5 reasons why 2017 will be the year of the vegan

First and foremost, Happy New Year! We made it to another new year full of possibilities and a chance to reset whatever we want to accomplish. Of course you can do that anytime, but the start of a new year always seems like a great time to reflect on the year that has passed and set goals for the year ahead. Two years ago I quit smoking and last year I committed to a vegetarian diet that almost eliminated all processed foods and animal products. This year my goal is to live completely vegan and to contribute and support the vegan community.

Plant powered body has been around since 2013, but this year I have made it my priority to create another space where vegans, vegetarians and the veggie curious can come and gain information, insights and support. I realize there are a lot of voices out there on the inter webs, but I feel we could use all the support we can get when it comes to promoting a cruelty free, compassionate life for all animals and ourselves. I try to approach everything with a sense of compassion so my voice will never be one of militant adherence but rather an encouraging and supportive view of how we can all do better and work to support one another. I’m also a little sassy so if you’re easily offended, apologies in advance. The folks over at Thug Kitchen are some of my heroes – just sayin’.

The momentum is building for us vegans or plant based eaters. Can’t you just feel it? Mainstream media is picking it up more. Celebrities and their reach seem to be helping in addition to some amazing documentaries and best selling books that have come out in the recent past. This has all culminated in creating a bit of a tipping point for a larger mainstream acceptance of becoming vegan.  This good news for our health, the environment and certainly the animals that needlessly suffer.

So let’s get to it. Why 2017 is shaping up to be the “year of the vegan”:

  1. Peta has already started a campaign with the hashtag #theyearofvegan based on the many new food trends that are coming out in 2017. Everything from carrot lox to jackfruit (replacing pulled pork) is profiled in a new article, signalling that manufacturers are getting it. Vegans have money to spend and they want part of our paycheques. While this might not appeal to the strict whole foods, plant based followers, the fact is, major manufacturers are trying to develop plant based alternative products to appeal to us.
  2. North America is recognizing that the “Standard American Diet” or SAD is not getting us any healthier. With our fast paced lives and lack of nutritional knowledge, North Americans are getting sicker but are now demanding better. Industry has seen the dissatisfaction of the masses and predicts we are on the “cusp of a market revolution” away from animal products. Processed or not, plant based alternatives generally have lower fat (especially saturated fat) content and contain more finer – these are all good things.
  3. The democratization of information has removed the barriers to learning about nutrition. Medical doctors receive little nutrition trying while in medical school and that has left the average person on their own, trying to figure out what is healthy. If you listen to the news on any given night, you get a 30 second sound bite extolling the evils of saturated fat in one report and then the benefits in yet another, it can all be quite confusing. Probably one of the biggest thrusts into the light the plant based diet movement has received was the publishing of Dr Greger’s book, “How not to Die.”  This book is a culmination of all the excellent work he and his team have completed and presented at nutrition facts.org.  Dr. Greger and his team review thousands of medical studies each year and distill them down into information you and I can understand. Most importantly, the information is based on fact and explained in full. Not the biased, headline grabbing dribble you see on the nightly news or on the web.
  4. Vegan is becoming trendy and a bit cool – a number of celebrities have “gone vegan”, even if it’s just until dinner time everyday. Of course when a celebrity does anything they either Instagram it to a million followers or the media does. Some take issue with the whole “flexetarian” or part time {insert label here} approach but the reality is some people get into the water slowly and others cannonball it. The point is a lot of people are jumping in the water and on the band wagon towards plant based living and celebrities with their massive reach and influence are a catalyst to normalizing what was previously considered fringe behaviour.
  5. Not to date myself, but back in the day you had to trudge out to the movie store to rent a movie (they were shaped in large bricks called VHS), carry it home and then return it days later and pay a massive late charge. Maybe that was just in my house. My point is that under that same theme of democratization of information, we now have instant access to millions of movies and documentaries via Apple TV, Netflix, Amazon, Youtube and others. When your friend says “OMG you have to watch Cowspiracy, it changed my life,” you can literally find that movie within minutes and usually for free. A number of documentaries have become extremely popular in the past couple of years – Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy and Earthlings are great examples. Sometimes all it takes is someone watching one documentary to shift their entire perspective and change their habits. I’m a bit of a knucklehead so it took me a few docs and a couple years but hey, I got there eventually.

The future is bright my veggie comrades! Culture is changing slowly (think gay marriage and climate change acceptance) but with each hashtag, documentary and article, we are creating acceptance and shining the light into the dark corners – nothing to be scared of here folks, it’s just a carrot.

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