Vegetarian Awareness Month! Because vegetarians are pretty all right  »

October is Vegetarian Awareness Month—did you know? We totally missed World Vegetarian Day on Oct. 1, too; whoops! Thanks to the SF Appeal for bringing it to our attention, otherwise we might’ve ignored it altogether. Who cares about vegetarians, anyway? All hung up on milk and cheese and eggs and butter, and then the ones who eat FISH and still call themselves “vegetarian,” come on already.

We should care about vegetarians, though. The biography of the average vegan includes time as a vegetarian: all making cheese omelets every day “to get enough protein” before you learned to cook/eat a balanced diet; assuming that if a product wasn’t literally made of meat it must be veg-friendly; na├»vely ordering in restaurants without inquiring about chicken broth or fish sauce—rare is the person who wakes up from an omnivorous diet to a vegan lifestyle.

Vegetarians are our pals! Most of them believe in animal rights, just like most of us vegans, and we need to stick together to fight for those beliefs. This month, take time to be extra-nice to your vegetarian friends and family. Their diet is still better than any omnivore’s! Cook them a delicious vegan meal, and if they want to put cheese on top of your pasta with vegetables, pretend you don’t notice (this time). Maybe buy them a vegan cheese to try! If they don’t like it, then you get it back anyway.

Justine Quart listed her favorite veg restaurants in San Francisco in the Appeal, and they’re pretty good! What are your favorite places/dishes? Where would you take your vegetarians, to tell them they’re awesome while hinting that they would be even more so if they stopped eating dairy?

The North American Vegetarian Society is holding a contest for the individual “with the most outstanding activity” and the group “implementing the cleverest outreach” during World Vegetarian Month. You could win free registration, accommodation, and meals at Vegetarian Summerfest ‘11, which—is a big deal? OK, it’s a big deal! To enter the contest, write a little essay explaining your reaching-out and how effective and smart and amazing you’ve been, and submit it by Oct. 30.

Now maybe you want to make dinner for those vegetarians? Or even those omnivores in your life? Maybe convince small children to eat new vegetables? How about seeing how many vegetarians/omnivores you can get to download—and use!—PCRM’s free 21-day Vegan Kickstart app? Yes, technically most of these suggestions are more vegan- than vegetarian-oriented, but if you’re doing nice things for your vegetarians, does it matter that those nice things also serve your hidden agenda? It’s not like it’s an evil hidden agenda.

If being a secret agent for the vegan lifestyle makes you a little uncomfortable, that’s fine (traitor, we will find you). How about just finding all your vegetarians and telling them that no matter how many times you’ve stood in front of the milks at the grocery store, yelling about the dairy industry’s terrible abuses, you respect anyone who doesn’t eat dead animals, and who does work for animal rights. Maybe throw in a hug, if you’re a hugger.* Vegetarians, we are Aware of you; and you really are all right.

*not everyone has a hugging relationship!

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