Whether it is for health, environment or animal welfare, there is no question about the rise of veganism. Google trends suggests that interest in the search term ‘vegan’, has quadrupled in the last 6 years. So why the sudden surge in people choosing a plant-based lifesyle?
Let’s look at events in recent times.
Eating less meat
Late 2015, the World Health Organisation announced that processed meat is closely linked with colorectal cancer. In China, the government is looking to reduce its meat consumption by 50% for the benefit of human health and the environment. In Europe, daycare centres in Finland are looking to go vegan while in the Netherlands, new dietary guidelines limit meat consumption. Turning to the UK, dairy has also been slashed in food guidelines. The football team Forest Green Rovers also becomes the first all vegan football club.
Meanwhile in the US, legendary bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger and renowned director James Cameron urge people to consume less meat for health and the environment. The founder of Nutritionfacts.org Dr Michael Greger’s book ‘How Not To Die’ has reached the New York Times best seller list. Vegan medical centres are opening all throughout the U.S. Along with that, hundreds of physicians are advocating a whole foods plant-based diet as a viable alternative to treating chronic degenerative diseases.
According to statistics, the meat substitute market is projected to reach US$5.17 Billion by 2020. With big food companies such as Ben and Jerry’s announcing four vegan ice cream flavours and Wendy’s releasing a vegan burger on their menu. Tesla motors also announced its first vegan SUV. In the fashion industry, Armani has chosen to go ‘fur free’, brands such as Rombaut and Nicora design eco and leather free shoes, while Matt and Natt create ethical and sustainable bags.
More and more athletes are turning to a plant-based/vegan diet to improve performance. Famous names such as tennis champion Venus Williams, UFC Fighter Nate Diaz, Rio 2016 Olympians – US Weightlifter Kendrick Farris and Australian 400m Sprinter Morgan Mitchell, Strongman Patrik Baboumian and professional boxer David Haye, just to name a few, are advocates of a plant-based/vegan diet.
With all that in mind, being ‘vegan’ is not just another passing dietary fad, but a lifestyle here to stay.
Some make an overnight switch while others make a step by step transition to living a more conscious and compassionate life. To create the least harm possible through daily existence.
So what can you do if you’re thinking of going vegan?
- Dine veg – There are scores of vegetarian/vegan restaurants waiting for you to explore. I’ve compiled a list of places to eat in the island and also, visit Hungry Ang Mo for reviews of local vegetarian eateries. Another thing that you could do is download the Happy Cow app. This is a nifty app that locates the nearest vegetarian/vegan cafes based on where you are globally.
- Connect – Consider joining local community support groups/meet ups. Connect with the members from Animal Allies and Vegetarian Society. Check out the free starter kit created by Animal Allies available for free download.
- Wear and shop conscious – No one is expecting you to discard any existing leather items you have. Wear them out instead. The next time you shop for clothes, bags or shoes, choose leather and fur free. For beauty products, check that they are cruelty free and not tested on animals. Many products these days have advertised themselves as ‘vegan’ friendly.
- Get healthy – Be a positive example to those around you. Try a green and healthy lifestyle instead, look to those who have success and are thriving on a vegan diet. Ask, research and do your due diligence to find out more about the perspective. Join plant-positive fitness forums such as – Team Evolved, Plantstrong Fitness, Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness, Vegan Bodybuilding and Nutriton, Wholefood Plant-Based Aussies – for support and inspiration. Get active, get out there and find a sport or fitness activity that you love and spread change through your actions.
The bottom line here is not about being a perfectionist or purist about being vegan, but making small sustainable changes relative to where you are each day because every little bit counts.
Happy world vegan month!
Contributed by Luke Tan of Live Green Live Lean.
Photo credits: Pixabay & Wendy’s Burger