World Vegetarian Day

I suppose it’s about time that I write something about one of my own lifestyle choices.  I enjoy a dietary way of living that most of my fellow Northeast Nebraskans don’t really comprehend.  I do not include the flesh of any animals in my diet. I’m acquainted with only a very few fellow vegetarians in my town.  Today, though, maybe some Nebraskans might read this to satisfy their curiosity.  Today is World Vegetarian Day.

Back in 1977, the North American Vegetarian Society established October 1st as their day of celebration and solidarity.  In 1978, the International Vegetarian Union endorsed the North American day.  In addition, the world organization began Vegetarian Awareness Month, aka Reverence For Life Month,  which ends on November 1st.  That day is World Vegan Day.

World Vegetarian Day and Vegetarian Awareness Month is all about promoting the joy, compassion, and life-enhancing values of vegetarianism.  Many people are unaware of the environmental, ethical, health, and humanitarian benefits that a vegetarian way of life brings to light.

Back in 1966, I didn’t know of any organized groups or efforts to promote vegetarianism.  I was only a 14-year-old boy who felt compassion for animals.  At that time, I was a budding environmentalist, too.  Because I was a dependent child with two responsible, caring parents, I had my work cut out for me. I had to go against their beliefs in order to initiate my vegetarian way of life.

I had enough self-awareness to realize that my folks might believe that I was only going through some sort of phase.  I didn’t want any sort of adversarial, conflict to pollute the way I eat.  I knew that I might be judged as displaying rebellious, adolescent tendencies by becoming a vegetarian.  Certainly, I was quite a handful of rebellion in those days, in other situations.

Mom was the most difficult person to convince, but she understood that if meat was placed on my dinner plate, it would remain untouched.  Dad was somewhat indifferent.  I think he believed it was wise to just humor me as I went through one more teenage fad.  In the end, I became my family’s sole vegetarian.

Right away, I felt relief in my mind that I was doing the planet and our fellow creatures right.  No more animals would be killed on my account.  In retrospect, I think a lot of my teenage angst went away after I followed through on that decision.  It was my first major personal lesson in global ethics.

Being vegetarian is a great way to learn forebearance with my fellow humans.  Many times, I’d be a mealtime guest at a relative or friend’s home.  Invariably the vegetarian question would arise.  I’d be asked something like, “But of course you eat chicken, don’t you?” I’d have to patiently explain that chickens are animals and that I don’t eat animal flesh.  That generally settled the question.

However, there were those who persisted. “Well, you certainly must enjoy fish, don’t you?”  I explained, “No, that would make me a pescetarian, someone who eats meat, but that meat would only be fish.  I am not a pescetarian.”  Once they understood, most folks adjusted quite well.

Meantime, I found out that there were many other people who became vegetarians because of ethical concerns.  I researched many groups and organizations to see if I could merge my deep concerns with those of other people.  I found some interest in animal rights groups, but kept in the closet about that.  Plenty of Nebraskans harbor deep negative views about such groups.  Yes, I used to be a card carrying member of PeTA.  We parted ways after I decided to better concentrate my political energy into different issues.

I still find an abiding interest and curiosity in Deep Ecology, Animal Welfare and Buddhist Vegetarianism.  I finally found an ethical community to my liking when I began participating in Buddhist organizations and befriended several monks of various schools.

Now that I’m much older, I’m coming around to the desire to explore the health enhancing benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle more and more.  It’s just as easy to fall into unhealthy food choices as carnivorous eaters do.  I have middle age spread, so it’s past time to get serious about weight loss.

A few times each year, I go on a week long vegan diet.  It’s more difficult and more expensive to do this in my part of Nebraska than in many other locations.  I revert to my ovo-lacto vegetarian diet in short order because it’s easier and works for me.

There are lingering ethical concerns about dairy and eggs about which I think.  I buy free range eggs and use dairy from known organic sources to ease my conscience.  My long term goal is to become vegan.  To do so will take a lot of thought and planning.

I’m glad you got this far through this capsule account about my vegetarian lifestyle.  Perhaps you can experiment today and this month with more vegetarian meals.  I hope you can also raise your vegetarian awareness by looking into the ethics and morality of vegetarianism.

Ciao

The Blue Jay of Happiness likes a well balanced diet of seeds, grains and garlic bread.

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Controversy, cultural highlights, Health, Youth and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to World Vegetarian Day

  1. wartica says:

    Happy vegetarian’s day to you as well 🙂

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