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Going green a different way

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George Washington University

campus

Going green a different way

Being a grass grazer

Max Skidelsky

11.12.17

Being a vegetarian on campus isn’t very easy—especially during Thanksgiving. Apart from the wide-eyed stares ranging from mysticism to incomprehension, there are, of course, more limited options for eating. One of the most popular questions vegetarians get is “But don’t you miss meat?” The answer is an obvious yes, and anyone who says otherwise is lying or has never tried it.

There are very few vegetarians in the United States—the Harris Poll found that roughly three percent of all American adults were vegetarians. Interestingly, the two highest groups were adults living in the Northeast (5.4 percent) and Millennials (5.3 percent) But why go through all the trouble? Well, each person has their own reason, but there are many benefits to this diet.

Albert Einstein once said that “the vegetarian manner of living… would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.”

Benefits

Regarding health, studies in England and Germany have shown that vegetarians are about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat-eaters. Subsequent studies in the U.S. have also explored a similar trend. Blood analysis of vegetarians reveals a higher level of specialized white blood cells that attack cancer cells.

Similar studies have shown that vegetarian diets also help to lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease. They also reduce the chance of forming kidney stones and gallstones.

Regarding pollution, food production accounts for one-quarter to one-third of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. In the U.S., an average family of four emits more greenhouse gases eating meat than from driving two cars. Merely eating a vegetarian meal once in a while can help to cut that down, but substantial impacts can be found in total commitment to a vegetarian diet.

Researchers at Oxford predict that if everyone became vegetarian by 2050, food-related emissions would drop by about 60 percent. We would also see a global mortality reduction of six to 10 percent, and stave off about seven million deaths per year. "Fewer people suffering from food-related chronic illnesses would also mean a reduction in medical bills, saving about two to three percent of global gross domestic product."

Student Interests

And of course, there’s always the monetary benefit. According to a study published by the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, vegetarian diets would save on average $750 a year. For GW students strapped for cash, they might be interested in the financial advantages of eating more greens more often.

While there are very few vegetarians, some would conclude there are few places for vegetarians to eat. However, last year, I compiled a massive list of all the locations that accept GWorld and feature something that a Vegetarian could eat—dubious locations such as Starbucks and Carvings which from time to time feature ‘food’ were included.

In total, I found 58 locations on Foggy Bottom and six available on the Vern. The list includes pizza places, cafes, coffee shops, bakeries, and grocery stores—among others still. It also features the location and hours of each place, as well as a shorthand of Vegetarian options off the respective menus (excluding a few such as Whole Foods which had plenty to offer).