By Sydni Ingram
Cartoon by Larry Estrada
Chick-fil-A is known for its quirky ads of cows promoting the consumption of chicken. What if other barnyard animals like chicken, pigs and sheep banded together and encouraged society to consume more vegetables?
Vegans do not consume any meat or any animal-based foods, including dairy or eggs. Vegetarianism is more lenient, allowing the consumption of milk and cheese.
Most people follow through with these diets for the health benefits, philosophical opposition to killing animals or both. Vegetarians have healthier hearts, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as less hypertension and Type 2 diabetes.
Vegetarians also tend to have a lower body mass index and cancer rates, according to the American Dietetic Association.
Activist vegetarians argue that the animal industry is very cruel. Many believe that animals have rights that forbid killing of them for the consumption of humans. They insist it is unethical to eat meat when a plant-based diet is available.
Southwestern College should support vegetarian diet since more Americans are moving towards a plant-based diet. College cafeterias should take this growth into consideration.
One Green Planet, an organization that encourages green living, pointed out that vegetarianism is gaining popularity.
“Six percent of the U.S. population now identifies as vegan, compared to one percent in 2014,” read a One Green Planet publication. “The plant-based meat market is set to reach $5.2 billion by 2020 and could make up one-third of the market by 2050.”
SWC must increase its variety of plant-based foods for the growing vegetarian population. Plant-based options in the cafeteria are currently limited and many are not healthy. Hot food entrees change constantly throughout the weeks, yet plant-based options remain stagnant. Offering options for vegetarians and vegans is a step in the right direction, but eating the same foods can be tiresome. Right now the cafeteria has a salad bar, premade wraps and a few other vegetarian options. No hot vegetarian food is available besides a side of vegetables and fries.
Quick and easy vegetarian and vegan meals can be made available in our cafeterias. Vegetarian options like Buddha bowls, which contain various types of healthy grains, vegetables and protein, should be added to the menu. SWC typically serves fatty chili that contains meat every day. An alternative would be to make the chili meatless, by including vegetables like corn in place of meat. Cafeterias can also add more cooked vegetables with the other hot dishes.
This is small task compared to the parade of chicken strips, steak quesadillas, sandwiches and other meaty items.
Vegetarian meals would afford students healthier food options. Everyone would benefit.
SWC must prioritize the incorporation of plant-based meals, so students do not have to leave campus to meet their needs. Chula Vista has few plant-based restaurants.
America is trending towards more vegetarian diets. SWC needs to get on board.