Animal food products are out and delicious, plant-based foods are in. Here are 5 reasons we’re seeing a shift in the American diet to cruelty-free alternatives.
This just in: animal food products are last year’s news.
With over 9.7 million Americans now declaring themselves plant-based eaters, animal-free products have been stocking the shelves of supermarkets to keep up with the craze.
Plant-based tacos have made appearances in restaurants and on family dinner tables, while soy-based ice creams have been satisfying the cravings of stressed college students and midnight snackers. Add this to an abundance of natural, plant-based options—like beans, legumes, vegetables, fruit and grains—and the countless animal-free choices have revolutionized the American diet as we know it.
But why are more Americans turning away from the meat- and dairy-filled past towards a more compassionate, plant-based future?
1. Groundbreaking investigations force consumers to face the reality of factory farming
With over 820 undercover investigations conducted by Animal Equality, all of which uncovered cruelty towards animals, there is no doubt that animals are exploited for meat, dairy and eggs.
On dairy farms, baby calves are ripped away from their mothers moments after birth just so their mother’s milk can be saved for human consumption. The male calves are killed for veal, while the females go through the same cycle as their mothers—forcibly impregnated for milk production until they can no longer produce milk and are slaughtered.
Hens in the egg industry spend their lives in a wire cage with a living space the size of a standard sheet of printer paper. They can’t spread their wings or enjoy any natural behaviors like taking dust-baths, perching, or even caring for their family. Hens that cannot meet the demand of egg production are killed for their meat.
Female chicks that hatch from fertile eggs are then used for egg production, while the male chicks suffer another shocking fate. Because male chicks cannot lay eggs and are not one of the fast-growing breeds used for meat, they are deemed worthless by the industry. At just days old, they are either suffocated to death or ground up alive in large industrial macerators.
In the meat industry, animals—like cows, pigs and chickens—endure a life of suffering from birth until death. Crammed into windowless farms, these animals will rarely feel the heat from the sun or breathe fresh air. Cows and pigs on factory farms endure painful mutilations, while chickens are bred to grow so large, so quickly that they can’t walk to their food or water.
At the slaughterhouse, these animals are often killed in ineffective and painful ways. Some are forced to watch other animals die right in front of them before being slaughtered themselves.
Faced with the decision to either support these practices or indulge in an animal-free, plant-based burger, many are taking power out of these factory farms’ hands and placing it firmly into their own for animals. After all, nothing tastes as good as knowing you are making a compassionate choice which protects animals from cruelty.
2. Plant-based foods offer an affordable option in the grocery store
It’s no secret that the cost of meat, dairy, and eggs has risen dramatically in recent years. However, a recent Oxford study found that plant-based diets generally cost less than the standard American diet. Healthy, plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas don’t just keep the plaque out of your arteries; they also keep the money in your pocket. Whether you choose to spend that extra cash on a bean burrito and guacamole is entirely up to you. Your secret is safe here.
3. Animal-free diets are linked to health benefits
Struggling with low energy levels, obesity, high cholesterol, and general unwellness might be common, but recent health studies are beginning to change the tide. Many in the medical field have acknowledged the benefits of a plant-based diet for physical health and vitality. The extra burst of energy from eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based proteins can make the prospect of starting a new fitness routine or lowering blood pressure a bit less daunting—even without the extra espresso.
4. Plant-based foods spice up mealtime with endless options
Rather than relying on the average meat-and-potatoes TV dinner, many are choosing to add some color and texture to the plate. A Buddha bowl with chickpeas, tahini, rice, and crunchy vegetables of every color of the rainbow? Yes, please. A spicy Thai curry with bok choy, broccoli, and pea pods? Talk about flavor! Basil cashew pesto pasta with a side of creamy potato soup? That’s not even a question. The truth is that plant-based options are endless, as are the recipes, resources, and professional chefs who make a living from these creations.
5. Plant-based eating can be simple and convenient
Plant-based eating can be as elaborate or as simple as one chooses. Stir-fried vegetables and rice can take under fifteen minutes for those days when slaving behind the stove just doesn’t feel like a viable option. With the aid of a blender, cashew macaroni and cheese can be thrown together in under twenty minutes. Even a package of plant-based ramen can be suitable in a pinch. On the other hand, an impressive ratatouille or a delicate stuffed eggplant can provide the creative outlet needed on a slow weekend when you have less on your plate (pun intended).
Unlike animal products, plant-based foods often include quicker clean-up times and a lighter feeling after each meal. When all else fails, many choose to support their local plant-based businesses with an occasional restaurant meal.
As plant-based products continue to work their way out of the margins and into the mainstream, many educated consumers are filling their carts with guilt-free, healthier, cheaper alternatives. Plant-based recipes have inundated Pinterest boards, food joints, and even Michelin-star restaurants, while Just Egg and Oatly can be found on the shelves from the Midwest to New York City. The general consensus? Consuming animal products is out of style.
Kickstart your own plant-based journey, or get reinspired as an experienced vegan with delicious, plant-based recipes and tips at LoveVeg.com.
Meat, dairy & eggs are never cruelty-free. The ultimate way to support farmed animals is to leave their suffering off your plate.