Healthy or Trendy?

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[ot-caption title=”Students enjoy their healthy lunches served in the PC cafeteria. (via, Rose Rothschild, freshman)”]

Trends come in all shapes and sizes.  In lower school, being “trendy” meant bringing plastic bags filled with food erasers to the playground, or wearing a wrist full of silly bands. In high school, fashion prevails, with style trends ranging from backpacks to hairstyles. But this year, there is a trend sweeping through Pine Crest that may be here to stay: the health craze.  It seems that these days, it is more likely to see a Pine Crest student eating an acaí bowl than a cheeseburger.  And the trend does not stop at school.

In 2009, less than one percent of Americans considered themselves vegetarian or vegan.  Ten months ago, the number has changed to five percent, or sixteen million Americans who have stopped eating meat, and even dairy products. Going gluten free seems to be another trend in the food market right now.  Twenty one percent of Americans are currently attempting a gluten free diet.  The percentage of people who have celiac disease and are therefore forbidden to eat gluten in order to live a healthy life reduces to one percent. With motivation ranging from health, morality, religion, or even for a little lifestyle change, millions of people have adapted these new diets.

All around Pine Crest, students can be seen refraining from eating gluten, meat, or even animal byproducts entirely.  Sometimes these changes last for years or even for life, but often, students do this for only days or weeks at a time. Caroline Adkins, a sophomore on the lacrosse team, states, “I tried to stay away from meat for about a week once, but I found it really difficult to stick with.  I wasn’t eating as much because of all of the restrictions, and I was always hungry.”  This seems to be one of the dangers of being a vegetarian.  Without knowing the proper way to stop eating meat, students will not receive the nutrients they need.  Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas explains, “If you do not have a plan in place for getting the nutrients found in animal sources through vegetarian sources, you can come up short on protein, B12, calcium, vitamin D and others.”

Senior Sam Baizan of the varsity volleyball team decided to take her health to the next level, becoming a vegan. “Going vegan made me realize that there’s so much more to food than I had previously thought my whole life. I think going vegan has made me more open to trying new things and aware of the impacts we can have on our environment.”

But drastic health measures are only one way to feel good and be healthy. Junior Ryan Fiedler has decided to eat healthier as his New Year’s resolution.  “I feel better when I’m eating healthy.  Especially after working out for lacrosse, running or exercising feels so much better when I’m eating right.”  So whether this trend lasts or turns out to be just another fad, it’s important that everyone know his own body.  Diets work differently for everyone, so getting the nutrients you need is most important.

Sources: Huffington Post. Everyday Health, The Raw Food World