Vegetarianism: Popular Throughout History
Oct 08, 2013 10:10PM
by Lisa Zalenski
October is Vegetarian Awareness Month. It kicks off on October 1 with World Vegetarian Day, which was declared by the North American Vegetarian Society in 1977. Far from being a new phenomenon or the latest diet craze, the roots of vegetarianism stretch throughout history. Many of the reasons for not consuming meat today are the same as those in the past.
Pythagoras of ancient Greece taught that all animals, not just humans, had souls. As he abstained from meat, he encouraged others to experience the health advantages of a meat-free diet, and also put forward the view that eating meat provoked human violence. Modern vegetarianism is built upon this past and many today choose to be meat-free for health, spiritual and ethical reasons.
Notable vegetarians throughout history include Susan B. Anthony, Charlotte Bronte, Leonardo Da Vinci, St. Francis of Assisi, Albert Einstein, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Ford, Benjamin Franklin, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther, Rosa Parks, Plato, Albert Schweitzer, George Bernard Shaw, Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy and Vincent Van Gogh.
This year, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) named Kristen Bell as its sexiest vegetarian celebrity of 2013. Bell told PETA that while she was growing up, she had a difficult time disassociating the animals she cuddled with from the animals on her plate.
Some other well-known contemporary vegetarians include Cory Booker, Bill Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Anne Hathaway, Steve Jobs, Sir Paul McCartney, Martina Navratilova, Kevin Nealon, Jimmy Page, Justin Timberlake, Shania Twain and Kristin Wiig.
Lisa Zalenski is the Assistant to the Publisher at Natural Awakenings Magazine. She will be graduating from LIM College in December 2013 and will pursue a career in the eco-friendly lifestyle industry.