Happy Vegetarian Awareness Month! Since 1977, the North American Vegetarian Society has declared October 1 World Vegetarian Day, and since 1978, it has been endorsed by the International Vegetarian Union.
The purpose of the day is to “promote the joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism. It also brings awareness to the ethical, environmental, health and humanitarian benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle.”
World Vegetarian Day kicks off Vegetarian Awareness Month, which concludes with World Vegan Day on November 1. That means you have a whole month to raise the awareness of those around you and encourage them to join you in adopting a vegetarian diet.
If you are a vegetarian and want to educate those around you, here are some easy ways to do that:
- Make a list of your favorite vegetarian restaurants, or those that serve favorite dishes, for your friends and family—or take them to one of them to see (and taste) for themselves.
- Share some of your favorite vegetarian recipes with your friends and family members. For me, part of the reason it has taken me so long to make main courses out of vegetables is because I am limited in my culinary skills. I need some good menu ideas to get going. Give them a recipe list, or make them one of your favorites and attach the recipe to it.
- Are you a gardener? Need to get rid of the last of your summer produce to make room for your cool season crops? If so, give those you love a basketful along with recipe and meal planning ideas. Not a gardener? Then shop at your local farmers’ market and give them a basketful from there.
- You can also organize a produce swap. This can be with friends and family or with other gardeners, to increase their awareness about the number of produce varieties to choose from.
Next: how to celebrate World Vegetarian Day even if you’re not vegetarian
If you are not a vegetarian, but, like me, are increasingly eating more vegetables and less meat, here are some tips for you:
- Observe Meatless Monday. This is a growing trend, and is a perfect way to kick off the month by eating meat-free for Vegetarian Awareness Day. You can also try to do this throughout the month and have a variety of vegetables to keep your diet interesting.
- Educate yourself about the nutritional benefits of a vegetarian diet and find out the other ways that it can benefit you.
- Go for one whole day as a vegetarian and tell friends and family you are doing this.
- Host a meatless meal or potluck with your friends. This will help all of you get more tasty recipe ideas and become familiar with different veggies.
- When you dine out, try the meatless options and encourage your friends to do the same.