INFOGRAPH: Are You a Vegetarian?

Look! These look tasty. They are not your enemies.
Look! These look tasty. They are not your enemies.

Apparently, the stars have aligned and it's Vegetarian Weekend here in the United States of Where's-The-Beef.

Today is Hug-A-Vegetarian Day, sponsored by those lovable but disturbed whackjobs over at PETA. Not content with trying to get fish renamed "sea kittens" and actually driving more business to a Santa Ana McDonald's by being completely indistinguishable from the usual sign-twirlers, they've designated an entire day dedicated to really uncomfortable greetings with total strangers.

("Hello! I noticed you ordered a Boca Burger, sir. May I give you a hug on this auspicious Hug-A-Vegetarian Day?")

Tomorrow is World Vegetarian Day, a holiday concocted by the North American Vegetarian Society. It kicks off the month of October, designated by that august association as Vegetarian Awareness Month.

The question is, what's a vegetarian? If you sneak fish now and then, are you still a vegetarian? (Answer: no.) If you just hate the taste of beef and lamb but have no problem with a quick stop for the Colonel's original recipe, are you a vegetarian? (Hint: no.)

We've devised a handy guide to whether you're a vegetarian or not:

Click for a larger version.
Click for a larger version.
Dave Lieberman

All snark aside, vegetarianism's not a bad thing. All of us could stand to eat a great deal less meat--though I will give up my steak when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers. Meatless Monday is a good start--just don't eat meat on Monday. It's not too hard to do, actually, especially in the peak of the harvest that we're in right now. I don't have trouble finding vegetarian and even vegan recipes to cook, and I refuse to resort to rubbery crap such as seitan and texturized vegetable protein.

Maybe don't go around hugging a vegetarian today. Maybe just consider dropping meat out of your meals once in a while.

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