World Guide to Vegetarianism
Millions of people around the world practice vegetarianism, a diet and lifestyle related to the restriction or elimination of animal products. There is a range of different ways to practice vegetarianism; just as broad is the spectrum of reasons why a person might choose to adopt it. Many are concerned about the treatment of animals in modern factory farms and similar operations. Others stress the environmental or health benefits. Regardless of the reasons, vegetarians can be confident that, over the last two decades, options for vegetable-friendly dining have increased worldwide. Now, there are vegetarian associations, eateries, and resources to be found in virtually every country on the globe. This guide is an introduction to the support and information available to the globe-trotting vegetarian.
Through Australia may not have as many vegetarian-friendly dining options as some other countries, it does have a vibrant support structure of vegetarian societies that trade information on new dining venues, recipes, and events. Throughout Asia, the story is mixed. Many Asian countries have traditionally depended heavily on staples like rice that are, of course, vegetarian friendly. However, meat has become more common in many areas and there are some regions with fewer vegan resources than others. Careful planning is required for the strict vegetarian who plans to country hop in the region.
Generally speaking, Canada has been a big part of the upward trend in vegetarianism that the United States has experienced. In major cities throughout Canada, the savvy diner is likely to find a fair variety of stores and restaurants catering specifically to vegetarian tastes. There are also many voluntary associations of vegetarians distributing information and holding awareness events (and delicious feasts!) throughout the country.
Europe is, as it always has been, a vibrant patchwork of sometimes contradictory customs. There are no large, overarching vegetarian organizations, and the level of support for the herbivorous lifestyle differs from place to place. The United Kingdom is particularly strong, but much of continental Europe maintains its connection to traditional foods that may be heavy on dairy, as in the French case, or meat, as in the German. However, with versatility and a creative spirit, it’s definitely not impossible to remain a vegetarian while roaming Europe and the Mediterranean.
In many ways, the United States has been the center of what is now a worldwide movement. Though there are certainly differences from state to state, major metropolitan areas can usually be expected to host a vegetarian-friendly eating venue or two, along with a grocer that offers whole foods. Even restaurants that aren’t geared toward vegans specifically often have options that are suitable, and special arrangements can usually be made to prevent the use of animal products such as oils in the cooking process. As such, there are strong vegetarian associations in every state, and a large range of options.
The status of vegetarianism in the rest of the world is as varied as the countries and regions themselves. Wide support for vegetarianism depends on a variety of factors: the variety of produce available, traditions in cuisine, the level of international exchange, and more. Before heading to a new place, it’s always wise to do some research to ensure that you’ll be able to get the kinds of foods that agree with your life choices.
Vegetarianism offers a lot of delicious recipes and culinary opportunities, but the lifestyle that millions of people have built around it doesn’t end there. There are all kinds of other resources for vegetarians, ranging from the social to the spiritual. These are the sites that don’t quite fir anywhere else – check them out for all your other veg-related interests.