I encourage everyone to be veggie for one day and then perhaps challenge yourself to be more veggie aware for the entire month. As yogis, many of us practice vegetarianism because of the first Yama (Ethical Codes) which is Ahimsa. Ahimsa dictates non-violence in every form, (thoughts, words, actions) towards all sentient beings. But there is much controversy on the "need" for meat. Here is an article from Yoga Journal that discusses this very thought.
The debate over whether or not vegetarianism is an intrinsic part of the yogic lifestyle is not new. For centuries in India the movement towards peaceful coexistence with animals, influenced by the belief in reincarnation, conflicted with the tradition of animal sacrifice set forth in the Vedas. This debate perhaps even contributed to the branching out of Vedic thought into the peaceful philosophies of Buddhism and Jainism. In current times the complicated questions remain. This Friday, October 1, is World Vegetarian Day and the beginning of Vegetarian Awareness Month. Make a commitment this month to learn more about the health benefits, animal welfare issues, and resource conservation of a vegetarian diet, so that you too can contribute to the ancient debate!
Examine the health benefits of a plant-based diet and ensure that you are getting the necessary nutrients if you are a vegetarian. Do some research and find out why a vegetarian diet is a yogic one. Find out what experts have to say. Finally, omnivores and vegetarians alike can make a difference in the way their food gets to the table. Be a conscientious eater whatever your personal decision is. We can all benefit from being smart, mindful, compassionate consumers.