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L.Srikumar Pai
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October 1: World Vegetarian Day

Reflections-By Dr Rajan Philips

( This motivational article was published in Oman Observer , one of the leading Newspapers in Oman. The article is reproduced with the permission of the author )

World Vegetarian Day, October 1, is the annual kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month. Make a difference this October by informing others about the benefits of vegetarianism. You will be helping to create a better world because vegetarian diets have proven health benefits, save animals’ lives and help to preserve the Earth.


Reflection - Dr Rajan Philips - 'V" for Vegan

FOOD is a basic human need. The kind of food we have may be a matter of personal choice based on our likes and dislikes. But is also dictated by cultural, climatic and health considerations.

What is popular in one part of the world may be totally novel or unwelcome elsewhere. So much so there are astounding diversities and contrasts so that the proverb, ‘One man’s food is another’s poison’ is not much of an exaggeration.

With the world shrinking into a global village many of these ‘food barriers’ may be steadily crumbling. But significant differences do remain.
These were some to the thoughts that came to me as I reflected on the significance of the World Vegan Day (WVD) being observe today.
Veganism is a form of vegetarianism where the use of all animal products including eggs and dairy products are avoided.

WVD is an annual event established in 1994 by Louise Wallis, the then President of the Vegan Society, UK. The day in fact marks the culmination a month long Vegetarian Awareness campaign that kicks off on October 1 (World Vegetarian Day.)

The proponents of this movement endeavour to create awareness on the benefits of vegetarianism. This includes positive impact on health (by reducing risk of serious diseases like cancer and heart problems), the environment and animal welfare. Geenhouse gases will decrease. It also reduces our carbon footprint, the amount of waste produced and the pollution of the air. It can also ensure better conservation of water .

It is believed that vegetarians generally live longer than meat eaters. The food grown can be better used to feed the hungry since quite a good proportion of it is consumed by animals that are reared for meat. It is estimated that 15 times the weight of animal feed is required to get one kg of meat.

Adopting vegetarian diet is also a clear statement against cruelty to animals. A great thinker rightly said that if slaughter houses had glass walls more and more people would take to vegetarianism.

Famous people like Gandhi , Einstein and singer Paul McCartney are examples of committed vegetarians who motivated others to follow suit.

The vegan society and its supporters suggest that people take to a meat-free diet for the month or at least one day in a week to begin with. They hope once people realise the positives, it would become a habit. The message is conveyed through colourful posters displayed in public places and supporters wear informative vegetarian message on say the T-shirts.

They also arrange to screen related documentaries or films. On a more practical plane some of them would host a potluck, or a vegetarian meal at home or a restaurant. Vegetarian spokespersons are invited to present talks and workshops.

Bookstores are urged to set up a display of vegetarian cookbooks and to offer special discounts throughout the month. Libraries (public, college, or school), are called upon to display books on vegetarian titles. They encourage restaurants, to support and publicise their vegetarian options,

For those who are habitual meat eaters a total change over to vegetarianism is a Herculean task. It may require real determination or circumstantial compulsions like strict advice by doctors to stick to a vegetarian diet for heath reasons. Whatever the reasons the practice is bound to bring in multiple benefits.

Those who do not have the will power to make a complete U turn, can and should try out the change once a week and gradually step up the effort so as to reap greater benefits.


Articles by Dr.Rajan Philips

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