Most of my yoga students know that I’m vegetarian. I rarely try to influence other people’s food choices, but this weekend I’ll be hanging out at Veg Fest at Seattle Center. So how can I not give a few reasons to go veg? Below are my top five reasons (and a bonus!) for being vegetarian in Seattle.
- Vegetarianism is good for the planet. 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.
- Seattle is blessed with abundant, delectable vegetarian restaurants. When I go home to Montana, I can’t even order green beans without finding bacon bits scattered within. Here in Seattle, vegetarian choices are everywhere. From vegan Thai restaurants like Arayas to entrees like my favorite black bean pita burger at the 74th Street Alehouse, I can almost always find abundant, delicious entrees at every Seattle restaurant. 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 PCC, Whole Foods Market, even my favorite corner grocer, Ken’s Market, are nothing short of amazing! And the best news yet? You can sample many of those same foods this weekend at Veg Fest!
And a Bonus reason: I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 25 years—long before I took my first yoga class. My food choices have nothing to do with yoga philosophy. Still, yoga supports them. The Yoga teachings ask us to live with ahimsa–non-violence. For me, that means eating vegetarian.
One beauty of the yoga teachings is that they’re not prescriptive. They ask us to evaluate our own values and live by them. But I ask you to think about it. I mean REALLY think about it. Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t guarantee that you won’t act out in violence. But can you honestly say you live in ahimsa if an animal died for your mid-afternoon snack? I know I can’t.
Regardless of your food choices, I hope you’ll come see me this weekend at Veg Fest at Seattle Center. I’ll be there talking about Whole Life Yoga and my Downward Dog yoga and dog-related mystery series. (Which, by the way, has a vegetarian sleuth!) I’d love to see you and give you a hug. And there are hundreds of delicious food samples to try.
Vegan ice cream. Can you say YUM?
I hope to see you there!