Most of friends know that I’m vegetarian, as is my yoga teacher/sleuth Kate Davidson. Why, you ask? Below are our top five reasons (and a bonus!).
- Vegetarianism is good for the planet. Those of us who live in Seattle should especially sit up and pay attention. Seattleites are known for their dedication to the planet. We reduce, re-use, and recycle. We ban grocery bags. Seattle Kayaktivists keep “big oil” from parking in our harbors. So why aren’t more of us vegetarian? Livestock generates 40% more greenhouse gasses than all of the cars, trucks, and airplanes in the world—combined! So while you’re riding your bike and lamenting the evil petroleum-based cars on the road next to you, know that putting pedal to pavement is only the start. That roast beef sandwich you’re eating creates way more greenhouse gasses than your evil neighbor’s SUV. And if you’re worried about wasting water? It takes up to 15 times more water to produce an ounce of animal protein than it does to produce the same amount of plant protein. Honestly, I don’t understand how anyone can claim to be an environmentalist and still eat meat.
- Going veggie is good for your health. The benefits of vegetarianism are well documented. Eating a plant-based diet helps prevent health issues ranging from obesity, to diabetes, to arthritis, to Multiple Sclerosis, to heart disease, to osteoporosis, to cancer. And you get way more vitamins from eating veggies than munching on Wilbur or Bessie.
- Going veggie is good for animals. All of you paleo dieters out there might argue that a meat-based diet has some health benefits of its own. But who on earth can argue that eating animals is good for the animal you’re eating? Love Fluffy and Fido? Pigs are of much higher intelligence. Studies show that chickens may be smarter than cats and dogs (though Tasha would strongly disagree with that assertion.) Cows are down-right sweet. And who possibly couldn’t love a baby goat? The lives of most livestock animals are downright horrific. I won’t go into it here, because it makes me cry. But I grew up on a farm. I’ve seen the cruelty, even from people I love. Anyone who claims to love animals should seriously reconsider their food choices.
- The world is getting more and more blessed with abundant, delectable vegetarian restaurants. I used to not even be able to order green beans without finding bacon bits scattered within. Now, vegetarian choices are everywhere. And if they don’t have veg choices on the menu, most places can create something special. Just ask!
- Vegetarian grocery shopping is easy! From prepared mock meats to fresh vegetables, to canned food, to frozen vegetarian entrees. The vegetarian options at many local grocers are nothing short of amazing!
The beauty of the yoga teachings is that they’re not prescriptive. However you choose to eat--whether you're vegetarian, vegan, or a died-in-the-wool carnivore, I encourage you to examine your food choices and eat in the most healthy, kind, and compassionate way possible.