Vegetarian Living

Millions of Vegetarians and Lots of Food to Choose From

Man eating salad 2My oh my, the times are changing! There are now millions of vegetarians in the country, even more are moving that direction, and the range of food choices they have grows every year.

A recent Harris poll, showed that 3.2 percent of U.S. adults, or 7.3 million people, follow a vegetarian-based diet. In addition, 10 percent of U.S. adults, or 22.8 million people, say they largely follow a vegetarian-inclined diet. The study also indicates that of the non-vegetarians surveyed 5.2 percent, or 11.9 million people, are “definitely interested” in following a vegetarian-based diet in the future.

Businesses are starting to notice this sea-change, and to offer more vegetarian choices.  From the Earth Burger Veggie Burger Stand in Texas to the sofritas options at the Chipotle Mexican Grill chain, it seems there are more vegetarian choices available in restaurants every day. Meanwhile, the food manufacturers are making meat substitutes more real like than ever and some are even hyper-real. For instance, one company is developing a burger that actually bleeds.  Don’t worry it’s plant based blood!

Institutions are getting in on the act, with the nation’s first vegetarian elementary school, and even a jail has recognized the benefits of having everyone eat vegetarian food. The government isn’t looking to be left behind, so the vegetarian caucus on Capitol Hill has become popular too. Even NASA is getting into the act with the manned mission to Mars planned to be an all vegan adventure

It seems that the environmental groups are finally starting to acknowledge the benefits of eating plant-based foods for the environment, and leaders such as Al Gore have chosen to switch to a vegan diet.

On the health front, Dean Ornish’s groundbreaking study into the ability of lifestyle changes, including a plant-based diet, to reverse heart disease, was published back in 1990, and was followed by studies into both heart disease and many other diseases by doctors around the world, but it is only more recently that mainstream doctors are starting to recognize that dietary changes should be standard practice for patients with certain common conditions. The announcement that the president of the American College of Cardiology, Kim Williams MD, prescribes a plant-based diet to his patients and is himself a vegan, brought the issue to the forefront of the medical world as never before.

Increasing numbers of athletes are also recognizing that a plant-based diet can help them improve their performance.  From top runners such as Scott Jurek, to champion body builder, Patrik Baboumian, to Olympic medal winners, it seems that a vegan diet is the diet of champions these days.

Meanwhile those in favor of more humane treatment for animals are winning referendum votes often by very substantial margins

As vegetarian diets are taking off in the US, they are also becoming popular in other parts of the world, including some places that you may not expect.  Vegetarian food is making a comeback in China and Japan. In Norway, the entire military is now served vegetarian food at least once a week, while in Germany, they recently held their first ever Oktoberfest to feature vegetarian food including meat substitutes prominently.  Vegetarian food has long been popular in Great Britain, and India, while in Israel, vegan food has become all the rage.

The future for vegetarians and their food looks bright. We are confident that as the world continues to recognize all the many benefits of a vegetarian diet, this trend will continue to grow.

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About Vegetarians of Washington

Vegetarians of Washington is a large non-profit vegetarian society based in Seattle, WA. We encourage people to discover the advantages and experience the pleasures of vegetarian food. We welcome everyone, whether you're an experienced vegetarian, a beginner or just curious. You don't have to be a vegetarian to join our organization, or to follow our blog! We run the largest vegetarian food festival in the country, Seattle's Vegfest, held in the Seattle Center in March each year. We also host monthly dining events and give free nutrition and cooking classes. We've written several nationally published books, including our latest book "In Pursuit of Great Food: A Plant-based shopping guide", which provides valuable information on what to buy and how to choose great food. Our other books include "Say No to Meat" which gives the information and real-world advice that new vegetarians need the most, in an easy question-and-answer style, the fact-filled "The Vegetarian Solution", and a wide range of delicious recipes in "The Veg-Feasting Cookbook". All our books are available in local bookstores, and via our website or Amazon.com.

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