Guess Who’s Going Meatless in 2014?

bean assortment

Are you eating less meat today than you were 5 or 10 years ago? Can you imagine yourself a full time vegetarian? Or vegan?

These questions would seem outlandish only a few years ago, but it turns out that there is a major shift in consumer sentiment and the food industry should take notice. According to Mintel, a consumer market research firm, 7% of Americans call themselves vegetarians, but over one third eat meat alternatives!

In fact, about 30% of people surveyed by Mintel said they are trying to reduce their meat intake. The reasons are varied, but health concerns top the list. It probably helps that plant based diets are no longer associated with off the grid hippies. Rapper Jay Z recently announced he’s going on a vegan diet.

Food companies are responding with an ever growing selection of plant based choices for consumers. The sector has grown to over half a billion dollars in revenue in 2012. As usual, some of the foods are full of chemicals and preservatives, which defeats the purpose if your intent is to be healthier.

Bottom line
If you are interested in reducing your meat consumption – get yourself acquainted with lentils and beans. Start consuming nuts and seeds daily. Buy a block of tofu or seitan and see what you can do with it. You don’t need to completely stop eating meat, but for most people who have reduced their consumption, the health results quickly followed.

Will you be eating less meat next year? What is your go-to vegetarian dish?

  • Devyn

    I was a vegetarian for 15 years. I knew how to eat right. Buy I was unhealthy, pimple, kinda plump, anemic, suffered from pretty bad ADHD. I now eat meat almost every meal. Red meat is my favorite. I have never been healthier, stronger and more focused. Some do better without meat, but putting meat back in my diet was the best thing I ever did.

    • Devyn

      I should add that I follow the Paleo based diet which means no grains, legumes or sugar. That is the key for me.

      • Peter Niepel

        But why? Grains, legumes and sugar are not bad! No food is bad as long as it is healthy unspoiled food. Sugar in moderation isn’t bad. Even you will probably eat a lot of sugar in the form of fructose in fruit etc. Paleo is a fad. Again, people make money with it.

        • Helen

          I’m not paleo, but I also gave up sugar and refined carbs, and the health benefits were surprising to say the least, and much greater than anything I noticed from going vegetarian/low fat/verging on vegan some years ago. In my case the most major benefit was a dramatic reduction in the depression symptoms I’d suffered from all my life, something I had not expected at all. I know that one person’s experience does not carry the weight of proper trials but I’d say the possible benefits of drastically reducing sugar intake merits further investigation.

          • Peter Niepel

            There is some research around the fact that people who skip any food ingredient believe they do something good for their health. This can very often have a positive impact on how they feel. Especially if you already suffer from psychological issues such as depression. Basically you believe you do yourself something good so you feel good. On the other side there is no scientific evidence that a diet where you remove one of the so popular “bad foods” actually has any benefit for a healthy person. Of course there is always overindulgence. And of course this excludes people who are actually diagnosed with some sort of digestive or metabolic issues. Our bodies need sugars and fats. Hell they even need cholesterol. Our brain can’t function without it. Still we buy fat free, sugar free, gluten free. Why? Because we are told it is bad for us.
            In saying that, if it works for you and you are healthy and you feel good, then why not. That’s what I meant, everybody should just eat what they feel comfortable with. But to come to the conclusion that sugar is bad in general only because a lot of people who don’t eat sugar feel good is in my eyes wrong.
            I am a baker and I get a lot of requests for gluten free bread. Almost all of them from people who are not diagnosed with a gluten intolerance but people who think it is good and healthy to avoid gluten. It actually isn’t and it is even counter productive. In Germany 28% of people buy Gluten free products but only about 2% are actually diagnosed with a gluten intolerance. And because they remove it form their diet their body adjusts and can’t process it anymore after a while. Then they become really intolerant because they trained their bodies this way.

          • Gary Graf

            There’s a couple falsehoods in your statement. First, your body does not need any sugar from food to survive. Second, no human possesses the ability to digest gluten. I can go into further into how the body breaks down gluten if you want.

          • Tom L

            Clearly not a doctor.

        • Gary Graf

          Vegan is a fad. Never once in the history of humans have there been vegans until recently.

          • Fooducate

            “Never once in the history of humans have there been *vegans* until recently.”

            Replace “vegans” in the sentence above with “democracies” , “airplanes”, “french fries”, “mobile phones”, …

          • Gary Graf

            Apples and oranges, we’re talking about diets here.

    • Nina

      Paleo diet is not ‘meat at every meal’. That’s a bit of overkill.

      • Gary Graf

        Agreed. Many paleo diet followers eat more veggies than vegetarians, who try to eat soy or fake meat substitutes.

