Jan 14 4:43 PM

Producer's Blog: More than one way to ditch meat (even temporarily)

New methods for going meatless are getting big media attention, from celebrities like Beyonce and Jay-Z adopting a temporary vegan diet, to Oprah Winfrey and hundreds of her staff members taking a week off from all animal products, there are many new spins on what used to be seen as a more stringent form of dietary restriction.

And the market for vegetarian protein is expanding far beyond typical tofu fare. According to the research firm Mintel, the market for meat alternatives earned $553 million in 2012 alone. Whether it’s for personal, political, or sustainability reasons, there are options for eating a modified vegan or vegetarian diet that could appeal to any lifestyle.

Eating meat alternatives for some meals allows consumers to reduce meat intake without sacrificing it altogether.
(TechKnow/Al Jazeera America)


The most user friendly way to delve into the world of vegetarianism. This diet is mainly based on vegetarian foods, but there’s room for the occasional bite into meat.

Vegetarian activists demonstrate to promote "Veggie pride."
2009 AFP

Vegan before dinner

The diet consists of consuming no dairy or meat until dinner, an eating trend that has become more commonplace. Mark Bittman, The New York Times food writer, has a new book that lauds the importance of delving into the leafy territory of dining for most of the day—for both health and environmental reasons—but accommodates going omnivore in moderation after sunset.

PETA gives away free bananas on a busy street corner.
2009 AFP

Many restaurants around the country ably cater to their vegetarian clientele, and the term “Meatless Monday”—a weekly promotion and popular hashtag that urges a once-weekly abstention from eating meat—was actually a marketing phrase coined by The Monday Campaigns, a non-profit associated with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future. The Monday Campaigns’ “Meatless Monday” initiative claims that Americans consume 45 percent more meat per day than the USDA recommends. Reducing that intake can improve “chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.” The slogan has spread to restaurants across the country, many of whom offer special vegetarian fare to kick off the week.


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