Viewpoint – Vegetarian lifestyle benefits mental health


By Katelyn Needham/reporter

Natural remedies can be good for things like mental health issues. I am personally against medicating myself for my anxiety although I know that for some people it works great.

About two months ago, I decided to change my diet and lifestyle as a way to practice what I preach. I adopted a vegetarian diet — mostly — and a pretty regular workout regimen, and it has been the best thing I could have done for my mental health in years.

One of the biggest issues with eating better and attending the gym regularly is the cost. But there are ways to make healthy eating way more affordable. Being mostly vegetarian in and of itself saves money because meat can often be the most expensive item on a grocery list.

Another tip is to stick to what you know. Don’t go Pinterest-recipe-crazy because that’s a quick way to rack up the bill. Become best friends with frozen fruit and vegetables and learn what fresh produce is in season. Changing lifestyles also means saving money when you eat out as I don’t do it nearly as much.

The second biggest obstacle with changing your lifestyle is time. College is good for keeping a person busy. Between going to classes, doing homework, working, sort of sleeping and maintaining a social life, it can be hard to figure out where to fit the gym and cooking into that schedule. I found it easiest to bring my gym clothes with me to work and go straight after. That way, it was just something built into my daily schedule. Cooking is also something that may take time, but meal prepping allows you to make a whole week of food at once. That way when on the go, you can just grab your pre-made lunch and breakfast. This actually saves times when it all gets added up.

Helpguide.org, a website for mental and emotional health help, helps with depression just as well as medication, according to studies. Serotonin is the chemical in our brains that produces that happy feeling and combats both depression and anxiety. According to a Harvard health publication, 95 percent of serotonin is produced in the GI tract. Therefore, what we eat directly affects our mental health.

After just two months, I can strongly attest to that. I look better, and I feel better. In the long run, this is a lifestyle I want to keep for my sanity.



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