The vegetarian lifestyle has significantly grown in the last decade. Most restaurants provide vegetarian options and most homes have at least a handful of meat-free meals each week. In the United States, 7.3 million Americans live the vegetarian lifestyle, and 22.8 million Americans are not devout vegetarians, but are inclined to follow a predominantly vegetarian diet. (1)
Millions of Americans are more apt to eat a vegetarian diet, though they do not consider themselves vegetarian!
The vegetarian diet provides a lower risk of heart disease, colorectal, ovarian and breast cancer, diabetes, obesity and hypertension. (2) This could be one reason why so many countries have decreased their consumption of animal products!
In 2010, the United Nations urged the world to adopt a plant based diet!
In 2010, the United Nations urged the world to adopt a plant-based diet due to environmental and health implications. The vegan and vegetarian lifestyle historically was seen as an eccentric lifestyle, and some may still few it this way. But times are changing and more and more people are learning to love, adopt and respect the plant-based diet.(3)
Eight countries that have decreased their consumption of animal products and are producing change!
The following countries have seen consumption of animal products dramatically drop:
- Spain: Spanish cuisine has historically been meat centric, but this fact has changed. The number of vegan or vegetarian restaurants in Spain has doubled, showing that people’s lifestyles are changing!
- United Kingdom: It is reported that one out of eight British adults are now following a vegetarian or vegan diet. Twelve percent of their population now recognizes themselves as vegan or vegetarian, and the percentage increases to 20 percent for people between the ages of 16-24.
- Sweden: Their government is contemplating a “meat tax.” Nearly 10 percent of the country is now vegetarian or vegan, and in the past five years, the number of vegetarians has increased by 4 percent!
- Israel: This country is home to a growing vegan population; there are nearly 300,000 vegans in the country! This number makes Israel the vegan capital of the world, due to having more people per capita consuming a plant-based diet than any other nation.
- India: This country houses the city, Palitana, which is the first all-vegetarian city in the world. Monks in this country produced revolutionary change by going on a hunger strike to pressure the state of Gujarat to outlaw animal slaughter in the city. Their efforts were successful; they banned animal slaughtering and outlawed the sale of meat and eggs!
- Germany: The nation known for beer and bratwurst is now the home of over 7 million vegetarians. The demand for animal based products continues to grow. The nations Oktoberfest celebration now offers vegan versions of traditional foods. The country is also home of the first all-vegan supermarket chain, Veganz. The store is so popular that the owner plans to open 60 more stores by 2020.
- Canada: Citizens have decreased meat consumption by 10 percent since 2011! The country is also seeing a 25 percent decline in consumption of dairy products.
- United States: Researchers are working hard to show Americans that reducing consumption of animal products can help improve health. Companies such as Beyond Meat and Hampton Creek Foods have gained attention from Bill Gates and Asia’s richest business man, Li Ka-Shing. One study found that 36 percent of Americans buy meat alternatives every once in awhile. (3)
For those who are pressuring family and friends into making the change to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, remember that the process is slow, but it is happening. People across the world are taking more responsibility for their health, the state of the world, and animal rights.