Letter to the Editor

More vegetarian-friendly options needed

Thursday, March 17, 2016

To The Editor:

Last week, I had the opportunity to eat at the dining hall on the DePauw University campus here in Greencastle. As a vegan, I was thrilled and grateful to find such a fine eating establishment in our little town.

Even the people with me, who are not vegan, decided to be vegan for this meal. They were astounded by the quality of the food. After this experience, I realized that our town needs to be more vegan-friendly. Every restaurant should serve and advertise at least one vegan entree.

National polls highlight the large amounts of meat and dairy product consumed in this country every year. These high rates of meat and dairy consumption are keeping our hospitals full. According to the American Diabetic Association, vegetarian diets lead directly to health benefits, such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and lower risk of heart disease, hypertension and type-two diabetes. The World Health Organization has linked eating meat, especially processed red meat, to several types of cancer. Lowering meat consumption can reduce the risk of cancer and obesity.

In addition to the diseases caused by meat consumption, the animals are also kept in deplorable conditions. The deadly diseases of mad cow disease, bird flu and swine flu would have resulted in fewer deaths if the animals had better living conditions.

More and more, the meat industry is noticing the increasing popularity of delicious and healthy non-animal food products. These substitutes are often even better than the real thing. Stores such as Kroger and Walmart are catching on and selling more of these products, due to increasing public demand for plant-based foods.

According to an article published in the Sept. 20, 2015 issue of TIME magazine, we will soon reach the day when we won't be able to tell the difference between the two.

This will be a good day for the environment, as well.

In a 2006 report on the impact of raising livestock on the environment, the United Nations found that "Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today's most serious environmental problems." The meat industry uses and pollutes enormous quantities of water and degrades large stretches of land, which also impacts the water cycle. One of the best ways to solve these many environmental problems is to become a vegetarian.

Restaurants should learn from the model of DePauw University's dining hall, and make their restaurants more vegetarian-friendly.

To learn more about the benefits of vegetarianism, visit http://www.vrg.org/.

To find nearby vegetarian restaurants to support with your patronage, check out http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php.

Jason Johnson

102 W. Poplar St.