Whenever my dad was away for dinner, my mom cooked hamburgers or steak. After a heart scare and one particularly bad lamb chop, he had sworn off red meat. When I moved out, I was excited to be able to eat it at home. But I found I didn’t like handling raw meat of any kind. And when I joined the world of WeightWatchers in my 20s, suddenly no meal seemed complete without a healthy serving of veggies.
So I wasn’t too far off from vegetarianism already when “the incident” happened. I watched a wounded cat go from living one minute to dead the next and something in my brain just clicked. From that moment forward, meat looked like dead animal to me. Nearly 3 years later, I still can’t eat it.
In a city where we put ham hock in anything we can and have a wildly popular fundraiser called Hogs for the Cause, vegetarianism isn’t always easy. Over the last few years though the choices have grown. Even omnivores frequent vegetarian establishments Seed and Sneaky Pickle and restaurants that serve meat also take good care of the veg crowd—Carmo, Nirvana, Dat Dog to name just a few.
The impacts of vegetarianism and veganism go beyond saving our animal friends from the slaughter.
- Vegetarianism can improve your health. Eating a vegetarian diet has been show to reduce your risk for cataracts, cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, obesity, and kidney stones. Studies show that vegetarianism may improve symptoms of psoriasis, reduce incidence of diabetes, and even improve one’s mood.
- Setting aside just one day per week as meatless can have a profound effect on the environment. The demand for meat results in higher water usage, greenhouse gas, and fuel dependence.
Even if you eat meat, you can show your support for the Humane Society of Louisiana at this year’s NOLA Veggie Fest. There will be speakers, music, and of course great healthy food. Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution will have a booth there so please stop by and say hi.