16 Million People In The U.S. Are Now Plant-Based! (+ HOW To Be One of Them!)
Written by: Kat Gal
I was about 10 years old when I first announced at home that I didn’t want to eat meat anymore.
I didn’t care about my health back then, of course. I was talking about my love for animals, how eating them was wrong and that I didn’t want to have harm caused to them anymore.
I have no idea where it was coming from: we were living in a large city, far from nature. We didn’t even have any pets, let alone chickens, cows, or pigs. Nobody in my family discussed environmental or animal rights issues.
I hadn’t even heard the term ‘vegetarian’ or knew anyone who was considered one and I certainly didn’t have television programs available on the topic, much less the internet (it was non-existent then).
Nonetheless, I voiced my opinion.
Needless to say, my opinion was voted off and I was told by my meat-loving Eastern-European family that I needed to stop that nonsense and finish my chicken.
It wasn’t until nearly a decade later when I actually made the switch, cold-tofu – I went vegetarian and have never looked back. Again, I only cared about the animals. My vegetarian diet consisted of bread, hummus, cheese, chocolate, croissants, granola bars, rice and fruits – in other words, it wasn’t exactly plant-based.
Some years later, chronic pain issues lead me on a holistic healing journey. My vegetable-less vegetarian diet turned plant-based, I gave up cheese and veganism has since followed.
Today, I am powered by green juice and fruits and I keep my digestive system healthy with probiotics (tip: you can get my favorite Probiotics and Organifi Green Juice Powder at the FitLifeTV store!). I still eat honey though, so we can argue about ‘what’s vegan.’ But, hey, let’s drop the labels! Plant-based and healthy eating is matters the most!
Over 20 years ago when I first spoke about becoming a vegetarian, it was still relatively unknown. Even 10 years ago “vegan” may as well have been from another planet. But now going vegetarian, vegan and plant-based is becoming more and more popular.
In 2009, only a minimal percentage of the U.S. population was reported to be vegetarian or vegan. Today, that statistic has risen to 5% of the U.S., part of them eating vegetarian, the rest vegan.
Everyone has their personal reason for choosing a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, but the main reason today is people are learning more and more about commercial farming and animal treatment.
The Reason Why The U.S. Is Going Veg
Can you imagine that 16 million people in the U.S. are eating absolutely NO animal products?
About 42% of them say they transitioned to veganism after seeing an educational film. Though my personal decision not to eat animals wasn’t because of a film, my actual interest in healthy living, holistic health and nutritional healing was triggered by an amazing documentary, Food Matters. Most of my clients – vegan or not – continually draw inspiration and knowledge from similar resources on their own holistic healing journeys.
69% of vegans in the U.S. said that they turned to veganism to support the ethical treatment of animals. 45% of them transitioned overtime rather than cold-tofu, like myself. 52% of them have been vegan for less than 10 years. This may mean that the U.S. has progressively become more knowledgeable about the food supply over the past 5 years.
It is awesome to think that more and more people know, think and care about where their food is coming from. This means that you are not only learning increasingly more about the ethical treatment of animals, but also about the dangers of artificial and processed food, the benefits of eating organic and local, the health benefits of superfoods and tricks to keep your body healthy and functioning at a high level.
Here at FitLife.TV, we are committed to bringing you the latest news and research, bullet-proof tips and an incredible amount of information to keep you healthy and motivated.
Which Other Factors Are Involved In The Veg Transition?
In 2009, when only 1 million people were vegan or vegetarian, 79% of them were woman. The numbers haven’t changed much. Today 79% of vegans and 59% of vegetarians are woman.
It seems like men have a harder time giving up animal and dairy products than women. But veganism is for both men and women. The meat consumption actually dropped by 12.2% since 2007. According to Google, people are searching for the keyword “vegan” increasingly more. In 2007, there were only 1600 results for “vegan” searches, but in 2014 this number increased to over 24,000 (and keeps going up).
There are celebrities are going vegan and vegetarian – just think about Bill Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Natalie Portman, Mike Tyson, Woody Harrelson and Alicia Silverstone as some examples.
Restaurants and supermarkets are offering more and more options and the raw vegan industry is thriving. By 2050, the U.S. may even become a VEGAN COUNTRY – or at least have a majority of its people eating a vegan diet.
