We've come a long way in 12 months, that's when I decided to become vegan. Even just one year ago you would struggle to find a decent food spot with good vegan options. Restaurants are now becoming increasingly open-minded to the movement due to the growing demand by consumers who have taken the plunge.
There is still a lot of uphill climbing to do, as there are steadfast meat consumers who are determined to bash vegans, for reasons I am unable to fathom. One such carnivore - Laura Goodman- who is a chef at Italian establishment 'Carlini' showed just how loathed she is by vegans as she bragged on her social media about feeding a group of herbivore diners meat in disguise as a vegan dish. Disgusting.
I often wonder if this kind of behaviour takes place more often than not, it's scary that in 2018 people would stoop to such lengths because they cannot tolerate another person's lifestyle choice...
What this did highlight was that although there is intolerance, the overwhelming support from meat eaters and vegetarians to the poor victims of her horrendous behaviour came in it's hundreds. The restaurant has since received hundreds if one star Google reviews and I am sure her entire career will suffer following this pathetic outburst and potentially life-threatening act.
Whilst it is clear that being vegan is going to take time to tolerate for some people, there is an enormous shift in overall acceptance from the wider community. 2018 has been billed as 'The year veganism goes mainstream'. 75,000 to date have signed up to Veganuary this year and the number is rising, add to this, those turning vegan who are not signing up to this challenge such as I did last year. According to The Vegan Society, an estimated 542,000 people are vegan in the UK which has grown by 360% in the last 10 years. This is officially now Britains fastest growing lifestyle movement.
Health related facts are the major driving force for those taking the change, along with the effects of animal agriculture on the environment and the suffering of animals involved in meat and dairy production.
Here are 10 statistics to show just how impactful a vegan lifestyle is:
1. Grain that is used to feed livestock for meat production could feed 1.3 billion people.
2. Wheat is earth-friendly! You’ve probably heard that it takes a lot of water to produce meat. In actual fact, it takes 2,500 gallons to make just one pound of meat. On the other hand, it only takes 25 gallons of our valuable water to grow one pound of wheat.
3. Most cases of food poisoning (up to 80%), are due to infected meat.
4. Reports that vegans are healthier are not myth-based. According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet tend to display lower blood cholesterol, lower blood pressure, less chance of getting colon and prostate cancer, and a decreased rate of Ischemic Heart Disease.
5. Shockingly, every hour in the United States 500,000 animals are killed for their meat.
6. Although people are consuming too many antibiotics for their own health, (about 3 million pounds annually in the U.S. alone), animals receive even more. Livestock are fed up to 17.8 million pounds a year, and this number could actually be less than what is really being given to them.
7. You’re actively doing your bit to save the forests by being vegan. Forests are alarmingly cleared so that the land can be used for crops so that meat-based diets can be produced. Every year, just one person who sticks to a vegetarian diet will save an entire acre of trees.
8. By not eating meat, you’re also helping to ease the problem of pollution. Almost 20% of pollution that is man-made originates from the meat industry. This has placed factory farming ahead of transport in how much it contributes to the planet’s greenhouse effect!
9. Contrary to popular belief, there are many supermarket products that are vegan. These include even processed snack foods like Oreos (they don’t contain real dairy!) and dark chocolate. A good tip when shopping: Products that are listed as cholesterol-free are often vegan, as bad cholesterol only comes from animal products.
10. Vegan foods are frequently lower in calories because they give a miss to unhealthy fats.
[Information obtained from http://www.theflamingvegan.com]
While things steadily increase and vegans are slowly gaining respect, we're still not there but you know what? It doesn't matter. We're saving the lives of thousands of animals, we're healthier and the planet may have a chance of surviving if more people make the change.
Happy New Year, and let's hope that 2018 is finally the start to something less smug, more beautiful...
Over and out.