Vegan Lifestyle Considered

By Nikiya Berry

Vegan Outreach encourages students at the College of Southern Nevada to think differently.  Members periodically hand out leaflets on campus to help end animal exploitation through the promotion of a vegan lifestyle.

“Every month seems more inspiring than the last,” said Jon Oberg, a Vegan Outreach volunteer. “Many people are going vegetarian and vegan as a result of their concern for animals.”

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According to a recent poll of 50 CSN students, two out of the 50 students are vegetarians. Nine of the 48 carnivore students are flexitarians, who eat meat on occasion. Three of the 48 students have tried to be vegetarians in the past.

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Oberg said meat has become so much a part of our daily lives, we don’t recognize that it came from an animal.

“Billions of today’s farmed animals are kept in large industrial sheds where they live in cramped and filthy conditions, often unable to fully stretch their wings or limbs and move freely,” said Jon Camp, director of outreach for Vegan Outreach.

“I will never support animal cruelty,” said Geoffery Martin, a CSN student. “I do my research before I buy a product. I do not want something to suffer just so I can eat it.” Martin raises his own chickens for consumption. For other meats, he relies on anti-animal cruelty organizations to choose which meat brands to buy.

According to David Jump, a CSN professor who teaches health and human performance, a vegetarian diet lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer, allows better absorption of calcium, may promote a healthy weight, and reduces the chances of developing kidney and gallstones.

“I was a vegan for a month but I got busy and gradually started eating meat again,” said Christina Putrus, a CSN student. “I felt healthy doing it. I would go back to doing it over the summer. You don’t feel tired all the time, you don’t get acne, and you feel light and energized.”

Horacio Cardoza, a CSN-vegetarian student, said he has to be creative with his diet. Cardoza also dares students to slowly cut meat out of their diets.

According to Camp, vegetarian meals can expand, rather than limit, a student’s diet. Foods from a variety of cultures make diets well-balanced and diverse.

On the other hand, meat provides a better source of iron, saturated fats, and vitamin B12 that improve immune and nervous systems. Diets with meat may also help with weight loss. It takes fewer calories to get protein from lean meat than from vegetarian options.

Many CSN students continue to eat meat because they like the taste or don’t want to change their diets.

Oberg said people can still enjoy the taste by replacing meat items with plant-based versions such as black-bean burgers. The change can be gradual; students can start one day a week as a vegetarian.

Jump recommends that people should meet the daily intake of nutrients as a vegetarian and do the necessary research or consult a dietician.

Oberg said that most vegetarians once felt they couldn’t do it, but found the change helped them feel better mentally and physically. “The question is only whether or not you’re willing to reach out and give it a shot.”

Vegan Outreach offers the “Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating”. Students can also research cheap vegan recipes. For updated vegan health news, Camp recommends jacknorrisrd.com or nutritionfacts.org. There are also books on the subject such as “The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter” by Peter Singer and Jim Mason.

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