October is Vegetarian Awareness Month...and no, that doesn't mean you have to buy cards or gifts for the vegetarians in your life. It means you, as a meat eater, should spend a little time trying to understand why someone chooses to follow a vegetarian diet, and how such a choice affects other aspects of their lives.
One example is how some vegetarians also opt to eliminate
other animal products, such as leather or fur, from their lives. They may do
this because they feel that killing animals for the sake of clothing is
inhumane. These are compassionate people. What these people are not are zealots.
They do not leave pamphlets on your doorknobs touting the
re-emerging practice of Meatless Monday, a practice born of war. How ironic
that something that is now considered humane started from a most inhumane
Vegetarians do not gather in front of the meat counters at
supermarkets and terrorize those perusing packages of top sirloin or rump
roasts. They do not picket or protest or otherwise engage in acts of culinary
Vegetarians just don't eat meat. It's that simple, and that
complex. As anyone who reads this blog with any frequency knows, my daughter is
a vegetarian and has been all her life. Her father and I have teased her, good
naturedly, about this lifestyle choice, as she has teased us about our food
choices. But her decision, from the time she first started eating solids, to
reject meat has presented me with challenges that have proven to be
All of us in our family eat healthier because I've always
had to include meat free dishes in our family meals. When my husband was put on
a restricted diet because of his heart surgery, I was challenged even further,
but it would have been all the more difficult if I hadn't already been familiar
with cooking from a vegetarian point of view.
With food trends being so well-publicized now, thanks to
Food Network and Food Channel and all the foodie magazines, blogs and websites,
one would think vegetarianism would be no big deal. But as my daughter points
out in her blog post, "5 Ways to Help Vegetarianism While Not Giving Up Meat," some people still don't get it.
She tells of eye-rolls and heavy sighs, and people trying to
trick her into eating meat. Shame on them. Shame on them for their deliberate
ignorance and their disrespect. Food is essential to our lives, to our
well-being, and food choices are a part of who we are as sentient beings.
So take a little time this October to set aside any food
prejudices and make a few meatless meals, and offer to break bread with your
vegetarian friends. You just may find that they are presenting you with
culinary opportunities you hadn't yet imagined.