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World Vegetarian Awareness Month

Words: Emma van Braningen

October 3, 2011

I’ve been a vegetarian all my life and often receive skeptical looks because of it. This is especially true in South Africa, a country known for its meaty diet. People often ask me how I can do it, proclaiming that they could absolutely never live without meat. And yes, being a vegetarian is undoubtedly a lot easier for me having never really experienced meat, but surely one meat-free day won’t be the end of a carnivore’s world? It would, however, have an astronomical effect on our world as a whole, in many more ways than one. In light of World Vegetarian Awareness Month and the just-passed World Vegetarian Day on 1 October, we give you a couple of tips as to why and how to be a vegetarian – even for one day.

Though many people are very skeptical of this, a largely vegetarian diet is in fact healthier. It reduces the chances of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Harvard Nurses Health Study revealed that a vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of the widely prevalent illness by 20-30%.

Vegetarianism also has an unbelievable effect on the environment, as the meat industry is one of the largest contributors to Greenhouse gasses. An American study showed that if US citizens observed one meat-free day a week it would do as much good as removing 7.6 million cars off the road. Then there’s the ethical argument – one has to think of the millions of animals kept in the most inhumane conditions imaginable.

When people always ask me what I eat as a vegetarian, and how I can possibly do it, my response is that it’s really not that hard! There are tons of recipes on the internet. I often make pastas with Napolitano sauce and roasted vegetables with added nuts for protein, or a cinnamon couscous with artichokes and pine nuts. The options are endless for even one easy meat-free day that can go a long way.

Check out five fabulous vegetarian celebs by clicking through our gallery, above.

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