Author: Jiahao Wu
Editors: Kira Tian and Peggy Yang
Artist: Daisy Zheng
“Vegetables are good for you.” is a mantra we have listened to since early childhood. And while we know that vegetables provide vital nutrients for our body, what other benefits do they have? To answer that, they help reduce the chance of contracting many diseases and maintain your overall health.
So why do people eat meat? Wouldn’t everything be easier if we all just ate plants? Evolutionarily speaking, we are omnivores and are accustomed to eating both plants and meat. Meat is rich in protein and vitamin B-12; it is also a great source of iron. Therefore, it was beneficial for our ancestors to include meat in their diet. However, we don’t need to depend on what our ancestors ate; we now have a variety of better options. Protein is much easier to obtain through foods such as nuts and beans. Vitamin B-12 can be found in dairy such as cheese, milk, and eggs; iron is available in a variety of products like grains and vegetables. This is also the primary reason why people have switched to more plant-based diets, some even becoming fully vegetarian. However, people are still eating more meat than they are used to due to the rise of the middle class and the accessibility of meat. Once seen as a luxury, meat can now be eaten by anyone.
In the long run, though, human consumption of meat is not sustainable. At our current rate, forests are being destroyed to create grazing ground for livestock. Moreover, the energy we get from meat is much less compared to the energy originally consumed by the livestocks as they also get their energy from plants. Therefore, consuming livestock is much less energy efficient.
So, are humans ready to give up meat? Probably not. However, there is ongoing development that attempts to persuade meat lovers to incorporate more plants and less meat into their diet. “Meat” made from plants, such as veggie burgers, is one way to enable people to have the satisfaction of eating meat while not actually consuming livestock. All of this is a small part of an effort to keep both humans and the environment healthy.
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