by Greg Allard

originally published in the Independent Alligator in 2011.

With rising costs of health care, a climate change crisis and a growing intolerance for those who lack human compassion around the globe, the idea of taking to a vegetarian diet is a thought process that more and more conscientious young people are considering.

I became a vegetarian more than 30 years ago. Now, at age 47, I consider it the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. Not only do I feel like I’m not contributing to the harm of defenseless creatures, but I also have an abundance of energy. People often mistake me for being in my early- to mid-30s.

As far as people’s reaction to being a vegetarian, we have come a long way over the last 30 years. When I first went anti-meat, I was often given the “are you from planet Weirdo?” look when I ordered out.

Now, I find that most restaurants have many vegetarian options and are quite conscientious about cross-contaminating with meat products.

Just the other day, I was in Barnes & Noble and noticed an entire section devoted to vegetarian cooking.

Now, if someone, on a rare occasion, gives me some flack, others look at him or her as if he or she is from the dark ages.

These days, in college towns and metropolitan areas, going veggie has become not only vogue but it also has become the ideal diet for people who consider themselves sensitive and artistic.

As a music writer, I find that a surprisingly large percentage of the musicians I interview are vegetarian.

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In 2010, the U.N. recommended a global shift to a vegan diet in order to help save the world from hunger, poverty and climate change. As a matter of fact, a U.N. report from just three years before cited factory farming as the No. 1 cause of global warming. Therefore, it just seems logical for anyone who is really serious about reducing his or her carbon footprint to go veggie.

It is not a stretch to imagine more people turning to vegetarianism 30 years from now as the evidence of its benefits mount.

And if the consciousness of human beings continues to evolve, perhaps 150 years from now we will look back on raising animals for slaughter and consumption with the same disdain we now look back on the issue of human slavery.

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