Where’s the Beef?

Increasing trends engulfing the nation, vegetarianism and veganism have found their way into the diets of health nuts, hipsters and animal-sympathizers alike. Meat eaters often scoff at the idea of an all veggie diet and wonder how a vegan/vegetarian survives on only kale chips and coconut milk. Unlike the Atkins or South Beach diet fads, veganism and vegetarianism have the potential to stick around as a source of clean eating for a healthier body.

Trailblazing the trend, celebrities have joined the cause and engaged in a meatless life, including Lea Michele [vegetarian], Natalie Portman [vegan] and Olivia Wilde [vegetarian].

In a 2009 piece she wrote for HuffingtonPost.com, Natalie Portman explained her reasoning for becoming vegan.

The Chic Daily, Fashion Journalist Club, Jessica Abercrombie, Vegetarian/vegan

“Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals changed me from a twenty-year vegetarian to a vegan activist,” Portman said. “The human cost of factory farming — both the compromised welfare of slaughterhouse workers and, even more, the environmental effects of the mass production of animals — is staggering.”

In tandem with her choice to become vegan, Portman says she feels that humans may not understand the thoughts and feelings in an animal’s brain, yet those thoughts and feelings nevertheless exist.

“I’m often interrogated about being vegetarian (e.g., ‘What if you find out that carrots feel pain, too? Then what’ll you eat?’),” she said. “Perhaps others disagree with me that animals have personalities, but the highly documented torture of animals is unacceptable.”

With celebrities like Natalie Portman endorsing and advocating veganism and vegetarianism, the diet fad has continued to grow, as have a variety of myths about the all-veggie lifestyle. Below are a few dispelled myths for the curious vegetarian, perplexed meat eater and interested vegan:

Myth: The vegan/vegetarian diet is a health compromise
Fact: The goal of eating is to fuel the body with certain vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc. To help us select the nutrients we need, the USDA created the food pyramid. Although helpful, the pyramid’s food groups focus more on types of foods rather than the nutrients found in the foods, which offer a narrow scope of what our bodies need to sustain our activities. It is true that vegans/vegetarians must be cognizant of which nutrients they are consuming, but they must be no more aware than the meat-eating population.

The Chic Daily, Fashion Journalist Club, Jessica Abercrombie, Vegetarian/vegan

Myth: Vegans/Vegetarians eat weird, hard-to-find and unappetizing foods
Fact: Vegans/Vegetarians indulge in much of the same culinary luxuries as any regular foodie. Although being vegetarian/vegan may incite a desire to be adventurous with food, not all vegans/vegetarians enjoy trying strange looking fruit and awkward protein fillers. Many vegans/vegetarians eat the same, accessible foods as a meat eater; they simply omit the meat and add a B12 vitamin and a meatless serving of protein.

The Chic Daily, Fashion Journalist Club, Jessica Abercrombie, Vegetarian/vegan

Myth: Eating vegan/vegetarian is costly
Fact: If a vegan/vegetarian knows where and when to shop, cost is never an issue. As per any shopping trip, scope out coupons, purchase items on sale and buy within a budget. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market and Sprouts are all grocery stores that have weekly ads and specials for the natural, organic foods they supply. Additionally, when comparing vegetables to meat, vegetables are always the cheaper option, rather than paying several dollars per pound for meat.

The Chic Daily, Fashion Journalist Club, Jessica Abercrombie, Vegetarian/vegan

Jessica Abercrombie

Photo Credits: Us Weekly // The Daily Radish // National Agricultural Library // Average Betty

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One thought on “Where’s the Beef?

  1. 1. I do a lot of research and look at reursatant reviews and menus. I politely ask questions (always with a smile!) at reursatants where I’m unfamiliar with the food and if I feel like I can’t trust that they’ll make something vegan for me (i.e. leaving butter off the veggies, a soup made with chicken stock, etc.) then I stick with salad and a side of brown rice/plain baked potato/etc. But generally, I try to recommend reursatants where I know what I can order. Example: I go to a local Mexican reursatant with my family and they only have vegetarian items on the menu, but NOT vegan, so I order a side of refried beans (they’re lard-free) without the cheese, a side of fajita veggies and a side of guacamole (fyi, be careful with guac I’ve found a lot of places mix it with sour cream or yogurt and market it as guacamole DIP which is to assume save money). It’s just about asking questions, doing some research, and a little common sense. I stopped eating at a lot of Thai places since they use fish sauce in nearly EVERYTHING and I have a hard time believing that they’ll make mine fish-sauce free. Ideally, I’d love it if my friends and family would eat at solely vegetarian/vegan reursatants with me, but I try to be sensible and respectful of their dietary choices, as well. As for dinner parties, I generally ask if I can bring something and then just create an awesome vegan dish that people will never think is weird (I’d never bring something with a faux-meat product or a protein like seitan or tofu stick with some roasted veggies or a nice big salad). 2. Personally, I do make a conscious effort about 85% of the time. Nobody is perfect, really. I wear second-hand leather (thrift stores) but really try to not purchase it myself. It’s easy to find leather-free purses and belts, but harder to find leather-free quality AND affordable dress shoes. I have a lot of leather and suede things from my pre-vegan days and I’m not going to give those up until they are unwearable because that’s just wasteful. But really, that’s been my biggest downfall. Makeup and other cosmetics (body wash, etc.) are way easier for me, with the exception of beeswax. I’m a beegan I guess because I don’t care so much about beeswax in my cosmetics, and finding a vegan mascara was the hardest thing ever, so I kind of got over it. That’s my personal stance, but others are stricter and I totally respect that. I didn’t mean to write a novel here. I think this Vegan for a Day thing is awesome and I love that people are so open to the discussion about it and are trying it. Rock on to all of you!

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