COLUMN: Healthy eating leads to a healthy person, ?you truly are what you eat?

Kyle Kranz

Kyle KranzRunning on the white Line

Just a few weeks ago my girlfriend and I had our first Couch Surfer stay at our apartment. You actually may have seen him or talked to him on campus. He was here doing outreach to college students on the subject of veganism and vegetarianism.

A vegetarian is one who does not eat the meat of other creatures, such as beef, pork and chicken. However, may consume eggs or milk. While vegans go a step farther and avoid all animal products.

I am going to get right to the meat of the issue. Nearly everyone knows that cruelty almost beyond measure is happening at factory farms where the animals are excluded from many state animal cruelty laws. From the hand castrating of live piglets that sometimes also rips out intestines, to the stun guns that don’t always work, to the cows that are still alive when they reach the belly ripper, this is going on. Whether you purposefully remain ignorant, acknowledge and ignore it, or actually do something about it, unfortunately it is happening.

It’s easy to be negative and easy to not think about it. But it takes effort to CARE. You may have heard the quote, “nothing worth doing is ever easy.” It does take effort to eat out sometimes, but not as bad as you may think. Mexican? Sub in beans for meat, and hold the sour cream and queso please. Yes I have to be more conscious of what I eat as a vegan, however I feel that I am so much more full of happiness and love for it. Animals do not want to be eaten, otherwise they would not run away or yell out in pain. Contrary to what commercials say, there is no such thing as happy cows. How can a creature be happy when it is forced through years of pregnancy and then having their offspring taken from them so they can have uninterrupted milk production until they head to the slaughterhouse?

At the core of Buddhism is the cessation of suffering. This is why many Buddhist followers tend to be vegetarian or vegans. I do not see how anyone claiming to have a religious affiliation can morally support such pain and suffering. Even in GEN 1:29-30 it says “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the Earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so.”

You truly are what you eat. Your body’s cells are constantly dying and being replaced by new ones. Everything from your skin, your muscles and even your thoughts are created from the food you consume. Do you want your organs and your ideas made of the rotting dead flesh of animals that died in some of the worst conditions possible?

Being a vegan, the most common question I get is “what do you eat if you don’t eat meat?!?” I simply reply ” I eat everything else.” If you do not like vegetables, that may mean you need to learn how to prepare food better. If you choose to avoid the regular meat and potatoes meal, you are forced to be a bit more creative with your food. Contrary to popular belief, I think this gives vegetarians and vegans a much more varied diet since they do have to think a bit more about what they put on their plate.

Now having grown up on a dairy farm myself, I know now that most 4-H members really do love their animals and a South Dakota farm is not a thousand animal factory farm. I have nothing against meat eaters, most of my friends are, I just want to spread some peace. However the majority of meat people even in South Dakota consume come from mega-farms out of state.

If you are interested in simply lowering your meat consumption, becoming a vegetarian, or even a vegan, there are many resources out there. has a vegetarian starter kit, Skinny Bitch is a great book on the subject, my couch surfer’s organization, or feel free to email or Facebook myself.

Kyle Kranz is a senior nutrition major at SDSU. Contact him at [email protected].

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