It’s not your imagination; family and friends really are passing on the meat and dairy options and are becoming vegans. Mintel, a market research company, has found it veganism is a top food trend, and it is going global. The increasing awareness of damage to the environment, a mistrust of mainstream food companies, a desire to be kinder to animals and concern about health has helped fuel the trend towards plant-based foods. Just as veganism has been around for a while, new products and trends keep developing within the movement which is growing in leaps and bounds.
Not Just Hummus Anymore
Twenty years ago, vegans were thought of as diehard radicals who could subsist on just brown rice and lentils with a few carrots. Nowadays, veganism does not mean shutting down your desire for tasty, original food, but has joined forces with culinary ingenuity and can please even the gourmand’s palette. A decadent breakfast of smoked salmon, cream cheese and caviar on crackers can be enjoyed as moist, thin carrot slices with soy cream cheese and sea kelp on a gluten-free flaxseed cracker. Chefs are trying their hands at providing vegan entrées and restaurants that are just as artful and tasty as their meat and dairy counterparts.
People can buy dairy-free alternatives in the supermarket aisles which are filled with nut, soya and rice milks. Not long ago, a vegan had to go to and organic supermarket to find one flavor of soya milk. HamptonCreek has changed the face of dairy and egg-free products with its Just Mayo and Just Cookies brands. The number of healthy options in the supermarket keeps growing as aisles give way to entire sections for natural and organic food. As vegan food becomes more available, curious consumers give it a try and end up making the switch to a dairy and meat free lifestyle.
What’s Hot for Vegans
Like many movements, there are trends within a larger trend, and that includes trendy foods that attract the attention of vegans. Kale has been the symbol of a vegan diet, but it looks like the younger crowd is choosing seaweed over kale. Seaweed has the advantage of almost infinite sustainability because it is harvested from the oceans. It is rich in antioxidants, fiber and iodine and can be prepared like a leafy green vegetable. If you go into a home of a vegan, you are likely to see a jar of kimchi, kombucha or another fermented product. Fermented foods are probiotic and provide good bacteria to the body that aids the digestive system.
A number of vegans add gluten-free options to their menu and increase their consumption of vegetables with veggie noodles, which are sometimes called zoodles. These can be eaten like regular pasta and are made of a variety of vegetables, such as beets, sweet potatoes, and zucchini. Fried foods provide a delectable treat for vegans and are prepared and healthy oils. Sweet potato fries are popular in many vegan restaurants, and the orange vegetable is popular fried up into strips like bacon. Coconut strips also provide an alternative to the favorite American breakfast food, and coconut is hot now among the healthy eating crowd.
You may notice that more restaurants are catering to vegans. With the growing number of customers rejecting traditional fare, restaurants are getting on board by offering plant-based entrées. In addition, more specialty vegan and gluten free restaurants and cafés are popping up, especially in areas where there are many young singles and millennials. The younger crowd is driving the vegan trend all over the world, and it is estimated that in the United States, 30% of all millennials eat at least a partially vegan diet. Since veganism is a lifestyle rather than simply a temporary diet to lose weight, the healthy eating trend is likely to be long-term and comprehensive. Many food companies are jumping on board and creating more natural and organic products as well as those that contain no meat or dairy.
Like a Vegan
If you thought about adopting a vegan lifestyle, but feel that it is a major change, you can join the many people who are partial vegans and replace a certain number of meals a week with plant-based foods. Some medical experts believe that a certain amount of meat and dairy consumption promotes good health, others argue that a person can get all of the nutrients they need from plant-based foods. To go vegan or not to go vegan is a decision many people arrive at through experimentation with diet and making gradual lifestyle changes.