What links Jennifer Lopez, Tobey Maguire, and Ellen DeGeneres? The answer is that all three of them follow a vegan diet. If celebrities endorsing a diet leave you unimpressed, that’s understandable.
In this instance, however, veganism has the hard facts to support its increasingly high profile and is becoming a major global trend due to its benefits in terms of sustainability and in terms of health.
The meat industry is losing ground
While plenty of people still eat meat, even those who do are often becoming more open to eating meals without it. There are many reasons for this. One is that even cheaper cuts of meat are typically more expensive than other food products such as fruit and vegetables.
As a corollary to this, meat produced to a high standard of animal welfare tends to carry a significant price premium, which means that meat eaters who are concerned about animal welfare may choose to forgo eating meat regularly so that they can afford meat produced more ethically.
Likewise, there is growing awareness of the fact that meat production is a hugely inefficient use of agricultural land and that therefore sustainability considerations point to a diet based at least mostly, if not completely on plant foods.
The health benefits of veganism are becoming more apparent
All the benefits mentioned so far have essentially been benefits for the planet and animal welfare and many vegans, including celebrity vegans, cite this fact as being at the forefront of their decision to adopt a vegan diet.
For years, however, veganism was viewed with suspicion from a health perspective with the meat and dairy industries both pushing hard to convince the public that their products were necessary to fulfill the human body’s need for protein, iron, and, in the case of dairy, calcium.
The problem with this tactic, however, was that veganism began to be adopted by elite athletes, who, of all people, understand the importance of nutrition and need the highest-quality fuel for their bodies.
When the likes of Olympic gold rowing champion David Smith, tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, and NFL linesman David Carter all beat the meat-eating competition while eating vegan diets, it’s a bit hard to argue that veganism is unhealthy.
When vegans consistently reach the upper ranks of ironman competitions and bodybuilding, it’s a bit of a challenge to claim that vegans lack protein, iron, and calcium.
Vegan cooking is becoming more accessible
For decades much western cooking has been based around the concept of “meat and two vegs”, but actually, in historical terms, this is a fairly recent development.
Up until very recently, meat was a luxury and there were often also religious rules about what meats could be consumed and when.
Only the very rich ate meat regularly, poorer people were often de facto vegetarians or even sometimes vegans, purely because the meat was too expensive for them to eat regularly if at all.
Hence, in many ways, modern vegans are simply reworking a historical tradition for the modern world.
At the same time, however, veganism is very different from much of modern, western cooking, even vegetarian cooking, which may rely on dairy to add richness and flavor.
Fortunately, help is at hand.
The fact that veganism is now coming into the mainstream means that there is much more in the way of resources such as cookery books and video tutorials.
There are now also real-life cookery classes that focus purely on vegan cooking and these can be an excellent introduction to veganism or a way for established vegans to broaden their culinary horizons and enhance their skills.
If you’re concerned about how to manage your meal planning when you become vegan or you need to plan meals around a combination of vegans and non-vegans, then getting help from a professional consultant could be a great investment.
You’ll have help from someone who understands both cooking and nutrition and can give advice that is specifically tailored to your needs and wants.
Finally, if you’re already a catering professional yourself, then expanding your skills with vegan cooking classes and consulting could go a long way to enhance your employability and/or your business.
The growth of veganism presents restaurants and catering companies (and the people who own, run, and staff them) with a very exciting new opportunity.