Vegetarian Awareness Month
October is Vegetarian Awareness Month. How cool is that? To celebrate, I'll be posting a series of articles on vegan diet and lifestyle. Some interesting statistics…
- The vegetarian food market is growing at a rate of 100 percent-plus every year.
- There were approximately 12.5 million vegetarians in the United States in 2003.
- India has the highest rate of vegetarians for any country worldwide. 30% of India's population is completely vegetarian.
- According to a national Harris Interactive survey, one-third to one-half of all vegetarians are vegan.
Some of these statistics were acquired from an article published in The Oakland Press (a Michigan newspaper). Excerpt of the article is below..
At age 18, Amber Poupore put down greasy burgers and processed lunch meat in exchange for a vegetarian diet of fresh, organic fare.
Poupore was turned off when she learned hormones and chemicals are fed to farm animals in mass production, to meet the high demands of human consumption. "Beyond the physical rewards, vegetarianism is also mentally and spiritually rewarding," said Poupore, now 27. "When we consume animals, it's a dead energy. But with plants, we're consuming living, colorful, vibrant foods that internalize in you."
Local vegetarians say Vegetarian Awareness Month, observed in October, is an opportunity to explore benefits of the lifestyle. "Now is a great time to experiment with changing your diet," said Cyndi Summers, spokeswoman for Madison Heights-based VegMichigan, a grass-roots vegetarian network, formerly called Veggies in Motion.
Summers, a vegetarian, suggested people try to eat meatless for a couple of days or buy something unfamiliar and vegetarian at the grocery store. Poupore, manager of vegetarian restaurant Inn Season Cafe in Royal Oak, is part of the trend of teens and twentysomethings embracing vegetarianism. She said young people are dropping meat nowadays because, with increasing food choices, it's more socially acceptable than it was years ago.
"People are starting to think and question what they're putting in their bodies and what changes we can make early on in life," Poupore said. "It's catching on. Even mainstream restaurants are realizing more people are making these choices, so they are offering meat-free options. There are so many more vegetarian restaurants, juice bars and products now."
There were 12.5 million vegetarians in the United States in 2003, according to a poll. But the numbers have skyrocketed since then, Summers said, adding that one in four Michigan college students requests vegetarian meals on campus.
"It's obvious that vegetarians are increasing because the vegetarian food market is growing at a rate of 100 percent-plus every year," Summers said.