It is unbelievable how life flies by, seemingly more so the older we get. As I turn 40 today I reflect on the journey since becoming a vegetarian 36 years ago — a choice I made as a four-year-old. My decision was supported by my mother who was already conscious of animal cruelty but was feeding us meat because she felt pressure from others for her “radical” choices at the time.
The year I was born, 1970, was also the first Earth Day — a big step for people to make correlations between their actions and the planet’s well-being. For environmental and health reasons, and out of compassion for animals, I became a vegan 20 years ago. The world and the meat-free movement have changed much since I made those two dietary transitions.
Now with social media like Facebook and Twitter, vegetarians and vegans all over the world are in touch, relieving the isolation our unique lifestyle can bring. Many of us went from being called writers to being referred to as “bloggers” – who knew what that was until recent years? There are veggie blogs left and right; one can hardly keep up with all the information and inspiration.
Becoming a vegetarian today is much easier than a few decades ago. There are veggie events, great magazines like VegNews (celebrating its 10 year anniversary), cookbooks, restaurants, bakeries, and more. Food options have multiplied like crazy, and vegan cheeses have evolved from weird to delicious and capable of melting! There are many more types of energy bars, ice creams and other desserts without animal products.
As for veggie-friendly regions, San Francisco is in the forefront, having passed a resolution to observe every Monday as Vegetarian Day – urging local restaurants, schools and grocery stores to offer meatless options. May other cities follow soon. Let’s celebrate the huge strides we have made toward having a more compassionate world. That is the best birthday gift a lifelong vegetarian could ask for.
Photo by Navitas Naturals.