  • Raj

    My family is vegetarian from last 30 years or so. We eat lot of lentils, beans, whole wheat home made bread and lot of plain yogurt. Most of our meals are cooked at home. I think key is to avoid processed food and try to eat raw and plant based diet.

  • Peter Niepel

    “The sector has grown to over half a billion dollars in revenue in 2012.” and this is exactly why people are made to believe that a meat free diet is good for them. Same as wheat free, gluten free, sugar free, lactose free, etc. Free. It is big business. People are made to believe they look after themselves with these this-and-that-free diets. Paleo profits gone through the roof, too. The only really healthy diet is the Common Sense Diet. Eat what is natural to you. Don’t let other people tell you what to put on your plate. Because they have totally different interests than you. Mostly money driven interests.

    • Mari Holland

      Perfectly explained….the key is moderation and that goes for all we do. I enjoy vegetarian recipes, and will prepare them with a poached chicken breast or a fish fillet. Life is good.

    • The Capitalist

      Yes, you definitely should not trust those corrupt vegan food peddlers, that half billion is big business. Rather, put your faith in the meat industry, because with their 200+ billion and decades of cozy government relationships they obviously have no vested interests in your dietary choices. Plus, meat tastes great, so it must be good for you!

      • Peter Niepel

        A diet containing meat is a natural diet for us humans. I don’t make dietary decisions based on money. You should have read my post with an open mind. I said “Eat natural” not eat what some marketing department tells you is good for you.

      • Tom L

        If you say “Gullible” slowly, it sounds like “Oranges”.

    • Tom L

      Well said

  • Peter Niepel
    • Gary Graf

      I would hardly call the inflammation you experience when you eat gluten as a “walk in the park”

  • shris

    We went vegan early this year. My cholesterol has dropped 40 points from last year. My weight hasn’t changed yet, but I am exercising so there is still hope. :)

  • Michael Legge

    I saw a prime rib roast at $58. I guess that cost will push folk to eating less meat, which is not a dreadful fate. The land will thank you.

    • Gary Graf

      You can buy a whole for $2-3/lbs.

  • Liftedqueen

    I been vegan for 2 years now…I’m strictly on plant foods…And The bible says do not eat meat…Get it right…People that eat meat are already dead…

    • Gadget

      i’m all for vegan, but i know the NT bible is fine to eat anything, but not blood, OT began vegan but after the flood devistation, God opended the door to meat too, but without the blood.

      • The Capitalist

        Ever notice how the fall of man began with the banishment from the GARDEN of Eden? Not the Slaughterhouse of Eden, not the Eden Ranch and Dairy, the Garden. Correlate that with the ages of biblical characters and time outside of the Garden; early biblical man lived hundreds of years, and the further down the purported generational trees you look, the less longevity.

        Furthermore, Jesus is referred to by John as “The Lamb of God”. If, as Christians are often eager to assert, animals were put on earth by god to be eaten by man, then John is effectively referring to his savior as a food item. If that sounds right to you, then condsider the holy combo meal, which includes Mohammed the Milkshake, a Buddha Burger, and a side Shivasalad.

  • Laura

    Every vegan I’ve ever met looks sickly and years older than their actual age.

    • Dirk Wethington

      Laura, I’m vegan, 47 but look 30, work out every day and am far from sickly. Check out Mindy Colette, Brendan Brazier, John Sully, Robert Cheeke, Chad Byers and the whole PlantBuilt team. Get your facts straight before you start spouting BS.

      • Jen

        How is it bs if she said every vegan she’s seen? She did not say “every began every where. ” You are taking offense where none was given.

    • Teresa

      I am a vegan and with the muscles I pack on, I don’t believe anyone would say I look sickly. But, you did say everyone you’ve seen. There are plenty of vegans around and most of them are very fit and vibrant looking

    • jen

      Every vegan I’ve met has looked sickly too. A friend who gave it up and was one for 10 years who also ran marathons admitted after she gave it up that she just didn’t feel healthy. Her partner was cooking bacon for blt from freshly picked tomatoes, and that was the end of being vegan for her. Though she didn’t look as unhealthy as other vegans, she looked frail. I know from the stand point of myself, I need the nutrition meat provides, especially red meat because of asthma.

      • Gary Graf

        Veganism and chronic cardio is a common recipe for that look.

  • jessix00

    I stopped eating meat on January 1st2013 as a challenge. I told myself it would only be a year but now that I’ve seen the advantages of a meat free diet, I don’t want to go back! I’m going meat free again in 2014 and I might even try to cut out fish :)

    • Gary Graf

      What are the advantages?