Students choose dietary paths for morals, health

It is a common saying: you are what you eat. At a young age, students at Carmel High School have already become aware of what is going into their bodies for a number of different reasons. These influencing factors propel students to take their lives into their own hands and become more mindful of what they eat.

Some students have only recently decided to begin their nutritional regimes, but others have followed these restrictions much longer.

“I have been vegetarian my whole life,” junior Ihlara Gray says, “and my parents don’t eat meat, so there’s never any in our house.”

Her parents’ beliefs are a major reason as to why she started her diet in the first place, but, putting their influence aside, Gray still believes that there are harmful effects of meat consumption and wants to steer clear of it.

“I have never had any nutritional problems before,” Gray says, “and I have read that consumption of meat causes cardiovascular problems, so I feel as though in some ways you are much healthier.”

While Gray believes that there are health benefits which coincide with vegetarianism, others’ dietary choices are focused around the ethical controversy associated with the production of meat.

“Since eating meat isn’t necessary and people can get their protein from other sources, I don’t think it’s morally acceptable to eat meat which has been tortured,” junior Katie Murray says.

Murray’s main concern is that she feels factory farms producing meat inhumanely, at the expense of animals, in order to attain a larger profit. She feels passionate about her dietary choices because of her morals and the fact that she does not contribute to the abuse of animals.

“My diet has changed my perspective on animals and had made me care more about their rights,” Murray says.

Many other students at Carmel High have started a diet based on their beliefs.

“I am a reverse pescetarian, which means I eat everything but fish,” junior Kelly Rice says.

Rice has been a “reverse pescetarian” for her entire life. Her concern is the way that fishing is executed and the negative impacts it has on the environment. As someone who supports and cares for our oceans, Rice is against the stripping of life from the sea and recommends that others start this diet to reduce the rate at which they eat fish.

“I just don’t find it necessary to eat fish, the great barrier reef is proclaimed dead and the way people fish has a great effect on that, it’s not worth it,” the ocean enthusiast says.

Whereas Rice’s and Murray’s animal activism motivates them to withhold from meat, others do it for spiritual reasons.

“I have eaten halal meat for my entire life for religious reasons,” senior Teejan Saddy says.

Halal meat refers to the way which an animal is slaughtered. It is very precise with a cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery and the windpipe. Halal meat is an Islamic belief, so to respect her faith Saddy has only ever eaten meat which has been prepared this particular way.

“Halal is a better way to consume meat, for the animal and for me,” Saddy says.

Not only are students becoming familiar with what they are eating, but English teacher Whitney Grummon urges her AP Language and Composition students to become more informed about their diets through class forums, literature and interactive debates.

“I am not going to tell people how to eat, but I do think being educated will help people make good decisions,” Grummon says.

It is a small aspect of life, but the food one eats might have a major impact on the individual.

-Parinda Desai