By Lizzy Creamer
These days it’s almost impossible to scroll through Instagram and Facebook without seeing a snap of someone’s green drink or kale salad. Diet trends come and go, for example; gluten free, raw, juice cleanses, and most recently, vegetarianism and veganism. Whether it be for dietary and health motives, moral purposes, or jumping on the bandwagon, the new style of eating is vegetarianism and veganism.
Duxbury students are no exception to this growing trend. Duxbury High School’s head of Breadboard Stacey O’Brien said “Absolutely over the past few years. Vegetarian, and I think people choosing diets that work for their lifestyle, so vegetarian, I’ve had some vegans, I’ve had a raw only student for a short time, something they were trying out.”
Mrs. O’Brien discussed how Breadboard always keeps it’s vegetarian and vegan audience in mind, and tries to offer vegetarian substitutes or wholly vegetarian meals frequently. “We make sure to sub – if it’s not a soup that would have meat in it – we always use vegetable stock,” said Mrs. O’Brien, “We avoid putting in other flavorings that would potentially come from an animal source.”
Students concurred with Mrs. O’Brien when asked about the vegetarian and vegan trend. Junior Sydni T. shared her thoughts on the topic. “Yes I definitely have [seen an increase]. Based on just what I’ve seen, I think it’s based more on just awareness of it.” Said Sydni.
Sydni said, “Celebrities kind of talk about their health regime and stuff, and I think a lot of people are like ‘oh, if they’re doing it and they look that great, I should do that and help myself.’ ”
Along with celebrity endorsement, Vegetarian and vegan substitutes have recently been added to restaurant menus, in order to cater to the ever-increasing clientele.
When asked about the matter, Sydni said “I feel like more restaurants are going vegan. There are a lot more areas where people can get vegan food and not have to worry about it. They’ll be like ‘Here’s a vegan option, a vegetarian option.’ [For example] a lot of my friends would get eggplant parm instead of chicken parm from Duxbury Pizza.”
Another junior at DHS, Olivia S. acknowledged the trend becoming more and more popular. “I feel like people are more aware of what they’re eating and what they’re putting into their bodies, so their choosing to only eat vegetables and stuff. I feel like a lot of people are doing it to be healthier, but also it’s the ‘new thing’ to not eat meat.” Said Olivia.
Adding to the general consensus, a 2012 survey conducted by the Vegetarian Resource Group revealed that 2.5% of US citizens identify as vegans, over double the 1% who claimed the title in 2009. A Huffington Post article predicts a vegan America by 2050 due to decreased meat consumption and supermarkets and restaurants’ increased catering towards vegetarian and vegan clientele.
Media has certainly played its part in this trend by making information ready and accessible for potential vegetarians and vegans. Home Schooled Mike E. from Pembroke said “I have noticed a rise in vegetarianism and veganism. I think with the ability to learn more about the everyday foods we eat and how the effect our our health has pushed us to become more organic. Also nowadays it’s easier to figure out how to attain all nutrition and still be vegan or vegetarian.”
Mike explained how awareness and accessible information contributed to the growing vegetarian and vegan population. “I believe more people are becoming vegan and vegetarian because in a way it’s more accessible, it’s easier to be healthy and be vegan/vegetarian with the internet and other sources of knowledge,” Said Mike.
Mike has google trend data on his side. According to Google Search Trends, vegetarian and vegan searches have grown in the past few years.
Although most have noticed the trend catching fire with the general population, cafeteria employee Melissa Harris said “I really haven’t noticed.”
The cafeteria also has very few fully vegetarian meal options. “Vegetable wraps, salads, I think that’s really all,” Said Harris when asked about vegetarian and vegan meal options offered.
Despite the fact that few whole meal substitutes are offered, many other snacks and sides such as yogurt parfaits, pretzels, fruit cups, an array of vegetables, apples, oranges, and bananas are also offered.
Vegetarianism and veganism continue to find their way into the diets of American people, and don’t show any signs of stopping.