Letter to the editor: A vegetarian lifestyle can be healthy

Letter to the editor


As the president and founder of VegWSU, our school’s new plant-based diet club, I feel that the opinions expressed in the March 10 article “Score for the carnivores” were poorly supported and the lifestyle was misrepresented.

First of all, the article suggests that iron, zinc and B12 are only found in meats, which is untrue. 

Iron and zinc are obtained from many other sources and B12 is available in animal products such as milk and eggs, which many vegetarians still consume. Regardless, this is easily supplemented in a vegan diet. 

A quick search on ods.od.nih.gov reveals several vegetarian options for getting daily requirements of any of these nutrients. So before I move on, I just want to make it clear that whether you are a meat-eater or not, it is important to be aware of what you are and are not consuming to make sure your body gets what it needs (or to make sure it stays away from what it doesn’t need). It is easy to make unhealthy decisions regardless of your meat intake.

Secondly, there are many other reasons to leave meat out of your diet that were not mentioned in the article. Health and personal preference are two good reasons, but also consider animal and worker welfare and, of course, sustainability, which is my personal reason for eating a plant-based diet. A 2006 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report by FAO livestock specialists titled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” explains that animal agriculture contributes 18 percent of human-caused greenhouse gases (more recent information estimates this number to be closer to 51 percent) and is the leading anthropogenic user of land – contributing greatly to land degradation through overgrazing, erosion and deforestation. 

These are just some of the wide-ranging environmental impacts of the livestock sector. By being a vegetarian, I am reducing my carbon footprint, my land and water use and contributing less to biodiversity losses.

As Marrissa said, “the choice to give up meat and become a vegetarian is a personal decision everyone can make for themselves.” But giving up that piece of medium rare steak could have so many more positive effects than you realize and I encourage everyone to explore this topic further. 

Tia Monzingo 

Founder and President of VegWSU