A vegan, vegetarian, or a plant-based diet with very limited animal products is a healthy, smart and sustainable way to live that can potentially decrease your ecological footprint and greatly improve your health.
Benefits Of A Vegan, Vegetarian, Or Plant-Based (Whole Foods, Organic And Preferably Local Diet):
- Your health: Highly processed and refined foods can cause inflammation in your body. Animal products tend to be acidic in nature, also being a cause inflammation. Eating a plant-based diet with plenty of organic vegetables and fruits can provide your body with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are easily digestible, keeping you healthy and energized.
- The Environment: The planet is your home – our home – you (and all the rest of us) have to take care of it. Reducing your animal product intake can reduce your carbon footprint. If you choose to eat local, it is the best way to reduce it even more.
- The Economy: If you shop local, organic and seasonal, you can take the control back and prevent corporations from dictating your life and you will be supporting local farmers and businesses.
- Compassion: Believe it or not, but as you start eating plant-based, your compassion can increase. You can naturally start caring more about animals, nature and other people around you.
Vegan, Vegetarian And Plant-Based: What Is The Difference?
Vegans abstain from eating animal products, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs and other hidden parts of animals. Many vegans consider honey to be non-vegan, but some still include it in their diet. Ethical vegans choose to abstain from the use of animal products, such as leather or fur and products that were tested on animals as well.
While many vegans care about their health and eat healthy, being vegan doesn’t necessarily mean one is actually eating well. One can live on vegan cookies and french fries and still not be healthy.
To have a healthy diet (vegan or not), you need to eat plant-based and include plenty of leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds in your diet.
Some vegans eat a mainly raw foods diet, while others eat mainly cooked or a mixture of raw and cooked food. There are low-fat, high-carb vegans and vegans who believe that eating a low-carb, high-fat diet is better. It all depends on your body.
Vegetarians abstain from eating meat, poultry and seafood, but may include some dairy and eggs in their diets. Lacto-ovo vegetarians include both, lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products, but not eggs, whereas ovo-vegetarians eat eggs, but not dairy.
Just like with veganism, a vegetarian can eat a very healthy diet full of plants or lead an unhealthy lifestyle choosing junk foods.
Plant-based diets are all about eating mainly plant-based foods, focusing on leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains. A plant-based diet can be completely vegan, or vegetarian, or may include some meat, poultry, or even fish.
The main idea is to eat a healthy diet that mostly consists of plants. Eating plant-based is necessary for the health of vegans, vegetarians and those who still include animal products in their diet.
Whichever diet lifestyle you choose to go with is up to you, your ethical beliefs and your personal body. Remember, YOU are the expert of your body.
How To Go Vegan, Vegetarian, Or Plant-Based?
- Decide what’s right for you. For some, going cold-tofu is the best way to go, but for most, slowly transitioning is the easiest and most sustainable tactic.
- Go at your own pace. Be gentle with yourself. Stop judging yourself. If you stumble or get off track, it’s okay, just keep moving forward.
- Eat plenty of leafy greens, vegetables and fruits. If you are on a standard American diet (SAD), just start adding one extra vegetable or fruit to your diet and keep increasing the amount. Add one plant-based meal to each day, then increase it to two days. Try Meatless Mondays.
- Crowd out. Focus on the good stuff going in. Keep adding those veggies, fruits and other whole plant foods. The bad stuff – like processed junk and animal products – will be unnecessary after a while.
- Start juicing! Make green juices – they are the best way to quickly get lots of greens and nutrients into your body. If you are too busy to juice and are constantly on-the-go, try our Organifi Green Juice Powder, it actually tastes delicious and is SO convenient.
- Make green smoothies. Green smoothies are another excellent way to get your greens and essential nutrients in and all the fiber can keep you satisfied and your digestive system regular too.
- Try new recipes. Experiment in the kitchen. Make cooking fun! Cook with your friends and families. Share recipes with each other.
- Join a supportive community. Community support is crucial. We are in this together. Together we are stronger. You can do it and we are here to help.
- Hire a health coach. Working with a health coach can be super beneficial, especially if you are a beginner. They can give the necessary guidance and support you need to find out what’s right for your body.
If you are currently eating plant-based, vegan, or vegetarian, what are your tips for newbies? If you are still new, what are your concerns and questions? What motivates YOU to eat plant-based? Share below!
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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