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Heroes

5 reasons why vegetarians can feel great about their meat-free lives

With help from a friend, here's a not-at-all-definitive list of reasons to say goodbye to bacon.

As a vegetarian, I'm told it's my duty to tell you that Oct. 1 is World Vegetarian Day! Salutations!

Hello, dear reader! Like billions of others on this pale blue dot of ours, I once ate meat. Lots and lots of meat.


My kingdom for a boneless chicken wing. *sigh* Photo by Parker Molloy/Upworthy.

But a couple months back, that changed.

The why isn't really important because the decision to change your diet is a highly personal one. But there are loads of great reasons why people mix it up as I did. What kinds of reasons? Well...

I'm a relative newbie to being vegetarian, so I reached out to a friend for some tips.

His name is Jamie Kilstein. He's a comedian and musician from New York. You may have seen his videos about LGBT rights, religion, and sexism featured here at Upworthy.

Oh yeah, he's also really into mixed martial arts. And he's sick of people asking him where he gets his protein from. Photo by Jamie Kilstein.

He's also vegan, so ... like, a super-vegetarian, and therefore obviously better than me. I asked him for five reasons someone should go vegetarian that have nothing to do with health (because hey, your body, your health). Here's what he told me.

1. Do you like animals?

This one's pretty obvious. "You know when you are supposed to be working but you're watching weird videos on Facebook of pigs sneaking into swimming pools and and rabbits attacking muggers or whatever weird crap is on Facebook?" Jamie asks. "Don't eat them!"

Also, LOOK HOW CUTE THE TINY LITTLE BABY PIGS ARE PLAYING WITH KIDS. Photo via iStock.

"We love animals, we love our cats and pictures of cats and everything cat, but there is such a dissociation between the cute animals we see and what we eat," Jamie told me. "Once you see a pig and learn they are smarter than dogs and just as sweet, it's harder to want to eat them."

Got it. If you like animals, then maybe don't eat them.

2. Stopping climate change which omg omg omg is going to kill us all.

If you list what contributes the most to climate change, you probably picture smokestacks, factories, Hummers, and stuff like that, right?

Mmmm, smog. Photo via iStock.

But really, the livestock industry contributes massively to climate change. Welp.


"Factory farms are such a huge part of climate change and you get to give them the finger when you don't eat their cut-up dead animals," he said, pointing out that if the world gave up eating beef, it'd actually have a bigger impact on carbon emissions than if we abolished cars. "It's so hard to make a tangible difference in this world, but this is a way to!"

3. Dope-ass food! No one craves raw meat.

Vegetarian (and vegan) food can be pretty tasty! Here's a picture of some vegan goodness from Jamie's Instagram page.

Tomato basil almond ricotta and more goodness! #vegan #veganfood #veganfoodporn #veganfighter #bjj #jiujitsu #thisiswhereigetmyprotein
A photo posted by Jamie Kilstein (@veganmma) on

"Even the people who say, 'Yo I'm paleo bro; do you even crossfit?!' don't eat like cavemen because cavemen didn't get their food at Whole Foods! You crave texture and sauces and smells," he says. "Ever since going vegan I've eaten such amazing different types of food I would have never tried before, and I feel amazing. The world isn't what it used to be where if you ask for a vegan option they angrily throw a tomato at you. Jump on Instagram and check it out!"

4. Human rights! Ending world hunger!

This was something that I didn't even think about, but Jamie is totally right.

Not quite sure exactly what this photo is supposed to represent, but it seemed to work. Photo via iStock.

"People always go, 'Well, why do you care about animals more than people?' That's not true! (Except for cats, remember number 1?) We could feed so many more people with a veg diet instead of feeding all of the crops to fatten up animals to feed less people. Plus the conditions on the factory farms and the kill floors for the workers would make you drop that burger pretty fast," Jamie said.

5. Knowing you are a better person than everyone! (OK, not really.)


"Right, Morrissey?! (Kidding) ((Kinda)) (((Not really))) TRY IT!"

Not ready to give up meat cold turkey? No worries! There are other things you can do to help.

Consider cutting back on your meat consumption. One great idea that's been getting a lot of hype lately has been "Meatless Mondays," which is exactly what it sounds like. Giving your body one meat-free day a week has some health benefits, but it also helps reduce the carbon footprint that goes along with our meat-eating world. It doesn't have to be all or nothing to make a difference, and the choice is ultimately up to you! Good luck!

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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