Each year on October 1, we celebrate World Vegetarian Day.
Established in 1977 by the North American Vegetarian Society, World Vegetarian Day was created “to promote the joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism.”
Events across the globe feature ecological projects, nutrition education and campaigns for the ethical treatment of animals.
In honor of the day and the month-long celebration, why don’t we get veg-ucated?
- Worldwide there are 375 million vegetarians. Estimates place the number of US vegetarians at 7.3 million adults or 3.2% of the population.
- Famous vegetarians include Leonardo da Vinci, Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, Sir Paul McCartney, Brad Pitt, Stella McCartney, Christie Brinkley, Alicia Silverstone, and Martina Navratilova.
- Vegetarianism has roots in ancient India; it is not surprising that currently 70% of the world’s vegetarians are Indians.
- Vegetarianism gained strength in the 19th century with the opening of the Vegetarian Society in Great Britain (1847) and in the USA (1850).
- In 2012, the Los Angeles city council unanimously approved a resolution that all Mondays in the City of Angels will be meatless for both environmental and health reasons.
- Plants produce 5-10 times more protein per acre of land than animals.
- Vegetarian diets are often less calorie dense, resulting in a lower overall calorie intake for the same volume of food consumed by non-vegetarians.
- It takes 150 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of wheat and over 4,000 gallons to produce 1 pound of meat.
- There are lots of ways to be a vegetarian. Depending on health goals, spiritual beliefs and ethical concerns, people choose the variation that suits them:
- Vegan: No animal-derived foods.
- Ovo-vegetarian: Eggs only
- Lacto vegetarian: Dairy foods only
- Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Dairy foods and eggs
- Pesco-vegetarian: Dairy, eggs and fish
- Semi-vegetarian: Dairy, eggs, chicken and fish
- The American Dietetic Association (ADA) states that well-planned vegetarian or vegan diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate for all age groups, and can help prevent and treat chronic diseases. Vegetarians tend to have lower body mass indices, rates of death from heart disease, blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure, rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and less prostate and colon cancer.
World Vegetarian Day Isn’t Just for Vegetarians
This day is for everyone, no matter their diet. Non-vegetarians can make up their own “vegetarian challenge” – eliminate meats for a week, a month, even a year, and try some delicious veggie recipes instead.
Here are some more great ideas to celebrate the day:
- Host a vegetarian pot-luck
- Watch some documentaries on vegetarianism
- Read up on the benefits of a vegetarian diet
- Try a vegetarian dish at your favorite restaurant
- Cook up some of your favorite vegetarian recipes
Vegetarianism is a very personal choice and there are many reasons why people choose this diet. Some prefer to eat a meatless diet to protect animals. Others simply like to avoid meat because they believe it is so much healthier.
But whatever the reason for choosing this diet in the first place, most vegetarians love to cook and discover new ways to whip up yummy meals—without the meat. Therefore, all vegetarians are united in their love of the latest recipe as they seek to combine nature’s bounty in new, delicious ways.
In this time-honored vegetarian tradition and in order to celebrate World Vegetarian Day (and Vegetarian Awareness Month) in style, we’d like to share with you today a very special Avocado Kiwi Salad With Fennel Vinaigrette recipe from Elizabeth’s Gone Raw.