Every year more and more people are embracing the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle, both for the increased health benefits that come from eliminating or limiting meat from their diet, and for the moral and environmental implications that come from doing so. Even if you’re practically an obligate carnivore, Independence from Meat Day is your opportunity to try a different kind of cuisine that focuses on not eating cute harmless animals. After all, it can’t possibly hurt to remove it from your diet for just one day, but it can help animals everywhere.

History of Independence from Meat Day

It’s no surprise that Independence from Meat Day falls when it does, on one of the most popular days in the world for grilling meat outside. Avid vegans and vegetarians are firm believers that eating meat is akin to an addiction, and the worst possible thing for our bodies and our environments. While science doesn’t hold out that eating meat is, in and of itself, dangerous to us by default, there are some strong arguments to be made, particularly as regards grilled meat.

On the part of being a danger to the world, however, there’s a whole lot of evidence to back it up. After all, the sheer amount of water used in the production of commercial levels of meat and animal products is utterly immense, as is the sheer amount of land it takes. It’s actually been estimated that cow flatulence accounts for far more greenhouse gas emissions than every car in the world combined. That’s more than a little significant.

Further, the char that forms on meat when it’s grilled has been shown to have a significantly higher rate of carcinogens on it than meat prepared any other way so grilled meat is, if nothing else, far worse for you than any other kind of meat preparation.

How to celebrate Independence from Meat Day

Well that’s where things get easy now, isn’t it? You just have to spend the entire day not consuming any meat. If this sounds like a fate worse than death to you, you certainly aren’t alone. However during our experiment, we really had a fantastic experience with rice crackers and a variety of blended hummus, and that was just the start of our cuisine.

We then took eggplant and grilled it after marinating it in a delicious blend of soy sauce and a number of spices, and used it in place of a hamburger. We were really surprised at how delicious eating vegetarian food could be! Of course, the day after Independence from Meat Day was the day we ordered a big juicy bacon cheeseburger, but now we enjoy crackers and hummus as a snack!

Independence from Meat Day twinned with Independence Day

Independence from Meat Day shares the same birthday as Independence Day. As such, the tradition isn’t to throw veggies in the oven and cover them in a peanut sauce. Watching aliens destroy the White House doesn’t feel the same without a plate of hot food in your hands.

So, it’s not the easiest holiday to observe, especially when you throw in Barbequed Spare Ribs Day for good measure. Still, you can use these events to your advantage.

Grill the vegetables

Veg has a stigma of being boring and not as delicious as meat. Of course, this isn’t true. The trick is to treat it with the same love, care and attention you would with a steak. Yes, that means firing up the BBQ and chargrilling the bad boys.

With seasoning and a hot sauce glaze (others are available, but this one’s our favorite), you won’t notice that the meat is missing.

Mix them with tasty sauces

Alternatively, veggies go perfectly with sauces as they soak up the goodness and go soft. Curry is a prime example for all the subcontinent-enthusiasts, while a stir fry will combine flavors with different textures. 

The incredible thing about these cooking styles is that the more veggies that crowd the pan, the more aromatic the dish.

Invite the whole family

Independence Day is a family occasion, so Independence from Meat Day must follow suit. Not only is it a healthier alternative for everybody, but sharing experiences will heighten the event. Make it a BYOB (Bring Your Own Barbeque) and everyone will arrive with contrasting dishes or variations of recipes.

Once the table is set, you won’t be able to tell the faux meats from the hummus and grilled corn!

Why does Independence from Meat Day matter?

Well, there is a straightforward answer – it teaches fantastic habits. Think about losing weight for a moment. People spend all year trying to shed a few pounds without hitting the back of the net. Compare this to research from the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in California, and it shows that meat-free diets encourage participants to lose 24lbs in a year.

It won’t happen in a day, but the holiday does show people that abstaining from meat is possible. Here are a few more benefits that are as effective as they are surprising:

  • Cutting costs: a vegetarian diet is cheaper by as much as $600 a year. Independence from Meat Day proves that becoming a vegetarian or vegan is doable, and so is spending less on groceries.
  • Passionate about cooking: vegetables need love to deliver the same punch as meats. As a result, more veggie-lovers are proactive in kitchens and develop a passion for cooking. Again, it’s an incredible way to reduce household expenses, but it’s also a fantastic hobby for mental health.
  • Exercise more: fatigue is a result of the body not having the correct balance of nutrients. Vegetables are packed with goodness, and that’s reflected under the hood.

Why not take part this year? You may never try it again, but you may change your lifestyle forever.

Extra Information

Dates
Every July 4th
Hashtag
Founded by
The Vegetarian Awareness Network in Knoxville, Tennessee

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