October 1st is World Vegetarian Day, and October is Vegetarian Awareness Month!
It also marks my 21st anniversary of being a vegetarian (primarily vegan). I'm loving the change that I see in today's market compared to how things were when I first went vegetarian (well, actually, I first went vegetarian as a child, but I'm referring to when I again went vegetarian 21 years ago).
Today, there are so many options available that it's mind blowing to me. I stood in the plant-based milk section recently in awe of all of the choices. Quite honestly, there are so many choices available today that at times I don't know what to pick! It's a good position to be in. There is vegan butter, cheese, ice cream, veggie burgers/dogs, etc. The cruelty free alternatives are seemingly endless now. Most of these products didn't exist until recently.
I love how there are vegan alternatives for everything today, providing consumers with an option that is better for the animals, the planet, and themselves. I love that there are vegetarian and vegan restaurants today in most major cities and dining out is increasingly becoming easier. I'm excited about where the movement is going and look forward to seeing what the options and vegan food availability will be like another 20 years from now.
People often ask me why I'm a vegetarian. There are many reasons, but I'll keep it short and sweet and list the top two reasons:
- To reduce animal suffering and animal cruelty. Not eating animals is an act of compassion. I believe that peace begins on your plate.
- To help care for the environment. The meat industry is the most polluting industry on the planet, even more so than all of the transportation systems combined, according to the United Nations (who have been urging countries for years to reduce or eliminate their meat consumption because it is devastating the planet). The meat industry is destroying the rain forests, oceans, lakes, rivers, air, etc, and using a ridiculous amount of our natural resources to produce. Eating meat is not sustainable and is destroying our planet.
There you have it! Those are the two most important reasons to me as to why I'm a vegetarian and we are raising our kids to be vegetarian. Reducing animal suffering and caring for the planet are both altruistic reasons. As I child, it was solely for the animals that I was interested in vegetarianism. As an adult, I learned about how it was so harmful to the planet. This is why as an adult I made a life decision to become a vegetarian.
This week, someone posted this video online. I was brought to tears as I watched it, because I could relate so much: