Holiday season challenges student dieters

Kailey Blunk, Staff Writer

  Roasted turkey, baked chicken, and glazed ham rests on a buffet styled table. Next to the entrees lie warm sides made with tender love and animal byproducts.

  This holiday season, people around the world will struggle with eating their specialized diets.

  The downward spiral starts for vegetarians and vegans in late October when Halloween rolls around. Gummy candies, Mentos, Starbursts, Jello, and more all contain gelatin, which is derived from animal bones and tissues, according to Anna Vallery of One Green Planet.

  However, once the Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities start, it becomes even more difficult for most people.

  “Adhering to this diet affects me a ton during the holidays,” Rachel Holtz, freshman, who follows a vegetarian diet, said. “At Thanksgiving I can’t eat any turkey, and I have to read the ingredients in pies to make sure they don’t have any lard. At Christmas, all I can eat is mashed potatoes and salad, if they don’t have any bacon in them.”

  Vegetarian diets are not the only specialized diets that are inconvieniet for people during the holidays. There are other diets, such as weight control, belief-based, and medical diets. Taylor Carroll, junior, follows a Paleolithic diet, also known as the Cave Man diet.

  The Paleolithic diet follows the typical diet dated from the Paleolithic era. This means no dairy, almost no grains, no added salt or sugars, and no processed foods, as detailed by Dr. Loren Cordain.

  “I will have to restrain myself from enjoying desserts as well as other fattening foods throughout this holiday season,” Carroll said.

  The struggles of dieting do not only pertain to the holiday season. They can be hard all year round.

  Eman Naffa, senior, does not eat pork for religious reasons, but finds herself face to face with criticism from friends and other roadblocks.

  “I make sure I’m cautious of what I choose off the menu,” Naffa said. “Also, when I go to a friend’s house or party, I have to double check the meat that is used.”

  These students realize it is their choice to eat the way they do, but they would still appreciate some understanding.

  “To make the holidays better, we need people to include [food acceptible for] diets,” Gabby Tempko, junior, said.