Happy Vegetarian Awareness Month! If you’ve been toying with the idea of going meat-free, this month is the perfect time to start. Vegetarian diets have proven health benefits, save animals’ lives and help to preserve the Earth.
· 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
If you are a vegetarian and want to educate those around you, Vegetarian Awareness Month is a great time to raise awareness and encourage friends and family to join you in adopting a vegetarian diet. 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. 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.
If you are not a vegetarian, 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.
The North American Vegetarian Society is giving non-vegetarians an added incentive to go meat-free. Pledge to go meat-free during Vegetarian Awareness Month and you’ll have the chance to win up to $1,000. Even just one day will make you eligible for the drawing.
Non-vegetarians who pledge to abstain from all meat, fish and fowl will be entered in a random drawing for cash prizes. Click here to find out all the details.