Vegetarian Food Recipe

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

History of Vegetarianism.

History of Vegetarianism.

You can probably give a pretty accurate account of exactly when that Ah-ha moment happened. When you decided a vegetarian lifestyle was the right lifestyle for you. But do you know where vegetarianism started and how it evolved?

It was the British Vegetarian Society that defined the lifestyle and coined the term “vegetarian” in the mid-1800s. Many historians believe early humans enjoyed a largely plant-based diet, as they were more prone to be gatherers than hunters.

Because meat was costly and difficult to store, fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, beans and legumes were a large part of the American diet until the Industrial Revolution. Refrigeration and transportation made meat less expensive and easy to store, dramatically increasing meat consumption and decreasing plant-based meals.

In 1971 Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe helped define and launch the vegetarian lifestyle in the U.S. More books followed as well as food co-ops, cookbooks, recipes, and restaurants, like the small restaurant in Mill Valley, CA that was the humble beginnings of Fantastic Foods.

But the myths prevailed. Many believed a vegetarian diet lacked adequate protein and took considerable time, effort and education to select and prepare nutritious meals.

Then, Diet for a New America by John Robbins ( was published in 1987 shattering the myths about the vegetarian diet. Robbins also provided a dietary link between the environment and our health and helped jumpstart the vegan movement in the U.S.

Many vegetarians have turned vegan, which got its start in Britain in 1844 by Donald Watson, founder of The Vegan Society (

For more historical information, read Heretic’s Feast by Colin Spencer and/or Vegetarian America-A History, by Karen and Michael Iacobbo.

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