Happy World Vegetarian Day! There was a time when very few people would have cared about the vegetable’s big day. However, interest in meat-free diets has climbed rapidly over the past decade.
In the United Kingdom, just 150,000 people followed a plant-based diet back in 2006. That number has since risen to 1.2 million, or 2 percent of the population, according to the National Health Service. Likewise, 3.2 percent of adults in the United States follow a vegetarian diet.
As a result, World Vegetarian Day has received a boost in popularity in recent years, as plant-eaters come together to inform others of how vegetarianism benefits “humans, other animals and our shared earth”.
The benefits of cutting meat out of your diet are well documented if done correctly.
However, many people feel that vegetarians don’t do enough, while others think that they do too much.
As a result, a number of new movements and trends have grown in popularity in recent years.
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The rise of veganism has been phenomenal, with one percent of the population having cut out animal products altogether.
The vegan diet is expected to continue to grow next year. So too are a number of other vegetarian diets, as people put their own spin on meat-free.
Three food movements expected to grow
As people battle between being health conscious and enjoying junk food, new movements are springing up with vastly different views on what exactly a healthy diet is.
Of course, there has been very little research conducted on these new movements, so we wouldn’t recommend trying them out. If you do decide to, be sure to do your research first.
The raw food movement has been growing for a number of years, as people look to maximise the health benefits of healthy food.
Born out of a desire to go back to a more natural way of life, raw food diets are exactly what the name suggests.
Raw foodism doesn’t limit you to specific food groups. So long as you don’t have to cook it above 48 degrees Celsius, you can eat it.
Refined, canned or chemically processed food is also off the menu.
Those that follow raw foodism claim that cooking food cooking food above 48 degrees destroys the natural enzymes and nutrients found in food. By avoiding cooked foods, you get higher doses of important nutrients and are therefore healthier.
However, naysayers argue that raw food diets provide more an excess of certain nutrients while neglecting others. Likewise, some vegetables, such as spinach and cabbage, have been found to provide more antioxidants when cooked. Therefore, it’s worth taking any claimed benefits with a pinch of salt.
Last year, healthy food leaders Whole Foods predicted that flexitarianism would be a major trend in the healthy food scene in 2017.
Otherwise known as reducetarianism, this new movement encourages people to cut down on their meat consumption, rather than cutting meat out of their diet altogether.
Unlike vegetarianism, flexitarianism allows for a lot more freedom. It effectively allows you to be healthier without the pressure of never tucking into a burger ever again.
Vegetarians often face difficulty finding suitable meals to eat when out with friends. Flexitarianism removes that problem by allowing following to set themselves “breaks”. For example, you can limit meat consumption to after 5pm, or only on Saturdays.
With celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz and Sir Richard Branson endorsing the sort of vegetarian lifestyle, flexitarianism is likely to stick around.
For many, even limiting your diet to healthy food isn’t good enough. If you can’t guarantee that it has been grown and preserved adequately, it isn’t safe to put in your mouth.
Rather than forbidding specific foods, the locavore movement limits eaters by proximity. Food can only be consumed if it has been grown or produced locally.
The movement’s original founder limited himself to a 100-mile radius. Many have decided to place a similar limit on themselves.
Claims for taking up the diet include safer food, as there are fewer steps between the farm and your plate, environmental benefits, as well as claims of better taste and richer nutrients.
Local food revenue has been on the up in recent years, with research firm Packaged Facts estimating that the locavore industry will be worth $20.2bn by 2019.