Tag Archives: vegetarianism

Words to live by

It was the end of a weekend-long conference for librarians and they were enjoying a celebratory awards banquet. Their spouses were included as were some authors who were seated at random tables and encouraged to chat with the librarians. Being an author, that’s how I found myself waiting for a meal, surrounded by strangers.

This event goes back fifteen years. For dinner we’d been given a choice of salmon or beef. I’d chosen salmon but had noted that there wasn’t a vegetarian option which would have been my preference.

When the meals arrived I was surprised to see that the man beside me received a plate of pasta, and it looked delicious.

“I didn’t know pasta was an option,” I said, trying to mask my plate envy.

“I requested a vegetarian meal,” he said, which I thought bold as he was simply the guest of his wife, a librarian. Being the cowardly person that I am, and being a guest, I wouldn’t have wanted to rock the boat so if I’d been served a meat other than fish, as had happened in the past, I would have given it to someone else and filled up on bread.

In those days I was always delighted to meet another vegetarian, we were so few in number, so I asked this man how long he’d been eating plant-based. I’d noted that his wife had chosen the beef option.

“Just a couple of months.”

“Really! What inspired you to take the leap?” I asked, truly curious about why some people adopt a plant-based diet even when their partners don’t. I know from experience that it makes meal planning more complicated.

“One day,” he said, “I just decided that enough was enough.” He didn’t elaborate, just tucked into his meal which I must say smelled as good as it looked. He gave me the impression that he didn’t want to discuss the topic further so I began to eat my own meal, wishing I’d also been brave enough to ask for a vegetarian option.

Enough is enough. 

That’s all he said, but his words have stayed with me over the years. I didn’t ask, but clearly he’d seen and heard the literature that promotes plant-based diets. He’d likely learned about the horrors of factory farming and the significant contribution of beef agriculture to global warming. So why don’t more of us say that – enough is enough – when we realize that our behaviour and lifestyle choices are incongruent with the health of the planet?

If it were only so simple. Life is complex. Systematic change is difficult. We don’t think that our individual actions will make a difference.

But that quiet man, that lone vegetarian at the long banquet table, he decided that he was no longer going to stick with the status quo. His individual action impressed me. Our actions speak louder than words. He didn’t feel the need to explain his choice, except to say those three words. And because of people like him, vegetarian and even vegan options have now become mainstream.

Enough is enough.

Words to live by.

Going Meatless

vegetarianism2What do Ghandi and McCartney have in common?


For the 20+ years that I have been a vegetarian I have tried not to push my views on anyone else. I felt it was a personal choice, and everyone has to make up their own minds about how they want to live and eat. But times have changed. Most of us now know the devastating effects of factory-farming on the environment. Many people are adopting eating practices like Meatless Monday, or Vegan before Six. It’s a start, and definitely a shift in the right direction.

While doing some research I was delighted to come across a list of quotes by many of the world’s greatest thinkers who are also vegetarians – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mahatma Ghandi, Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein – to name just a few. There are also some famous entertainers – Paul McCartney, Richard Gere, and even Alex Baldwin.

I am in good company.

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”
Paul McCartney

“You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

As custodians of the planet, it is our responsibility to deal with all species with kindness. People get offended by animal rights campaigns. It’s ludicrous. It’s not as bad as mass animal death in a factory.” Richard Gere

Every time we sit down to eat, we make a choice: Please choose vegetarianism. Do it for animals. Do it for the environment and do it for your health.” Alec Baldwin

To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body.” Mahatma Gandhi Continue reading