Vegetarians…We Are Not Alone

Impossible Burger at Hell's Kitchen, Minneapolis

It used to be a pretty lonely business going out to eat in a restaurant as a pescatarian/vegetarian. Other folks see 100 items on the menu, but we see 5 or 6…or at least we used to.

There is a boom in the plant-based food industry and it is not because there are suddenly more vegetarians or vegans. The NPD group, a market research firm based in New York State, is reporting that of all those purchasing and eating plant-based burgers 89% are not vegetarian or vegan! 89%!!!

This is according to an article which recently appeared on http://www.nbcnews.com. Here is the link: https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/almost-90-percent-people-eating-non-meat-burgers-are-not-n1082146

My wife and I went out to dinner with friends this evening and one of them ordered an Impossible Burger (so did I!). He is a meat eater, but we convinced him to give it a try. He liked it. As the article states, it seems that plant-based foods have crossed a threshold; taste has finally caught up to what consumers are looking for. Those looking for variety in their diet want to try new things, but will only stick with it if the taste holds up. Products like the Impossible Burger or nearly everything made by Gardein (www.gardein.com) hold their own against animal-based products.

Of course, just because something is plant-based doesn’t mean that it is necessarily healthier to eat. When you order a burger at a restaurant, it may have some salt, pepper, and other spices mixed in but it is otherwise usually not highly processed. Compare this with an Impossible Burger’s ingredients and you’ll see that it is quite processed indeed.

Even so, as the taste meets a higher standard and profitability grows for plant-based food companies, we can expect to see more variety and more healthy options available for everyone–not just vegetarians. Given the impact of the meat industry on the environment, this could be a win for the planet as well.

This is an interesting and exciting trend and it is nice to know that as vegetarians we are not alone.

Proteins in a Plant-Based Diet

Many folks who try to cut out animal-based are worried that they won’t get the protein that they need–especially if they like to work out or participate in active sports.

I have been a pescatarian for the last dozen or so years; a pescatarian does not eat meat or poultry, but still eats fish (in my case this excludes shellfish and other crustaceans). When I made the change, I knew that I could not feed my children and myself pasta every night; I had to plan in advance. Putting together a week’s meal plan at one time helped me to make sure there was variety in what we ate, sufficient protein and greens, and prevented me from having to run to the supermarket every day. The biggest challenge was definitely what to do about protein; I am ovo/lacto so cheeses and eggs helped out a lot. Even if you are vegan, though, there are lots of options out there. Here is an article–complete with some recipes–that addresses the issue. It also talks about some of the concerns that have come up in the past around tofu.

Here is the link from NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/ask-nutritionist-what-are-best-sources-plant-based-protein-ncna982496.

As the article states near the beginning, we don’t have to jump into a completely plant-based diet all at once; even little baby steps make a difference and have health and wellness implications.

Bon Appetit! Voulez-vous de veggies?