Veganism as a trend is growing in popularity every day. We all know someone from our close circle of people who follows a vegan diet, (and you may even be vegan yourself!). The market of vegan food options is actively increasing for the past few years – tofu, soya prawns, plant-based milk, and chocolate, you name it! So it’s not a surprise that one has to wonder if we are heading towards a vegan future.
Why people are turning towards plant-based diets
Statistics show that while vegans are still in the minority globally, the numbers are slowly increasing. India has the most vegetarians in the world, at 40%, and the countries with the highest number of vegans are the US, Brazil, Sweden, and Switzerland.
There are many reasons for these trends, one of them being a deterrence from eating meat. If you follow a vegan diet, it means that you do not consume meat or any animal-based products, such as eggs, fish, animal milk, butter, or cheese. In this way, it is different to vegetarian diets, in which milk and eggs are allowed. Part of this shift in eating habits has to do with animal cruelty, which has surfaced in several documentaries in recent years. Some of them highlighted poor treatment of chickens and livestock on farms, turning people away from consuming animal products.
Those who follow a vegan lifestyle apply this to all other products as well, such as body lotions and soaps, and even make-up. Again, the reason is due to animal cruelty. Many animal lovers choose not to support products that make use of animal testing or include animal products such gelatin in them. There are now several online shops, boutique stores and specialized products being developed that are 100% natural and plant-based, and they have a strong vegan following.
The other reason why veganism is gaining popularity is geared towards a more health-conscious lifestyle. If you do not eat animal products, you are forced to look for more natural, healthy alternatives, such as fruit, vegetables and plant-based proteins. However, it is easy to fall into the trap of eating more sugar-based carbohydrates when you cannot eat meat, so you definitely have to be more creative and resourceful in finding vegan alternatives.
What a vegan future could look like
Vegans around the world would undoubtedly love the idea of a vegan future. But what would that actually mean for the planet? Let’s take a moment to fast forward about fifty years from now and imagine a world where everyone ate only plant-based foods. What would happen to all the animals? Well, contrary to the belief that they would take over the planet, experts say that animals that are kept on farms for consumption are bred for that purpose, so if they are not bred in the future, their reproduction rates would drop, and they would only exist in the wild. With fewer farms for cattle and poultry, there would be more agricultural land available for growing plants, hence veganism would thrive.
Animal farming for meat, eggs, and milk produces 14.5% of greenhouse gases, according to an article in The Guardian. It also takes up 70% of agricultural land, and is one of the leading causes of water pollution and deforestation. So a reduction in livestock farming would mean cleaner air and better conservation of water. Scientists also believe it would lead to a healthier human population, as without meat in diets, we will all be eating more good, wholesome food, and there will be less cholesterol related illnesses. We could possibly also see a reduction in illnesses related to obesity, as a vegan diet can contribute to weight loss if followed properly.
How you can adopt a vegan diet
Adopting a vegan lifestyle is quite a shift, and it may not be easy at first. However, if it’s something you really want to do, it can be achieved with a little research and shopping around for products near you. Tofu is a very popular meat substitute and is consumed by vegans for use in a variety of dishes. You can use it in soups, for cheese, fried, or shaped into burgers. For some of the recipes, the tofu might need to be pressed first, to release the water. You can either use paper towels or a tofu press for that.
As technology advances and different methods of food production are invented, a vision of a vegan future is entirely possible. Sure, it’s a choice, and many people may not be willing to give up their affinity for meat, but as human history has proved, trends catch on fast, and we are already witnessing a progressive shift towards more natural diets. Meat-free Mondays are now practiced in many homes globally, and with celebrities such as Jamie Oliver promoting vegetarian and vegan dishes with a creative twist, we can definitely expect to see greener, less meaty plates in the future.