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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Cross Currents: To meat or not to meat?

The Channels Opinion Pages | CROSS CURRENTS
Alloy Zarate
Illustration by Alloy Zarate, 2020

These days people are leading a healthier lifestyle, which includes being conscious of what they consume. With this, the consumption of meat is under more scrutiny than ever before. Vegetarians say they help the planet and feel healthier, but meat-eaters contend that a full diet promotes a stronger immune system and a wider range of food options. This week, The Channels opinion editors debate the pros and cons of vegetarian and meat-eating diets.


August Lawrence, Opinion Editor

Diets—they seem to be all the rage lately.

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Most are reasonable with obvious advantages. Fewer starches can help with weight loss and more fruits and vegetables help maintain higher levels of useful energy. But there’s one dietary restriction that folks are into that just doesn’t make any sense to me: a totally meatless diet.

Going meatless is not the smartest choice for your body, and the people subscribing to this ideal miss out on the health, economic and flavor advantages of eating meat.

As a student, meal planning and budgeting are constantly on my mind.

Relative to organically grown fruits and vegetables, meat has a higher healthy-calorie rate per dollar and is more readily available to the American public.

Meat is easier to pack, ship and store, making it more profitable for supermarkets to sell than vegetables. At most stores when a fruit or vegetable comes in damaged or bruised, its price drops just because it looks funny, not to mention the price hike for organic produce.

Meat either comes shipped frozen, making it less fragile and longer-lasting, or is cut on-site if the market has a butcher.

Meat can also be bought in bulk to freeze and set aside for later. Freezing raw vegetables makes them practically inedible, and buying produce in bulk is impractical.

Besides all the harmful pesticides and bug repellants commonly used for the average crop’s production, the demand for labor and manpower to produce table-presentable crops has created an inescapable working situation for many migrant workers.

Humans need a variety of vitamins, minerals and acids that are found in meat—but not in plants.

It’s very common for novice vegetarians to make the switch only to suddenly feel a myriad of symptoms, like feeling sick all the time from lack of zinc or having aching joints from lack of B12.

For vegetarians to maintain strength and intake enough protein, they either must map out all of their meals to make sure to include specific expensive foods or go out of their way to take supplements multiple times a day just to keep their body satiated.

This is unnatural and sounds unnecessarily tiring. Being on a diet that doesn’t provide the essentials to properly function can be dangerous.

Besides the health benefits, for me, there’s no denying that a good slice of cooked meat will always taste better than any vegetarian dish or meat substitute.

There are multiple examples in pop culture in support of a meaty diet. The show “How I Met Your Mother” often writes its antagonists as annoying vegetarians and “Parks and Rec” has an entire episode about a taste contest between imitation burgers and hamburgers (the beef burger wins.)

That first bite into a homemade hamburger is something close to magic. Those savory juices running down your lips, the satisfying reddish pink of a perfect medium-rare patty, and—of course—that amazing sizzling taste.

There are a lot of beneficial diets out there, but why would anyone want to cut out meat?


Cassandra Wilkins, Opinion Editor

There shouldn’t be a debate about whether or not every life is valid, but here we are in 2021, where it is still normal and acceptable to kill and eat animals.   

Today there are now more technologies and sustainable options available than ever, which allow people to live even healthier lifestyles without the expense of an animal’s life.

Some may argue that living a plant-based lifestyle is more expensive.

Based on the produce and products someone chooses to buy to live a vegetarian lifestyle this claim can be true. (Fun fact—you don’t have to pay extra for guac at Freebirds or Chipotle when ordering the veggie options.)

The harsh reality is that eating meat can also come with a hefty cost of medical bills in the future.

“The consumption of animal products has been conclusively linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Cholesterol (found only in animal products) and animal fat clog arteries, leading to heart attacks and strokes,” according to PETA.

When I hear people say “but they taste so good,” in my mind all I can think is: This person can’t put the lives of creatures before themselves just because they are close-minded. 

They are so unwilling to give meat alternatives a try, even if it’s for the benefit of someone else’s life.

Some may also argue that humans have been eating meat since the beginning of time.

According to an opinion article written by Barbara J. King, humans may be hooked on meat, but aren’t designed for meat-eating.

The idea that the consumption of animals is needed for survival today is plainly outdated. Humans can live content, healthy lives without any meat in their system if they supplement their diet properly to give their body the nutrients it needs.

Some choose to reduce their meat intake for ethical reasons, health concerns, or for the compassion of all living creatures. 

Growing up with a family who ate meat with every meal, at about 14 I realized that my actions have an effect on the world. I no longer wanted animals to suffer because of my choices.

I am not here to lie or deceive anyone. My personal diet is nowhere near perfect.

I am not vegan, I am vegetarian. 

For the animal products that I do choose to consume like eggs, I do my research and make an effort to get them from local ethical sources.

I understand that it may be more difficult for others to completely eliminate meat from their diet. Especially when the people around you aren’t supportive and crack jokes in order to make themselves feel more comfortable about the killing of innocent creatures.

If we could all make an effort to cut back our animal product consumption the world would be a better place.

Even if that means eating meat five days a week instead of seven, or ordering a plant-based option at a restaurant, I see that as a start in making a difference.

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