2015 was an absolute whirlwind of one incredible vegan-related story after another. Here are my personal top 10 surprising and inspiring vegan stories of 2015!
#10 - Professional Cheese Taster Raves About Vegan Cheese
Elizabeth Nerud, a Certified Cheese Professional in the American Cheese Society who manages a bustling cheese department in downtown Minneapolis, sums up her tasting of 10 different Miyoko’s Kitchen cultured nut product varieties:
“It’s like cheese created the shapes and flavors but it inspired a whole new thing. You want for nothing, you don’t feel like you are sacrificing a thing.”
#9 - Winning Chili Cookoff Entry is (Secretly) Vegan
Chef Mama T’s homemade vegan chili took first place at a chili cook-off in Honolulu, but no one even knew it was vegan until after the winners were announced! (I so wish I could have seen the looks on their faces.) The second place winner was “grass-fed brisket chili” and the third was “local pork and white bean chili.” Mama T’s secret ingredient was pureed, roasted eggplant. Tastes great, less killing!
#8 - GQ’s Best Burger of 2015 is Vegan
The taste and texture of the burger at NYC chef Brooks Headley’s restaurant Superiority Burger has earned it the honor of being named GQ’s best burger of the year. The clincher? It contains no animal flesh or fluids. Apparently it’s made from a nutty patty with a “roasted umami-bomb tomato” and all kinds of snappy, crunchy, chewy, yummy stuff going on.
This reminds me of the 2104 story of Vedge (a 100% vegan eatery) being named Philadelphia’s best restaurant in a Zagat survey of over five thousand people.
#7 - 13% of All Israelis Now Vegan
Israel is the most vegan country in the world. Detroit-based AR activist Gary Yourofsky is credited by Israelia media with singlehandedly turning more people vegan than anyone else in the world, after an hour-long speech he gave at Georgia Tech was recorded, translated into Hebrew, and shared on social media. His speech is changing lives left and right. Seriously worth watching.
#6 - Britian’s New Farming Minister is an Outspoken Vegan
Kerry McCarthy says: "I really believe that meat should be treated in exactly the same way as tobacco, with public campaigns to stop people eating it. Progress on animal welfare is being made at EU level... but in the end it comes down to not eating meat or dairy. The constant challenging of the environmental impact of livestock farming is making me more and more militant." I don't know how the hell she got this position seeing as we live in the Meatrix, but I like it!
#5 - Mr. Universe Goes Vegan (and other Vegan Athletes Kick Ass & Break Records)
The reigning Mr. Universe Barny Du Plessis went vegan, joining the 1977 winner Jim Morris (who is a 78-year-old powerhouse). Scott Jurek became the fastest person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Serena Williams (who is "plant-based" but not vegan in lifestyle) won Wimbledon (her fourth straight major) and was named Sports Illustrated’s 2015 Sportsperson of the Year. Football player David Carter, “The 300-Pound Vegan,” was signed by the Chicago Bears. Strongman Patrik Baboumian officially beat his own Guinness world record for heaviest yoke walk.
But where do they get their protein? ;)
#4 - The Onion Mocks the Paradoxical Idea of “Humane Meat”
The Onion cleverly mocked the nonsensical yet ubiquitous “humane meat” myth with their “free-range slaughterhouse” spoof. “When you bite into a steak, you can tell whether or not it was given the chance to amble around near its own disemboweled calf.”
This may even top their classic 2013 piece, “We Raise All Our Beef Humanely On Open Pasture And Then We Hang Them Upside Down And Slash Their Throats.”
#3 - Vegan Mayo Lawsuit Triumph Shows Desperation of Declining Industry
Lobbyists for Big Egg tried and failed to ruin Josh Tetrick's vegan food company Hampton Creek and their “Just Mayo.” Officials at the American Egg Board — a marketing organization funded by the egg industry but overseen by the Department of Agriculture — tried to coordinate a public relations effort to bring down Hampton Creek. It backfired miserably.
And while the Washington Post article linked above says the environmental benefits of replacing eggs with plant-based alternatives are “debatable,” the ecologically damaging impacts of chicken farming are well documented.
#2 - “Going Vegan” Wins Best Water Idea at World Water Week 2015
World Water Week in Stockholm, organized by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. In 2015, over 3,000 individuals and close to 300 convening organizations from 130 countries participated. "Going vegan" won their "Best Water Ideas" campaign with 58% of the votes. Going vegan is literally the only way to save massive amounts of water. All other solutions pale in comparison.
Oh, and the media decided not to report on this story at all.
#1 - Cowspiracy Cut Co-Produced by Leonardo Dicaprio Released on Netflix!
In 2014, I interviewed the director of documentary film Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret. This year a new cut was produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, released on Netflix, and screened for the European Parliament and the Italian Parliament. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for you. Just watch it already! Better yet, watch all three of these documentaries:
In case you need another reason, the top story of the year in this regard was of course the World Health Organization classifying processed meat as a carcinogen (something that causes cancer). Read the WHO's Q&A on that.
The year's top story for Craig and I was the fact that our blog article Our Vegan Diet Almost Killed Us – No, Really went unexpectedly viral! It now has over a million views, and we've gotten tons of people telling us it has inspired them to go vegan! Woohoo!
Thank you for reading. If you are inspired to make the switch, it's the perfect time, as Veganuary is about to kick off. May you take a cup of kindness yet in 2016 by going and/or continuing to be vegan. <3
Article by Lorelei Plotczyk