by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Vegetarian-and-vegan

Sep 3 2019

For the record: I am an omnivore

My Twitter feed over the Labor Day weekend was full of messages like this one:

It took me a while to figure out what they were talking about, but eventually I was sent a link to a story in Vice about people who became ill on vegan diets. The article quotes me:

“Most healthy people should be able to adapt to an all-plant diet,” says Marion Nestle, nutritionist, professor, and James Beard Award-winning author. She emphasizes eating a “variety of plant food sources, taking in enough calories to maintain a healthy weight, and finding a good source of vitamin B12.”

The article describes the health problems reported by some followers of vegan diets.  It quotes me again:

Nestle notes these problems are more associated with “starvation” than a standard plant-based diet, which “should not cause people to lose weight or have any of those issues.” However, Nestle adds that a diet high in fibrous plants can take time to adapt to, and people who have been advised to eat a low-fiber diet “will have problems eating a wide enough variety of plant foods to meet nutrient needs.” In other words, many of these influencers may be masking disordered eating habits that are unsustainable.

So, in answer to the tweets:

  • I am an omnivore.
  • I do not endorse vegan or any other kind of diet.
  • I believe that many widely different dietary patterns can support good health.
  • It is possible, but not always easy, to eat healthfully on a vegan diet.

Healthy diets generally contain a wide variety of relatively unprocessed foods in adequate but not excessive amounts.

There are lots of good ways of doing this.  Enjoy!

Feb 7 2019

Gallup Poll: Vegetarian and vegan Americans

A Gallup poll reports the percentages of vegetarians and vegans in America.

  • 5% of Americans say they are vegetarians, unchanged from 2012
  • 3% say they are vegans, little changed from 2% in 2012

You are more likely to say you are vegetarian or vegan if you are:

  • Younger (18-49) rather than older
  • Make less than $30,000 a year
  • Liberal (11%) rather than conservative (2%)

Want to see how they got these numbers or argue with the results?  The methods are here.

Feb 1 2018

Increasingly popular: Vegan diets

GlobalData, a data and analytics company., says vegan diets will be even more popular in 2018.

  • Great Britain: In 2017, 3% self-identified as vegan, compared with 0.8% in 2014.
  • U.S.: In 2017, 5.5% self-identified as vegan, compared with 1% in 2014.

GlobalData consumer analyst, Ronan Stafford comments

The rising number of vegans and how fashionable the cuisine now seems to be, big companies are taking notice; the number of vegan options will increase in both supermarkets and restaurants…These trends will combine to make 2018 the best year yet, in which to follow a vegan diet.

Evidence: McDonald’s is going vegan—at least in Sweden and Finland.

The sandwich, which has already been tested at a handful of McDonald’s locations in Finland, consists of a soy patty, bun, tomato, lettuce, pickles, onion, ketchup, mustard, oil and an egg-less sandwich sauce…McDonald’s said the burger will be on its permanent menu in the two countries, a response to “more and more” people wanting to eat “plant-based food” that is better for the environment.

Other evidence:

  • Mintel: Nearly 10% of new food launches in Sweden this year were vegan items, according to research firm Mintel. That’s up nearly eight-fold from 2012.
  • Nestle: is buying the Sweet Earth, which makes vegan and vegetarian burritos and burgers.
  • Euromonitor: Global sales of vegan-labeled foods increased by nearly 8% last year to $12.8 billion.
Jun 22 2016

The food scene in Israel—some early observations

Wandering around in the Rehavia neighborhood in Jerusalem, I saw a local park with a just-starting composting program.

Down the street from the official residence of the Prime Minister (that would be Benjamin Netanyahu), is the headquarters of the International Jewish Vegetarian Society.

I’m surprised at how little food advertising I’m seeing.  This restaurant overlooking the crater at Mitzpe Ramon is an example that seems typical.  Nestlé (no relation) ice cream bars are everywhere.

Coca-Cola is everywhere too, but this venerable truck is the only one I’ve seen.  This one was in Tel Aviv.

é

 

 

Oct 4 2013

Weekend reading: the history of U.S. vegetarianism

Shprintzen AD.  The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an American Reform Movement, 1817-1921.  University of North Carolina Press, 2013.

My blurb:

A fascinating account of the nineteenth-century origins of the vegetarian social movement to improve American morality and health. The book stops in 1921 when the Vegetarian Society disbanded, but that movement’s legacy is today’s passionate vegetarians, who comprise a vital part of the current movement to improve food systems and the health of people and the planet.

Aug 20 2013

Food Politics: Munich style

I am in Munich this week to give a talk at a meeting of environmental historians and will be posting tourist photos.  Here’s today’s from the main tourist area in front of city hall:

München-20130820-00030

My (rather loose) translation:

Eat vegetarian today.  For the sake of health, the animals, and the environment.

I guess the Germans do pig crates too.

The exhibit is sponsored by the Albert Schweitzer Stiftung für Mitwelt (Tr. Foundation for Mankind), a vegan animal-welfare group.

May 3 2013

Bittman’s VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00

Mark Bittman’s new book, Vegan Before 6:00 or, as he likes to call it, VB6, is now out.

I like this idea.  For starters Bittman is an omnivore, not a vegan.  As he points out, he’s

Someone who has built an entire career on my love of cooking and eating good food.  And VB6 is the way I eat now, and have for six years…VB6 is also realistic…it also maintains that you can love food that tastes good—and eat a lot of it—while you improve your health.

…But you don’t help to go VB6…you need only a commitment to refrain from animal products and hyperprocessed foods until dinner time.

Good idea.  It worked for him and should work for others.

If you are in New York and want him to sign a copy, Bittman is being interviewed tonight at 7;00 p.m. by Sam Sifton at the Barnes & Noble on 17th Street.

Feb 7 2010

San Francisco Chronicle: Vegan Diets

My post on vegetarian and vegan diets elicited so many comments that I thought it was worth recycling for my monthly (first Sunday) column in the San Francisco Chronicle.  It appeared today.