A new survey shows that half of adults are eating less meat today. And 1-in-5 people now identify themselves as vegetarian or vegan. But “going vegan” means a lot of different things to different people. So, here are some facts you may not know:
First: Even being a “part-time” vegan can boost your health. Statistics show that people who avoid animal products part of the day – or part of the week – weigh an average of 13% percent less than people who eat meat daily. And many studies show a direct link between weighing less, and a lower risk for heart disease and cancer.
Another fact about vegans: They can get all the protein they need from plants. An adult weighing 150 pounds can get their daily protein fill by eating a cup each of cooked spinach and lentils, along with one tofu burger.
So, does that mean vegans eat nothing but plants and soy? No. In fact, many vegan diets revolve around beans, grains, nuts and seeds. And it’s no more expensive to go meat-free. And even when you add up the cost of fresh produce, experts say it’s easy to plan a full day’s vegan menu for less than $5 dollars – which is what you might pay for a single fast-food combo.
Also know this: Vegans make award-winning grilled-cheese sandwiches. Last year, a sandwich made with non-dairy cheese won the 10th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational. And a growing number of chefs are experimenting with vegan cupcakes – where dairy ingredients like butter, milk and eggs are replaced by applesauce and seltzer.
Plus, many of our favorite snack foods are now vegan. For example, PETA has a list identifying vegan snacks like dark chocolate, Oreos, Cracker Jacks, Twizzlers, and even Baco’s Bacon Flavor Bits. For the full list of vegan foods, check out PETA.org.