Photo credit: Martha Lear
It is finally October, and that means it is finally fall! I love fall. Pumpkin spice lattes are back, the weather gets chilly (yes even in Los Angeles), and best of all, it is also the start of Vegetarian Awareness Month! Some background on this delightful month: World Vegetarian Day was started in 1977 by the North American Vegetarian Society (aka NAVS). It is also endorsed by the International Vegetarian Union. I honestly didn’t even know we veggies have an International Union. Go team! The website has a ton of information for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. The focus of this month is, first and foremost, to inform people about vegetarianism. As an interesting side note, they also offer a contest for non-vegetarians who go meat, fish, and fowl free for a day, a week or even the entire month of October. If you win the $1,000 prize, you have to share it with me since I told you about it!
Finally, the main goal of Vegetarian Awareness Month is to explain why vegetarianism is important to YOU personally. For me, whenever I mention that I’m a vegetarian, everyone always asks me the same three questions:
1) How long have you been a vegetarian? This one is easy. I have been a vegetarian for 11 and a half years, soon to be 12.
2) Why are you a vegetarian? Do you love animals? Or do you just hate meat? The short answer is both. Growing up, I was not a big meat eater. We never ate fish at my house because my mom, who is the cook, doesn’t like it. Red meat was rarely served, pork was never served. Chicken was the reigning meat in my house, and almost 12 years later, I don’t miss it. Animal treatment and a safe, healthy farm environment are also important to me. I’ve done my research on the mistreatment of animals and factory farming and it certainly doesn’t make me want to eat meat again. I do recognize that there is organic and free range meat available, and I hope someday that becomes the norm as far as meat production and animal treatment go.
3) What do you eat? Another easy one! If you are looking for tasty vegetarian dishes, you have come to the right blog! I post once a month about what I eat. Mostly, it is lots of veggies, a handful of fruits, and various protein substitutes. Greek yogurt (which is very high in protein, and luckily also delicious), organic free range eggs, various types of beans (garbanzo is my favorite), and of course tofu. I love to cook and bake, and I have yet to meet a vegetable I don’t like. I love to shop locally at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market, and Trader Joe’s, which also carries local California produce. Someday, I want to have a garden to grow my own vegetables.
Be sure to check out the wealth of information on the NAVS website, the Holistic Nutrition Degree site, as well as the Vegetarian Awareness Month website. I leave you with NAVS’s list of benefits of vegetarianism:
- Reduce the risk of major killers such as heart disease, stroke and cancer while cutting exposure to foodborne pathogens
- Provide a viable answer to feeding the world’s hungry through more efficient use of grains and other crops
- Save animals from suffering in factory-farm conditions and from the pain and terror of slaughter
- Conserve vital but limited freshwater, fertile topsoil and other precious resources
- Preserve irreplaceable ecosystems such as rainforests and other wildlife habitats
- Decrease greenhouse gases that are accelerating global warming
- Mitigate the ever-expanding environmental pollution of animal agriculture
What is your favorite fall vegetarian dish?