It is no secret that the trend towards the consumption of food free of animal products is a robust one. The market research company Mintel rated the vegan diet as one of the top trends of 2016, and the lifestyle has received attention on Yahoo’s food list. The trend is particularly powerful among millennials, with significant portion youth culture centered on kale, kimchi and progressive ideas. However, the food trend is capturing the imagination and finding its way onto the plates of the 35 and older crowd with celebrities like Woody Harrelson and former President Bill Clinton attesting to the benefits of a vegan diet.
Not Your Father’s Restaurant
People often adopt strict diets at home only to “cheat” when they are out on the town. Unlike many weight loss diets which are considered to be temporary and are focused only on the goal of trimming fat from the body, veganism attracts adherents who are serious about what they eat year after year and wherever they go. Many restaurant owners are noticing the trend of people shying away from meat options and are responding in kind by offering more plant-based entrées. One familiar replacement is a juicy Portobello mushroom instead of steak or hamburgers.
Vegans no longer have to be content with ordering several vegetable side dishes to fill their appetites, but are increasingly able to dine out comfortably in mainstream restaurants. In addition, cafes and restaurants which specialize in catering to restrictive diets are sprouting up everywhere. Many menus special symbols to indicate that dishes suitable for vegans, and it is no longer necessary to go searching for a substitute to main dishes. As a result of going out to eat with vegans, more meat eaters are discovering the flavorful and healthy alternatives to regular entrées and are incorporating more plant-based foods into their diet.
What’s New for Vegans?
Many years ago, vegans have had to be content with simply brown rice and legumes and soya milk from a health food store. Nowadays, even big box retailers have specialty vegan items right in the middle of their stores. Not only can you purchase soya milk in the supermarket, you can choose from a variety of flavors and also opt for milk replacements made out of nuts and rice. You can find an abundance of egg free alternatives from Hampton Creek including its Just Mayo, Just Cookies and other replacement products.
The basis of every good diet is not focusing on what not to eat but to concentrate on delicious things you can eat. Many people prefer noodles made out of vegetables such as zucchini, beet and sweet potato to their high carb alternatives. A nice warm bowl of oatmeal with almond milk is a perfect breakfast for anyone, not just for vegans. Anyone can enjoy tempeh with stir-fried vegetables in its own right and not simply as a replacement for meat or chicken.
As with any other food movement, veganism has its share of trends and hot items. For many hipsters attracted to the vegan lifestyle, Kale was all the rage, but increasingly, vegans are replacing seaweed for kale. Seaweed is in abundant supply and gets high ratings for sustainability. It also contains fiber, antioxidants and iodine. Fermented foods are popular and have probiotic properties that aid the digestive system. You can often find vegans making their own kimchi or kombucha eating miso soup. Nutritional yeast called nooch gives tahini a rest as the cheese sauce replacement, and is high in protein and other nutrients. The American love affair with bacon can be fulfilled with coconut strip and sweet potato alternatives to the famous fried breakfast food. Shakes and smoothies are always popular with the vegan and non-vegan crowd, and can be found in stores, cafés and stalls with a dizzying variety of combinations of herbs, fruits and vegetables.
Taking Baby Steps
While there are many avid devotees to the vegan lifestyle, there are a number of so-called partial vegans who eat at least one or two meals a day or week with a focus on plant-based foods. The number of high protein milk and meat alternatives on the market and in supermarket aisles makes it more affordable and easier than ever to enjoy vegan create creations from your own home. Many vegan products are almost ready to eat from the box, and require minimal preparation. This appeals to people who have busy lifestyles and can’t spend much time in the kitchen, but at the same time, want to eat to improve their health.