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If you live in a city like Los Angeles, it takes little to no effort to find a restaurant that caters to the needs of a vegan. Likewise, it takes no effort at all to find a fast food restaurant. Everywhere you look, it seems that there is either a McDonald’s or a Jack-In-The-Box at every corner.

However, regardless of whether you live in Los Angeles or not, the topic of vegan versus non-vegan is one many people seem to have an opinion on.

Vegans are often stereotyped as rich, food shaming, lettuce eating, evil people who do nothing but advocate for everyone to change to their lifestyle. Despite their positive lifestyle, they are often under fire by non-vegans who complain about how, “vegans are pushing their lifestyle onto those who don’t want it.”

People choose the vegan path for various different reasons. From health to ethical beliefs to environmental reasons, there is usually more than one purpose as to why a person decides on the vegan lifestyle.

However, the main reason people are most drawn to is health. While the cost of healthy food is the reason why some prefer a $2 McChicken, the first step to being healthy is learning about nutrition and its importance.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded program in which low-income elementary schools and families and seniors can participate in nutrition education programs. In addition to this, SNAP offers economic benefits to communities.

In a study done by Alatrum Institute, a health system research program, and RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, it was found that education programs will be much help to beginning to lead a healthy lifestyle.

“One of the most important findings from this study is that families want to eat healthy foods, even if they have limited resources,” said Loren Bell, the study’s project director to RTI International.

By implementing new programs or expanding existing programs such as SNAP, more and more low-income families can educate themselves, learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and omit fast foods from their diets.

Fast food is a quick and easy way to get a meal and while it’s convenient, something needs to be done about the millions of health issues that arise because of it. By implementing healthier options on menus, people will have a variety of items to choose from.

Despite the many meat items on fast food restaurants, specifically beef for hamburgers, meat is not always the healthiest choice. In recent studies, it was found that meat raises the chances of cancer and may cause difficulties in maintaining a healthy body weight, whereas a vegetarian diet will have a higher metabolic rate.

In recent years, McDonald’s cut down on the amount of french fries children would get and began to add apples, reported CBS News. If more and more restaurants slowly begin making changes such as these, it’s safe to say that there will be a rise in healthy eating.

Many may argue that this may be a challenge and that fast food restaurants were created for fast food and not healthy food. Big fast food chains worry that if they begin to offer healthier choices, their sales will decrease. If this was the case, then why are there still over 26,000 Subways in America alone? Why are Veggie Grills expanding their empire and opening new locations? People would rather continue selling fast, cheap junk food than open their eyes and realize healthy is not the equivalent to loss of money.

The more fast food chains that choose to adapt to providing healthier choices, the easier it would be for people to grow accustomed to eating in a way that will not only benefit them, but the environment as well.

The introduction of healthier food choices in fast food restaurants may not encourage everyone to become vegan. Some people may become vegetarian or even pescetarian. However, by being introduced to healthier choices and adapt to them, people may become more open minded to why others choose to be vegan.

Living a vegan lifestyle shouldn’t be looked down upon simply because they want the best for their own personal health. In fact, if more would take the time to try and see why a person is vegan rather than assuming they’re going to force a lifestyle on them, maybe there would less health issues.

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