The Rise of Veganism
According to international meal delivery service Just Eat, veganism is ranked as a top consumer trend in 2018. People are becoming more aware of the health and ethical benefits that becoming a vegan has to offer. Veganism is a stricter form of vegetarianism. Being a vegan is more than a diet but rather a way of living. This lifestyle seeks to avoid any product that may hurt or exploit an animal. Vegans do not eat or wear any animals or animal products including eggs, honey or dairy products.
Fort Lauderdale Florida received its first ever all Vegan Fine Foods Market and Cafe on April 20th, 2018. It specializes in all-vegan, plant-based foods. Featuring local organic produce along with national and international food items. The Inika Cafe is based right in the food market. They serve fresh pastries, smoothies, and cooked comfort foods. They also offer a broad selection from Acai bowls to wraps, juices, and desserts. Sean Russell, SoFlo Vegans founder, says “Having an all-vegan market in the center of Fort Lauderdale is a monumental step in the right direction for South Florida becoming a global hotspot for veganism.”
Every year more people are making the switch to veganism for many different reasons. Having an emotional bond with animals is an ethical reason some people make that switch. According to The Vegan Society, language use is also part of the vegan lifestyle. Using words like ‘other animals’ or ‘non-human animals’ helps to acknowledge that humans are animals too.
Vegan diets include wide varieties of healthy, organic and natural ingredients. According to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, veganism is suitable for every age, gender and lifestyle. It has also been proven to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.
A lifestyle that was once seen as a group of extreme animal rights activities is now featured in Vogue Magazine. You can find articles featuring vegan cookbooks, best vegan restaurants and vegan fashion and beauty. Celebrities like Beyonce, Brad Pitt, Miley Cyrus and Jared Leto, just to name a few, are all strict vegans.
Platforms like Vogue Magazine and other social media applications play a key role in the rise of veganism. The most popular of these applications is Instagram, a photo-sharing app. Scrolling through Instagrams newsfeed there are thousands of aesthetically pleasing food photographs captioned with phrases like ‘leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time’ and ‘golden earth bowls’. According to Google trends, searches for “veganism” have been steadily on the rise. With more than 57 million #vegan posts on Instagram, having a plant-based diet is a popular trend. Emil Dotel, owner of Toss up Salads, believes that the rise in veganism is due mostly to millennials. “The younger generation has taken veganism to another level, they see it as their own and they’re creating something fun out of it,” says Dotel.
Most food that is grown in the world is not being eaten by humans but by livestock. According to Global Citizen, 70% of the grain grown in the US feeds livestock. If most of the food being grown could feed humans instead of livestock more people could be fed at a lower cost.
Even popular restaurants chains are starting to hop on the vegan bandwagon. Chipotle is now offering a meat substitute like sofritas. Sofritas is shredded hodo soy tofu marinated in spicy sauce, roasted poblanos and Mexican spices. The Cheesecake Factory started offering items like the vegan cobb salad, veggie burger, kale and quinoa salad and a falafel salad. Mellow Mushroom offers a completely separate vegan menu. The options include the Thai-Dye Pizza and the Mega-Veggie Pizza. Mellow Mushroom has tofu, Daiya vegan cheese, and tempeh.
For Davia Taylor, a 24-year-old production assistant at Chewy, becoming a vegan was an easy transition from already being a vegetarian. “I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 12 years old. I thought I was doing all that I could to help animals until I joined a vegan social group called Orlando Vegans. I learned through them that through the egg and dairy industry there are still millions of deaths caused each year.” Documentaries like “What The Health” and “Cowspiracy” provide people with knowledge to learn about the damage that the animal agriculture industry has on their body and the planet. “From what I’ve noticed most people care strongly about either animals, their body, or the planet. One, two or all three. Not eating meat is a big incentive to help,” says Taylor.