Food talks: What your diet says about you

Food Talks Photo used under Creative Commons License
Food Talks
Photo used under Creative Commons License

Summer Howard, Staff Writer

   Have you ever felt terrible while eating a hamburger next to your vegetarian friend who is munching on a salad? Don’t put yourself down; like many other things in our world, what we eat can be shaped by our personalities and our upbringings. But what exactly does our diet say about us?

   Recent studies show that vegetarians’ personalities depend on where you live. In America, the majority of participants who were vegetarians expressed more liberal opinions in regards to environmentally concerned questions than their companions who are omnivores. However, when asked questions about their views on the environment and authority, “there [were] no significant difference[s] between vegetarians and non-vegetarians” in some places, like India.

    This is despite the fact that India has at least 17% more vegetarians compared to America. Because Indian society reinforces the belief in not harming nature through its multi-religious culture, (that of Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism) it’s no surprise that regardless of whether or not you’re a vegetarian in India, you’re most likely environmentally friendly. In contrast, vegetarians in the United States are classified as the tree-huggers. Consequently, vegetarians are labeled differently based on their cultural backgrounds.

   For vegans, who do not eat or use any animal products, there hasn’t been any prominent research showing trends in opinions and practices. Since vegetarians and vegans have a similar (but definitely not the same) diet, it can be assumed that a vegan is seen as more concerned about nature in America and seen as a person with just a different diet in other parts of the world.

    This assumption, however, still can have much to do with the upbringing of the person, because our background shapes our personalities and views of the world. Personally, I believe that vegetarians and vegans are not simply advocates for animal rights but advocates for healthy living, typically making them very charismatic personalities.

   Like vegans, omnivores have not been studied based on their decisions in correlation with what they eat. Many people might state that, as a generality, omnivores do not care about nature. As an omnivore, the granddaughter of a farmer and a conservative, I can say that this stereotype is not true for everyone who eats meat and plants. I am an animal lover and enjoy hikes in national parks.

    While I realize these two things hardly make me a spokesperson for the environment, I think it is important for those of every diet to understand that omnivores can and do care about other life besides their fellow humans. As a result, I think omnivores can be classified as having caring personalities as well, despite the way they eat.

   The bottom line, therefore, is don’t judge a person by his/her diet.You aren’t just what you eat.

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