A burger made out of peas – that bleeds? Yoghurt fermented from coconuts? ‘Leather’ handbags made out of pineapples? You’re either someone who yells “Oh kale yeah!” about vegan imitation innovations – or thinks they sound like a big missed steak.
Wait, these puns are all far too cheesy for an article on veganism (unless that cheese is made of cashews), so let’s get to the point…
2018 was predicted to be the ‘year of the vegan’ and six months in, we’re starting to believe it. Chris Hemsworth joined younger brother Liam and fiancée Miley Cyrus in veganism. Actress Rooney Mara launched a vegan fashion line. Drake went vegan. So did Zac Efron. And even Gordon Ramsay tweeted that he’s “giving this #vegan thing a try.”
The number of vegan restaurants multiplied to more than 100 even in pork-loving Shanghai and vegan Prince Khaled announced that Saudi Arabia will open at least 10 vegan restaurants by 2020. Locally, Dominos and Pizza Hut chains introduced vegan cheese and dessert destinations Pancake Parlour and San Churro launched vegan menus to meet overwhelming demand. We could go on, but, in short, at least 70% of the world population is now reportedly either reducing meat consumption or leaving meat off the table altogether.
Is this vegan trend healthy?
“Vegan and vegetarian diets can support healthy living at every age and life-stage, can be perfectly healthy and balanced, and in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines; however, they need to be planned and having some knowledge of nutrition and food will help you do this,” says Dr Helen McCarthy, VU senior lecturer in Dietetics and Nutrition.
With the need to maintain a balanced diet in mind, there are many reasons the world is embracing veganism in greater numbers, and we explore some of them.