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We Can Eat Fries, Right?: Inspecting the "all vegetarians are healthy" myth 

Vegetarians can as healthy and as unhealthy as the average meat eater.

I have a good friend named Melissa. Like me, she is a vegetarian. Unlike me, she is a very thin person, a trait that is often attributed to the fact that she enjoys the meatless way of life. Every time I hear someone say, "Oh, she's a vegetarian, that's why she's so skinny," I laugh to myself.

And here's why: If one were to put together a short list of the primary components of Melissa's diet it would include french fries, Doritos, bean and cheese burritos from Taco Bell, more Doritos, fettuccini Alfredo, more Doritos and an occasional Orange Julius thrown in the mix, although I'm pretty sure she only drinks those to avoid getting scurvy.

My point here is not to make all of you hate Melissa for being metabolically superior, rather it's to shed light on this myth I so commonly hear perpetuated by my omnivorous friends - that all vegetarians are healthy eaters.

The simple truth is that, no, we are not. It's just as easy for us to make bad eating choices as the meat-eating faction of the population. Vegetarians can be overweight, we can have high cholesterol and, on top of that, a lot of us lettuce gobblers are also anemic. (We're so weak, we're definitely going to be the first to go in the zombie apocalypse.)

But I'm not trying to reinforce what you already think - that vegetarians are allegedly a weaker class of human than the rest - it's to draw attention to the problem this myth often creates. After hearing how "healthy" we all are, a lot of vegetarians begin to believe it, regardless of their actual diet.

I'm guilty of it myself; I constantly find myself justifying my Kobayashi-esque cheese intake with the fact that I don't eat red meat. Apparently, I've magically nullified the artery clogging properties of cheese by removing cow flesh from my diet.

So what can be done to combat this myth? Aside from joining the vegetarian health advocacy group I'm planning to start (once I can think of a clever enough acronym for it), the best thing I've found is to think like an omnivore. This way we have no excuse or justification to hide behind. French fries will pretty much always be bad for you, even if you're not having a burger with them. Unhealthy eating is unhealthy eating - no matter how you slice it - and being a vegetarian doesn't excuse us from this fact.

It does, unfortunately, mean that our grain-fed flesh is the first thing the zombies are going to want to eat when they take over. We're the Kobe beef of humans.

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