By Dana Shultz for Diets in Reviews
Vegetarians and those interested in a meat-free diet will have some common ground to stand on this Monday. October 1 marks World Vegetarian Day, an event founded by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) to raise support and awareness for a vegetarian lifestyle.
The North American Vegetarian Society is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1974. According to their website, the organization has two focuses: To provide a support network for its members, affiliated groups and those who follow a vegetarian diet; and to inform the general public about the benefits vegetarianism provides to humans, animals and the Earth.
The group seeks to carry out these goals through various means, including a quarterly magazine, spreading their message via a growing body of publications, holding conferences, and providing resources and information to the media and other organizations that may take interest.
World Vegetarian Day was founded in 1977 and received official endorsement by the International Vegetarian Union in 1978. October 1 may be World Vegetarian Day, but it kicks off Vegetarian Awareness Month, which seeks to create “a better world because vegetarian diets have proven health benefits, save animals’ lives and help preserve the Earth.”
There are numerous ways to get involved in World Vegetarian Day this Monday, including displaying a free poster provided by NAVS in your community and, of course, eating vegetarian. There is also an opportunity for non-vegetarian eaters to win up to $1,000 if they pledge to go meat free in October. Pledging information is available on the World Vegetarian Day website.
In addition to founding World Vegetarian Day, the NAVS also organizes annual education conferences including the Vegetarian Summerfest, which is open to anyone interested in learning more about vegetarianism. The national event attracts 500-600 people of all ages wanting to know more about a vegetarian diet. Information on the topic is provided via lectures, classes and cooking demonstrations. Lecturers include leading figures in health such as top doctors, dietitians, chefs , authors and social activists. Information about this event can be found at the Vegetarian Summerfest website.
If those around you need more persuasion to try a vegetarian diet, there’s plenty of research backing its benefits. In a study conducted by the German Cancer Research Center, men eating a vegetarian diet were shown to have a 50 percent lower risk of early death, and women saw a 30 percent lower risk. Vegetarians also see lower risks of heart disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer, and typically weigh less and have more energy than meat eaters.
Share this convincing information with your circle of friends and family and ask if they’ll pledge to try out a vegetarian diet in October. If they do, their eating habits will not only benefit the environment and their personal health, but also save animals’ lives.