Being Vegetarian Not a Missed Steak

Sydney Sokora / Legacy Media

According to, 7.3 million Americans follow a vegetarian diet.

When people first hear the word “vegetarian” images of people chaining themselves to trees or picketing outside a McDonalds may cross people’s minds, but that is not the case. Vegetarianism means abstaining from meat while gaining nutrients from vegetables, fruits and grains. Many find different reasons for switching to a vegetarian lifestyle including health benefits, personal opinion or religious reasons. But for senior Zahriya Zachary, she made the switch for a healthier diet.

“I would say it piqued my interest in how much healthier the lifestyle is compared to the one I used to have,” Zachary said. “I ultimately decided to be vegetarian because I like fast food a lot and it became a problem. There is meat in almost every fast food so I figured if I cut out the meat then the fast food would go with it.”

Although the vegetarian lifestyle has its benefits, it also has its downfalls, according to senior Eshaan Patel.

“You have to make sure your food doesn’t have meat,” Patel said. “At restaurants you have to specify meals. You would not expect some stuff to the meat, like fruit snacks and Altoids have meat. As for variety, if you go to some place that offers vegetarian meals. If not then it can be hard to find food without meat.”

An estimated 3.2 percent of the American population is vegetarian, according to food technology safety teacher Jacob Price. With so few vegetarians, it can be hard to find support in a society of omnivores, but Zachary said she finds support with her family.

“None of my family members are vegetarian, [but they] are very supportive,” Zachary said. “They [compliment] how much self-control I have by being vegetarian. Some of them are even considering becoming vegetarian.”

According to Price, although the vegetarian lifestyle has its benefits, it can cause some dietary problems.

“If you look at the food pyramid produced by the United State Department of Agriculture, you will notice that it calls for consumption of meat for a balanced and healthy lifestyle,” Price said. “The vegetarian lifestyle prevents eating this key pillar of the food pyramid. So for these reasons, I believe that being vegetarianism is not a healthy lifestyle.”

Despite the wary eye from others, Zachary still recommends others to try the lifestyle out despite its hardships.

“It is not for everyone,” Zachary said. “Because some people are more physically active than others and need protein to sustain themselves. As I became a vegetarian my body began to want meat, but you have to have a strong will power. But overall I am much healthier and more conscious of what I put in my body, also I have lost about 12 pounds as a plus.”