By Ali Schultz

Why don’t we stop eating our four legged and feathery pets people?

Choosing a vegetarian diet is a great lifestyle choice, one with an endless number of positive attributes.

A recent study released by the World Health Organization showed that processed meats such as sausage, bacon and ham are carcinogenic. All other meats are outlined as “probably carcinogenic.” This study has many people considering a vegetarian lifestyle. However, a shadow of doubt has been cast upon these reports with words such as “probably” and meat “most likely” causing cancer, resulting in people reconsidering whether or not to take on vegetarianism. Despite the hazy word choice surrounding this scientific breakthrough, as a vegetarian myself, I am here to say this new evidence is only one of many reasons to stop eating meat.

When I was 10 years old I read some over-the-top PETA article regarding the cruelty animals face prior to being sold off into the meat trade. As the stubborn 10-year-old I was, I made a pledge to stop eating meat. Although my parents and others around me at the time doubted my ability to stay faithful to my promise, I didn’t touch meat for six years. During this time period I rarely ever got the common cold, had more energy than ever and was pressured into healthy eating habits. I had to put aside the dino nuggets and learn to love extra firm tofu (not an easy adjustment at first).

I was the healthiest I had ever felt and I never had to think twice about feeling guilty for simply consuming what my mom was cooking up for dinner. However, in the middle of high school I caved. It was as if chicken parmigiana was a cult ringleader drawing me in closer and closer. I gave in to the evil temptress parma and went back to eating meat.

The only thing eating meat again taught me was that being a vegetarian really is a healthier lifestyle choice. My body felt much more clean and I woke up every day feeling freshly rejuvenated.

There are so many positives to a vegetarian diet it seems silly not to consider it.

Being a broke college student, many of us know that meat is expensive. I mean, when was the last time you could afford filet mignon? Just take a regular trip to the grocery store. As your cart piles high, it is apparent the one thing burning a hole in your wallet is the 10 packages of Ball Park Franks you have in your cart. Buying tofu and veggies saves you a significant amount of money.

Vegetarians tend to be more conscious of what they are eating. They spend more time making sure they have ample amount of protein and focus heavily on incorporating fruits and veggies into their diet. They are more likely to put better foods in their body and see the benefits. Vegetarians face less of a chance for heart risks and high cholesterol. According to an article by Livestrong Foundation, “Those who follow a plant-based diet are found to have lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancers, type-2 diabetes and insulin resistance.”

And to top it all off comes the argument of what is ethically right. Not to come off as some tree-hugging freak, but the treatment of these animals is absolutely mortifying. The neglect and horror these animals face prior to being shipped off to the slaughterhouse is undeniably terrible on so many levels.

There are so many reasons to consider a vegetarian lifestyle. Now that conclusive studies have surfaced linking eating meat to cancer, the public should use this to kick-start their transition to healthier eating habits. I get it, trust me. That filet really does whisper sweet nothings in one’s ear, but I say ignore the meaty temptress and choose a veggie lifestyle.