October is a busy month, food wise!
It is October Unprocessed (join me and take the pledge!)...Fair Trade Month...Non-GMO Month...and Vegetarian Awareness Month! And you thought you were busy...we are supposed to find time to actually eat this month, too!
Today is World Vegetarian Day, the kick-off to Vegetarian Awareness Month. I have been a vegetarian (with occasional "I am going to be protein-starved unless I eat this fish" lapses) since 1996. Over the years, my approach to eating has continuously evolved. As a teenager, I loved telling people all the horrible things about the meat they were eating...as I downed veggie dogs and candy. I got over the militant phase pretty quickly; it doesn't make you the life of the party. I also realized that taking a militant approach to vegetarianism was another form of violence - which I was trying to reduce in my life. Soon after I became a vegetarian, I started doing a lot of reading on yoga and Buddhism which solidified my thoughts on this path. Next stop in my vege-morphosis was the I-can-eat-it-as-long-as-it-has-one-veg phase. My early years in university were a steady stream of Annie's Macaroni and Cheese with a big pile of broccoli on top.
I would like to say that I had some grand conviction that led me to vegetarianism. In reality, my mother and I didn't eat a lot of meat to begin with (is it a girl thing?) and I really wanted to impress the saxophone player in my high school band. There. I said it. Oh, the days when you actually did things to impress a boy.
Vegetarianism still holds conviction for me: I believe in minimizing harm to living things, including our impact on the earth. I also believe that a plant-based approach is a healthier one. However, now I realize that it is not all-or-nothing. Each positive choice is a helpful one. And vegetarian-at-all-costs is not a winning formula to me. I strive for a whole plant-based approach. A life of white bread and veggie dogs is not kind to your body or the planet. Of course, into every life a little cheesecake must fall...
So today, on World Vegetarian Day, I wanted to send out a little love to all the plant-based peeps out there...the vegetarians, vegans and even the flexitarians. Here is wishing you peace, love and veggies for the month ahead. And for those of you that don't feel that a vegetarian diet is right for you...just through a little extra broccoli on your plate. It will do a body good.
PS...my newest book for Choices Markets, Beyond Broccoli: Plant-based Nutrition, will be out in the stores on Wednesday. I brought in some amazing collaborators such as Brendan Brazier, Dreena Burton and Brenda Davis RD. I hope you like it!