Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Has veganism become irrelevant?

Around 3% of all people in the United States in 2024 are vegan, according to the World Population Review. As someone who is currently in the process of removing dairy and meat-based products from their diet, the landscape of veganism seems much different than it was before the pandemic.

Growing up, I vividly remember constantly seeing YouTube videos about what it means to be vegan and how to best transition into veganism. These were also often cutthroat, saying phrases like “You aren’t a real vegan if…” or “Real, true vegans never stop being vegan.”

However, several statistics from platforms such as Great Green Wall and Veganuary show that worldwide veganism is only increasing. Through my personal experience, I have seen people leave veganism after a year, five years, or even ten years. People may just simply not be as open as they are about practicing veganism because of the normalization of plant-based products. Compared to a decade ago, there are more vegetarian and vegan food options available at grocery stores. Instead of just having vegetables and maybe one soy-based burger as your vegan options, there are now a handful of plant-based foods readily available.

Personally, my switch to veganism has come from a combination of underlying medical conditions and compassion for the environment. Food can still be ethically sourced even if it is not vegetarian or vegan. If one million people ate less meat, the world’s carbon footprint could have the potential to dramatically reduce.

There should not be a culture of shame for people who need dairy or meat products in their diet. The toxic idea that one plant-based individual is better than another will only push people away from the concept of following plant-based diets.

The food eaten by certain populations of people in the United States is not “real food.” Little Hug Fruit Barrels, Lunchables, over processed meat and fast food should not be the default option. If you replace any of these foods with locally-sourced meat, rice, vegetables, fresh fruit and lemonade, then it reduces the risk of overeating or consistently unhealthy eating. I’m definitely not saying everyone should stop eating fast food entirely (if you do, that’s still great), yet it should not be consumed as the main part of your diet.

To reiterate, the normalization of plant-based diets and ingredients has the opportunity to benefit people’s diets and lifestyles as a whole. Just being open to the option to be vegan is the gateway to accessibility. Not all vegan food items are expensive, but pre-packaged food and meals often result in an uptick in price.

If anything, veganism is gaining traction, statistically among low-income, younger populations but also in the general public. Vegetarian, pescatarian, or vegan people can go to a select amount of restaurants and eat food how they prefer it. Veganism isn’t a “one size fits all” option, but it can reduce your risk of heart disease, decrease the risk of overall cancer, and reduce pain from arthritis, according to Healthline. A vegan diet in 2024 could create positive change medically, personally and physically, and yes, I’ve already noticed the difference in my mental and physical health.

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    Goose RodriguezMar 13, 2024 at 3:55 pm

    No one needs meat and certainly not diary in their diets