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OPINION: Students need knowledge about nutrition

by Amanda Lerma

Proper nutrients help the human body perform at an optimal level, and some students’ ignorance about what nutrition is hinders them from leading a healthy lifestyle.

The food plate, a nutrition guide, introduces the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, and dairy. With a variety of diets such as ketogenic, veganism, and vegetarianism, it can be hard to understand how nutrition fits into these categories. Oftentimes, celebrities are the catalysts in launching major trends,and diets are no exception. However, when students change their diet to conform to a celebrity’s, they do so without understanding the complexities of a major diet change and end up lacking essential nutrients. According to the school survey, the most well-known diet among students is vegetarianism, which totals at 33.11%. Limited knowledge of other diets, for example pescatarianism ranging at 4.97%, makes it difficult for students to understand how to diet safely and nutritiously when adopting new eating habits.

One diet that makes students especially susceptible to a nutrient deficiency is veganism. Transitioning to a vegan diet can be complicated when it comes to obtaining certain nutritious elements like protein, calcium, and Omega-3 fatty acids. If students are unaware of what food items within their diet can provide these nutrients, it may result in a lack of adequate nutrition.

Students should receive education about physical health alongside nutritional health at school. This includes learning about what nutrition is, healthy eating practices, and the relationship between diet and health. Nevertheless, there is a lack of emphasis on taking culinary or nutrition classes at school, and students are not receiving proper education on nutrition. Students are then forced to find off-campus solutions for nutrition education. While physical education is meant to cover topics such as nutrition, students rarely learn about the topic and how they can implement it into their everyday life.

The school offers a single culinary class to educate students about nutrition and this leaves many in the dark. In order to seriously attempt to teach students about nutrition, more culinary or nutrition classes should be offered, and physical education classes should devote time to discussing how different diets affect the body.

When diets and deities align

By Megan Tieu

As a Hindu, junior Hritika Chaturvedi was taught from a young age that “the human body is not a burial ground for animals and birds,” and that one should adopt a vegetarian lifestyle to prevent the harm of animals.

“My nuclear and extended family are all vegetarian,” Chaturvedi said. “Our religion believes that the methods of food production must be acceptable in terms of nature, compassion, and respect for other life forms.”

This vegetarian lifestyle traces back several generations and is mostly a result of her family ranking and religion.

“My ancestors and I belong at the top of the caste system—the Brahmin class,” Chaurvedi said. “Brahmins pursued reputed occupations, such as teaching and doctory. We were teachers, not fighters in the army, and thus, did not need a muscular build.”

Chaturvedi said that the best diets are dependent on the quality of the food, which is irrespective to the type of food a person eats, whether it is vegetarian, vegan, or nonvegetarian. To her, one of the many wonderful aspects of being vegetarian is the Indian cuisine, which primarily consists of plant-based dishes.

“My favorite recipes include that of my mother’s plates,” Chaturvedi said. “She combines many dishes unique to
distinct regions and traditions of India. All such are absolutely delicious.”

However, being a vegetarian comes with some inconveniences. She often experiences times where it is hard to find restaurants accommodating to a vegetarian diet. Many vegetarians also lack some necessary nutrients, such as Omega-3 and protein, that are more so found in meat.

“My family and I consume lentils and dairy products with nutrients that would otherwise be found in meat and broth,” Chaturvedi said.

According to Chaturvedi, adopting a vegetarian lifestyle comes with plenty of environmental, health, and economic benefits that ultimately outweigh the cons. For example, she and her family have contributed to the reduction of global warming by not consuming meat. In addition to helping out the environment, vegetarians are also less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease, certain types of cancer, and obesity.

“Although not absolutely applicable to all who belong to the world’s vegetarian population,” Chaturvedi said, “the benefits of vegetarianism [include] a lowered saturated fat and cholesterol consumption, an extended life span, and a lowered risk of developing certain cancers.”

Having been a vegetarian her whole life, this is a lifestyle for Chaturvedi and is something she has no intention of
changing in the future. The best notion associated with vegetarianism, she said,  is knowing that no animal has been slaughtered for her consumption.

Survey:

Outlook on body positivity

by Katie Phan

In response to the media’s obsession with unrealistically thin bodies, the body positivity movement has emerged. It is the belief that people of all body types are accepted, worthy of self-love, and deserving of respect from others regardless of size and shape.

Activists challenge diet culture and fatphobia while working towards the representation for an array of diverse bodies. By doing so, they work to empower marginalized people, such as those who are plus-size, transgender, or of color.

Body positivity is more about mental health than physical health. It is about embracing bodies, rather than feeling as
though one does not fit societal standards of health and beauty. When people respect and love their bodies, regardless of imperfections and insecurities, they develop a more positive attitude regarding their self-worth. In doing so, they may be more inclined to practice a healthier lifestyle.

As more companies begin to feature plus-size models in their advertisements, there is more diversity in media representation. As a result, the way in which the body is presented and viewed by society has changed. Unsurprisingly, the body positivity movement has incited conflicting responses from many people. Many critics give body positivity the negative connotation that it promotes and normalizes being obese and unhealthy. As a result, there is a genuine fear that increased body accept overweight people from recognizing the health risks that are associated with obesity. Nevertheless, the main goal is for people of different body-types to feel more secure in their appearance and perceive themselves as good enough.

Though body positivity is a multifaceted issue, it preaches the idea that it is only right that people should not be ridiculed for their weight and dietary choices. People must realize that there is a difference between teaching health awareness and flat-out body-shaming.

The message of body positivity is simple: society must stop sending toxic messages about being overweight and should instead show that everyone has a right to exist in the world without incessant ridicule and shame.

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