May15–21

National Vegetarian Week – May 15-21, 2023

National Vegetarian Week occurs on the third week of May every year, and our taste buds are tingling in anticipation. This holiday, taking place from May 15 to 21 this year, is endorsed by the Vegetarian Society to help more people enjoy a vegetarian diet. It’s all about disproving the misconception that vegetarian food is bland.

National Vegetarian Week is perfect for veggie events of all kinds, from street food experiences and pop-up-themed veggie dining to large-scale foodie festivals. From mac and cheese to hummus, pasta dishes, tantalizing curries, veggie stir-fries, and more, there are countless options to whet one’s appetite. We can’t wait to dig in!

History of National Vegetarian Week

Vegetarianism is a lifestyle that’s traditionally linked to the people of India in ancient times. They have held on to this practice and today, more than 70% of the world’s vegetarian population is Indian.

The first Vegetarian Society was formed in England in 1847. Up until then, most people were convinced that it was impossible to lead a healthy life without meat. The main aim of this Society was to dispel this myth.

The first national celebration of vegetarianism started as a single day in 1992. Over time, the holiday gradually increased in popularity and morphed into an entire week as more people showed interest in the vegetarian lifestyle.

Several other organizations focusing on specific aspects of the vegetarian lifestyle have also emerged alongside the Vegetarian Society. Some are the Vegetarian Housing Association, which provides sheltered accommodation across the U.K., and the British Vegetarian Youth Movement, which coordinated outdoor activities and social events for many years.

Restaurants picked up on the public’s enthusiasm and expanded their vegetarian offerings on their menus. These days, there are countless vegetarian-specific restaurants worldwide, and the list keeps growing. In addition, grocery stores now offer a large variety of vegetarian options. This proves there is a growing market for meatless products and meat alternatives.

National Vegetarian Week is an annual awareness-raising campaign promoting the benefits of a meat-free lifestyle while showcasing inspirational vegetarian food. There is also the International Vegetarian Week that runs from October 1 to 7. It features many events that promote the vegetarian lifestyle. This global week is an annual event that begins with World Vegetarian Day.

National Vegetarian Week timeline

3rd Century B.C.
Pythagoras’ Diet

An account of Pythagoras' diet appears in the Greek philosopher Porphyry's book “On Abstinence from Animal Food.”

Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries
The U.S. Adopts Veggie-based Cookbooks

American cookbooks focused on vegetarian cooking begin to emerge.

1908
The International Vegetarian Union Is Founded

The I.V.U. encourages collaboration among vegetarian societies around the world to promote vegetarianism.

1950
New York City Gets Its Vegetarian Society

The American Vegetarian Society is founded by Sylvester Graham, William Alcott, Russell Trall, and William Metcalfe.

National Vegetarian Week FAQs

What is the Vegetarian Society?

The Vegetarian Society is a national charity that educates people about vegetarian life. It provides advice, access to vegetarian culinary courses, and grants to help people go vegetarian.

What are the advantages of a vegetarian diet?

Well-balanced vegetarian diets naturally contain less saturated fat and higher amounts of fiber, which help lower cholesterol and reduce one’s risk of cardiac problems.

How do vegetarians get calcium?

For vegetarians who do not consume dairy products, broccoli, fortified juices, leafy greens, and fortified soy milk are sources of adequate calcium.

National Vegetarian Week Activities

  1. Whip up some vegetarian meals

    Whether you're a pro or a newbie to cooking vegetarian meals, this holiday is the perfect time to make some delectable dishes. Step out of your comfort zone and try a new recipe or two — you might discover your next favorite dishes.

  2. Share your kitchen creations on social

    The joy of holidays is in sharing. Let your friends know about National Vegetarian Week by posting photos and videos of your meals on social media.

  3. Eat out at a vegetarian restaurant

    If cooking isn't your thing or you're up for a change, dining at a vegetarian restaurant is still a befitting way to mark this holiday. You can either do it solo or with loved ones. Either way, you're sure to have a blast.

5 Interesting Facts About Vegetarianism

  1. Los Angeles goes meatless

    In 2012, the L.A. City Council unanimously passed a resolution that all Mondays will be meatless for health and environmental reasons.

  2. Vegetarianism reduces the risk of chronic diseases

    This healthy lifestyle keeps diabetes, heart disease, various cancers, high blood pressure, and obesity at bay.

  3. There are six types of vegetarians

    These are ovo-vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, ovo-lacto vegetarian, pescatarian, flexitarian, and vegan.

  4. It's a lifestyle adopted by popular personalities

    Examples of famous vegetarians include Mahatma Gandhi, Sir Paul McCartney, Benjamin Franklin, Brad Pitt, Ozzy Osborne, Pythagoras, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, and Leonardo da Vinci.

  5. High in fat and calories

    Eliminating meat and replacing it with lots of cheese and nuts could give you the same number of calories (or more) compared to other diets.

Why We Love National Vegetarian Week

  1. We discover new vegetarian recipes

    The vegetarian culinary world has no shortage of tasty meals. During National Vegetarian Week, we find new exciting recipes to try.

  2. It's a chance to eat healthier

    Maintaining a healthy diet can be a challenge when life gets in the way, but having an entire week dedicated to it keeps you on track.

  3. We get to bond with family

    Nothing beats bonding with loved ones over a meal. National Vegetarian Week is a perfect opportunity to catch up while sharing tasty meals.

National Vegetarian Week dates

YearDateDay
2022May 16Monday
2023May 15Monday
2024May 20Monday
2025May 19Monday
2026May 18Monday

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