October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, during which dedicated vegetarians and vegans step up their game to inform others about health and humane benefits of going meat-free and to get omnivores to try eating a vegetarian diet.
The North American Vegetarian Society also aims to make it worth your while financially. The group is urging meat eaters to take a pledge to go meatless this month; those who take the pledge on the society’s website have a chance to win cold, hard cash, as much as $1,000 if you make it the whole month, according to the Dallas Observer.
On one hand, it seems smart to appeal to people’s desire to win cash; on the other, it feels a little like being bribed to eat vegetables.
It seems there’s more fodder each year for foodies who promote the joys of meatless eating, especially in recent years, as more restaurants realize a need to sell at least some vegetarian and vegan dishes. The Humane League of Philadelphia hands out a window sign that says “Vegan Options Inside” to every eatery that proclaims so, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.
“Since our mission is to reduce animal suffering as much as possible and save as many animal lives as possible, getting the message out to people about the vegan options in restaurants and grocery stores was a natural,” said Lydia Chaudhry, media director for the group, which passed out about 250 stickers in its hometown and a few hundred more in Boston, Baltimore and New York, the Daily News reported.
The newspaper is building on that idea with a photo contest that runs through the month, giving away dinner for two to the sharp-eyed reader who submits the most photos of local restaurants with the word “vegetarian” or “vegan” prominently displayed on signs.
The Huffington Post took another approach, providing science-based reasons it’s good to eat a vegetarian diet, especially when it comes to blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, some types of cancer and even bad mood. Of course, the story ends with a slide show of 35 celebrity vegetarians, but the slides detail the celeb’s reasons for giving up meat.
Whether it’s a concern for animals, the promise of cash, a sincere desire for better health or an urge to emulate Alec, Ellen or Alicia, more Americans are at least cutting back on meat, as Kathy Freston wrote in The Huffington Post last year. Freston cited studies documenting a drop in meat eating in recent years. She also pleaded with restaurants to put something more substantial than grilled veggies and salad on the menu.
Is your restaurant commemorating Vegetarian Awareness Month? Are your guests ordering more meatless meals? Tell us in the comments.