As you may have noticed, I have a soft spot for quirky holidays. National Butterscotch Pudding Day, Johnny Appleseed’s Birthday, National Cherry Popover Day–you name it, I’m celebrating. But novelty aside, I find some of these “holidays” very worthwhile. Case in point: Oct. 1–World Vegetarian Day.
World Vegetarian Day was established as an annual celebration to promote the joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism, according to the North American Vegetarian Society, which founded the day in 1977. The holiday was then endorsed by the International Vegetarian Union in 1978. World Vegetarian Day kicks off Vegetarian Awareness Month, so if you can’t celebrate on the first of October, rest assured, you have the whole month. Of course, there’s no reason to stop with just October.
Recognizing and celebrating World Vegetarian Day and Vegetarian Awareness Month is a fine way to help others learn about the benefits of vegetarianism, and NAVS points out the importance of a vegetarian diet with these benefits:
• Reduction of the risk of major killers like heart disease, stroke and cancers while cutting exposure to food-borne pathogens.
• Offers a viable answer to feeding the world’s hungry, through more efficient use of grains and other crops.
• Saves animals from suffering in factory farm conditions and from painful slaughter.
• Conservation of vital, but limited freshwater, fertile topsoil and other precious resources.
• Preservation of irreplaceable ecosystems, such as rain forests and other wildlife habitats.
• Mitigation of the ever-expanding environmental pollution of animal agriculture.
For non-vegetarians, there are still ways to celebrate World Vegetarian Day:
• Eat meat-free for the day or throughout the month.
• Learn how a vegetarian diet can benefit you personally.
• Try the meatless options available at local restaurants and eateries.
• Discuss vegetarianism with your interested friends, family and co-workers.
• Host a meatless meal or potluck for your friends.
• Eat meatless meals on a regular basis.
To get started, or to enhance your vegetarian repertory, see our archive of more than 380 vegetarian main meal recipes.
By Melissa Breyer, Senior Editor, Care2 Healthy and Green Living