Happy World Vegetarian Day, everyone! While you may not have ever heard of this holiday, it’s celebrated every year on October 1st by vegetarians across the globe. The holiday was originated by the North American Vegetarian Society in 1977 as a day for vegetarians to celebrate their healthy, sustainable diets and for non-vegetarians to learn about the lifestyle (World Vegetarian Day).
Today, I’m choosing to celebrate by telling the story of my vegetarian journey and why I love being a vegetarian.
My story starts out about four years ago, in my high school AP Environmental Science class. Prior to that class, I had never thought much about the impact that the meat-packing industry has on the environment, or even much about the environment at all. In that class, we watched just about every stereotypical vegetarian-diet-inducing documentary that exists-- “Food Inc.”, “Cowspiracy”, “What The Health”, etc. Not surprisingly, I was quickly influenced to try out a vegetarian diet. Even less surprisingly, the stint lasted for only about a week. But, my passion for the environment stuck with me long after AP Environmental Science ended.
It wasn’t until I got to college and started to take elective classes on environmental policy and climate science that I became truly serious about doing my part to help the planet. The summer after my freshman year of college, I decided to make the change. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I’d have to start shopping for my own vegetarian groceries, learn to cook vegetarian recipes and who knew what I would eat from now on at Thanksgiving! But today after being a vegetarian for 15 months, I can’t imagine my life without a plant-based lifestyle. By simply not eating meat for 15 months, I’ve saved 252 animals and spared 2,011 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere (Vegetarian Calculator). I’m inspired by vegetarians and vegans that have lived this lifestyle for years upon years, and I hope to one day go completely vegan.
But, what do you eat? Is a question that I often get asked. My answer is what don’t I eat! Marinated tofu, veggie burgers and of course fresh fruits and vegetables are my go-tos. I also love eggs and almond butter for some protein. Becoming a vegetarian has also exposed me to tons of new recipes and has grown my love for cooking. Check out some of my favorite vegetarian-friendly dishes!
So how exactly is the world celebrating World Vegetarian Day? Well, people all over the globe are hashtagging #WorldVegetarianDay on just about every social media platform, from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram. People are posting food pictures, recipes and their own stories of vegetarianism. Many restaurants and brands are also using the holiday to promote their own vegetarian offerings and connect with vegetarian fans via social media.
Even if you’re not a vegetarian, get on out there and celebrate #WorldVegetarianDay today, whether it’s by embracing meatless Monday, talking with a vegetarian friend about their lifestyle or just enjoying a yummy vegetarian meal!