Vegging Out


Type the word vegetarian into your Google search engine, and you’ll come up with about 8,730,000 web references. While I’ve not visited every one, the vast majority of the leading sites are likely to be useful–say the first one or two million. Limit the search to Australia and you’ll find some 160,000.

If you’re a long-time vegetarian or new, it won’t take long for an Internet searcher to learn that there’s plenty of information available online that supports a noncarnivor life. Dropping meat from one’s diet can, the studies reveal, add years to your life as well as more life to your years.

The Vegetarian Society of Victoria is one of several Australian organisations that promote such dietary change. Their site is a cornucopia of information and recipes, as well as web links to other resources. There is even an essay on “Christianity and vegetarianism,” for example, and while I may not agree with every point made there, it is–pardon the expression–something to chew on. Those in Queensland needn’t feel left out: there’s a Vegetarian Society there too, and a corresponding web site.

While the Vegetarian Society of Victoria is a private organisation, the Victorian government is also involved in promoting healthier living. At their “Better Health Channel” web site you’ll find a rather detached, balanced view of vegetarianism. Dedicated “vegos” might object to the slightly overbearing discussion of vitamins and minerals that might be missing from a vegetarian’s lifestyle, but for those seeking to win others to the cause, having some “official” endorsement might help.

If you’ve made a decision to change your diet–or merely want to experiment–finding a place to sample vegetarian cuisine might seem a challenge. In and around Sydney, for example, there are a couple of dozen dining spots that might be useful, according to the Sydney Cafes web site. In and around Melbourne, check out the Vegetarian Society’s restaurant page. There are also eight vegetarian restaurants listed in Adelaide, five offering vegetarian dishes in Perth, and 14 in Brisbane.

In Enzed, use the Vegetarian, Vegan, and Natural Food Restaurant guide for a list of city and regional eating houses.

Perhaps you would prefer to try vegetarian cooking at home. There’s a plethora of sources, not the least this magazine, which offers a monthly recipe aimed at healthy living. Ditto for Sanitarium Health Food Company, also familiar to regular Signs readers. A recipe appears on the their home page, and there’s a whole index of recipes. You can connect from Signs’s own web site.

If you want to go a bit further afield, I’d heartily recommend an American publication, Vegetarian Times, whose recipes are quite good and varied. Conversion from imperial to metric is required, so get a pencil out when you visit. They also offer, free, a weekly recipe email newsletter, which might keep new vegetarians enthused.

Still another source of recipes is the Queensland Vegetarian group mentioned above: their recipe index includes (as you drill down under main-course items) something that sounds oxymoronic–vegetarian bolognase–but actually tastes delicious.

I’ll leave it to the doctors and dietitians to give you the medical perspective on why vegetarian living is a good idea, but I’ll offer one thought: having been a vegetarian and having not been one, I was surprised to discover how many tasty and nutritious items can be found on food which never had a face.

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