We’re Growing By Leaps And Bounds

I missed it... earlier this year, CNN ran a story about vegans.  On June 11, 2008 CNN proclaimed that an estimated 10 million Americans have gone vegan.  Wow.  That would mean we make up a little over 3% of the total population.  Woo hoo!  We're growing by leaps and bounds.  Jane's been saying that for a while.  It certainly feels that veganism is becoming somewhat more mainstream.  (But we still have a long way to go!)

CNN illustrates the environmental effects of a vegan diet by showing that a 6 ounce steak has 24 times the greenhouse gas emissions than a plate of veggie stir fry.

They also touch on the health benefits of going vegan.

Anyway, below is the YouTube video of the CNN segment, you can watch it yourselves.  It's a little over six minutes.


  1. I was hoping you could help me with something: I am a vegetarian attempting veganism. I am occasionally invited (or forced) to attend banquets, conferences, etc. and there are never vegan options. I have been lucky in that everyone has always been accommodating of Lisa the Vegetarian, but I’m having more trouble as Lisa the Vegan. Any suggestions?

  2. Nice post. Also very encouraging.
    I do not think vegan or vegetarian or kosher… will become mainstream but they will definitely grow further and dominate certain market segments as the population becomes health aware.

    Lisa, you do not have to be 100% or hardcore vegan or vegetarian to enjoy the benefits of such diets.
    I am half vegan, half vegetarian + I eat fish and I do not mind pizza or chicken once in awhile. My diet stills works well in the long run. I look 10 years younger than I am.
    A committed healthy diet overtime does so good to the body that the occasional pizza won’t hurt at all.

  3. Fred:

    I agree . . . just be careful how you represent yourself to mainstream people as there is so much confusion out there about what the labels mean. Just this weekend, someone who knows me well made a special soup, just for me. I thanked her but said that I don’t eat hamburger. She replied that she had thought it would be okay because “it has a lot of vegetables in it.”

    So many people think fish is vegetarian and cheese is vegan. The more we can get people on board with using the appropriate label for them (it sounds like yours would be flexitarian) the easier time we’ll have with finding something we can eat.

  4. Hi Kara,
    I agree, hopefully it’s not a fad. Jane really thinks it isn’t. She expects that people will be “eating” vegan as a “green” activity. So, they won’t be committed vegans, but they’ll have a vegan night or consider eating vegan a meal or two / week. Once that really starts happening, then the restaurants and food manufacturers will follow…. Profit drives a lot!

    Hi Lisa,
    First, let me say that I agree with Fred. You don’t have to be 100% vegan, to be a vegan. Jane and I believe, wholeheartedly, that it’s okay to step off the path occasionally. Not all our readers agree with this philosophy however, so you have to decide for yourself how you define your veganism.
    That said… Here are a few suggestions for you:
    1) If you know the person planning the meeting, you could let them know of your dietary requirements in advance. Or, at the very least, you could ask for the menu – this will allow you to see what they are planning on serving.
    2) Often, these conferences are held in hotels which have restaurants. You could look at the restaurant menu listed on their website to see if there is something you can work with. Then you could ask the planner to accommodate you.
    3) When you are being served beverages, you can discuss with your server that you don’t eat anything coming from an animal. If they don’t have a meal you can eat, you could probably arrange for a salad or fruit plate.
    4) Sometimes, lunch is just a lunch. In that instance, you could eat offsite. So, do your research into the neighborhood restaurants.

    Finally, as a precautionary measure, you could bring your own food. I probably wouldn’t recommend packing a cooler… but you could bring in a few lara bars, or sandwich. No, I’m not kidding…
    I went to to the Milken Conference in Beverly Hills (very prestigious) earlier this year. I chatted with my server, and the only options available to me were a vegetable plate or a fruit salad (and this is in Los Angeles!!!). I had Jane pack me a hummus sandwich day two, and an almond/peanut butter sandwich the last day. I simply asked the server for salad. I wound up having a great lunch. My co-workers were embarrassed. Other people at the table were looking at the weird guy brown bagging it. So you kind of need a little intestinal fortitude to go that route. But it worked for me, and on the last day, my boss brought his own lunch as well! (He was tired of the rich food they were serving.)
    The one thing I would caution against, is ordering a meal you won’t eat. The animal will still be “consumed” (depleted from the restaurants inventory) regardless of whether you eat it or not…
    Hope that helps!

    Hi Fred,
    Agreed, I don’t think veg*n will become truly mainstream, especially not in our lifetimes. But I do see the availability of vegan products increasing.
    As for your diet… I believe that diet is a personal choice. If you are comfortable eating the occasional piece of fish or pizza or chicken, that’s your prerogative.
    However, I would caution you about how you represent yourself. For example, the few times we’ve knowingly eaten something vegan, we have made a point of telling the people we are with that the item we’re consuming (pizza, Guinness) is not vegan, and we’re doing something aberrant. This helps to avoid confusion in the future.

  5. Lisa, I find that if I let the hosts know politely ahead of time that I’m an ethical vegan, not only will they accommodate me, but it often leads to fruitful discussions. It’s amazing how many people have given some thought to the ethical consequences of the foods they eat, but do not get much of a chance to express those views to someone who is sympathetic and knowledgable.

    Politeness and gratitude are key. Also, it often helps to offer suggestions of vegan dishes that are easy to make and will likely be enjoyed by non-vegans.

    Granted, you’ll occassionally get some pushback no matter how courteous and cooperative you are. People may be threatened by the fact that you’ve divested from exploitations in which they still participate; that can cause discomfort that is projected onto the “do-gooder.” There’s no surefire, one-size-fits-all solution to thatbut I do try to let people know that I used to enjoy eating meat – just like them – and that transitioning to veganism is easier than they think, and I suggest a couple of what I hope are easy switches they can make in their own diets – maybe trying Purely Decadent ice cream or putting some sauteed Morningstar Farms steak strips on a salad, or trying almond milk or vanilla soy milk.

    Good luck.

  6. Fred: You are not in any way, shape or form a vegan or vegetarian! YOU EAT FISH AND CHICKEN! Do not call yourself these things, especially to other people. It’s insulting to the people who are ACTUALLY vegetarian/vegan.

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