, and nearly 15% of all the earth’s human-made greenhouse gases, which is even more than cars! This is a result of the deforestation occurring, since livestock need a place to graze, and all the manure they produce release methane gas into the air. Needless to say, raising livestock takes up a lot of energy. And of course, what would our world be like without all of these amazing animals?

Image source: James Wainscoat

Image source: Ibrahim Rifath

Image source: Claudio Schwarz

Need I say more? But the big take away is that it’s pointless to belittle someone for their personal eating choices, especially if it’s for a greater cause such as this! We may feel guilty for loving chicken wings or having an extra hamburger at a barbeque, but it doesn’t make us bad people. Everyone has their own lifestyle. As human beings, we’ve adapted to live a certain way for so long, that it’s difficult to just drop everything and change, even if it’s for a greater cause. If you are not hurting anyone, and you are spreading love in the world, you can choose to practice any way of eating you like.