Plant based diets change minds, hearts of local community

Aarya Yang, Layout Editor

Graphic by Joey Kraft
Trending plant based diets influence life choices. Choosing plant based diets have stemmed from the want for environmental sustainability and health.

The healthy eating and lifestyle of plant based diets has become an ongoing trend. The plant based diet population has grown five percent between 2014 and 2017. Nearly 40 percent of millennials in 2018 have identified as vegan. Many people within the increasing population have become fond of this lifestyle due to ethical and health reasons.

“It’s kind of like a health movement,” junior Joey Boyd explained. “It’s just become a trend for people to try, but I think once people started to realize it’s not that hard and it can make a difference in your health.”

 Corporations such as Impossible meats and Beyond meats have become relevant in the world of plant based diets. Both corporations have created meat products that are made entirely of plants. They promote healthy eating and conserving the earth. 

Boyd mentions how she “has not had authentic meat in a while,” and she appreciates that the plant based meat industries are making their products similar to what she remembers meat tastes like and more appetizing instead of a meat substitute.

Those who have obtained a plant based diet have goals to sustain the earth, maintain healthy eating and better the lives of animals. By doing so, many feel a great contribute to help aid these environmental crises. 

I first became a vegetarian when I was 12,” junior Madison Grayden explained. “Originally it was from seeing footage from security cameras inside every-day factory farms, and witnessing the horrific and cruel treatment the animals underwent on a regular basis.”

“After a year of being vegetarian, I decided to become fully vegan, as I had been wanting to the entire time, but was too nervous to do. Again, I made the change overnight and have stayed vegan now for four years,” Grayden explained. 

I first became a vegetarian when I was 12. Originally it was from seeing footage from security cameras inside every-day factory farms, and witnessing the horrific and cruel treatment the animals underwent on a regular basis.”

— Madison Grayden

Although plant based diets have been quite a trend among society, many people have not adjusted to the opinion of not eating meat or animal products which can make dining out a harder option. Some restaurants and food chains offer plant based meat options, such as Qdoba, Burger King and many more. 

Grayden mentioned “eating at restaurants can be a challenge at times,” but she is able to work her way around the menu and choose selected vegan options. 

Not only does plant based diets benefit the body, but also the mind. Antioxidants are substances that can protect and maintain good health for the body, many of which fruits and vegetables contain. They have been proven to help lower the risks of mental illnesses. 

“There are lots of health benefits including lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, a reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and according to some recent studies, a plant-based diet has the potential to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety,” Grayden added.

Even though plant-based diets have great health benefits such as decreasing the risk of heart disease, obesity and type two diabetes, there is an important component to this lifestyle, protein, which is a crucial nutrient to all types of diets. Protein is a source of amino acids that are necessary to maintain healthy body tissue.

“There are a wide variety of plant based protein sources that individuals can include in their diet,” Dietitian Susan Crowell explained. “Vegetables that are higher in protein include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and Brussel sprouts. A variety of plant protein sources should be eaten every day.”

The nutrient rich diet is not only a trend but a way that can help many increase healthier, mindful and environmental choices. Plant based diets have become a major part of society, it is shown in foods, markets, restaurants and much more. As the trend continues to grow, the health benefits will remain the same. 

It has made me a more educated and conscious person, not just in my diet choices, but in day-to-day life as well,” Grayden said.