Vegan food isn’t just being served at PETA functions anymore. Whether people are polishing off plants to improve their health, protect the environment, or stop funding cruelty to animals, fruits and veggies have been elevated from “sides” status to center stage. Here are the top five signs that vegan chic is en vogue:
James Cameron and Suzy Amis-Cameron have launched the first all-vegan elementary school. While educators from coast to coast wring their hands over the childhood-obesity crisis, James Cameron, wife Suzy Amis-Cameron, and her sister Rebecca Amis are onto something. They founded MUSE School CA, a progressive elementary school in Calabasas, California, that features an all-vegan menu and policy, an on-site garden, a seed-to-table education program, and presentations from renowned plant-based lifestyle experts including Rip Esselstyn to help students make more conscientious choices for themselves and the planet. MUSE now has plans in the works to add a middle school and a high school, too.
Beyoncé partnered with her personal trainer to create a vegan meal-delivery service. After two vegan cleanses, Beyoncé was so crazy in love with plant-based foods that she decided to share her veggie virtuosity. Together with Marco Borges, creator of the 22 Days Nutrition food and wellness program, Beyoncé introduced the 22 Days Nutrition meal-delivery service, which delivers fresh, wholesome vegan meals to doorsteps across the country. Beyoncé calls it “a great program to get people motivated to make better nutritional choices.”
Texas — yes, Texas — boasts the most vegan-friendly city in the U.S. Remember the Alamo — and the appetite! — because the Lone Star State wins a gold star for its vegan cuisine. A group of dedicated PETA members selflessly volunteered to review some of the best in vegan fare from around the country, and they named Austin the Most Vegan-Friendly City in the U.S., earning it a plaque presented by none other than Paul McCartney.
Even the federal government is on board. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee just released its 2015 report, and for the first time, the committee weighed the damage that animal agriculture does to the environment in its recommendations. Not surprisingly, its advice to Americans, for their own health and the health of the planet, is to eat fewer meat and dairy products and more fruits and vegetables. We’ll call that sound bipartisan policy.
Vegan food is everywhere, from the Academy Awards to Taco Bell. Whether it’s from Wolfgang Puck or 7-Eleven, you can’t throw a spatula without hitting animal-free fare. Puck’s menu for the Governors Ball after the Academy Awards ceremony included cheese-free veggie pizza, crispy artichokes with citrus-chili gremolata, and parsnip chips with caponata and capers. New York City “vegetable restaurant” Dirt Candy was featured in The New York Times and is so busy that it had to turn away Leonardo DiCaprio. Our health-conscious first lady, Michelle Obama, has a famous penchant for veggie-centric menus. Of course, you don’t have to be a celebrity to get your hands on tasty plant fare. Just head to your favorite restaurant or fast-food joint.