Social media sparks plant-based diet fad

Kaitlin Lewis | Staff Writer

Filling your Snapchat story with pictures of your favorite salad may have more of an influence than you think.

There has been an obvious increase in those who choose a plant-based diet. Since 2014, veganism in the United States has increased by 6 percent, making 1 in 20 Americans vegan or vegetarian.

Some of the most popular rationales include doing it for personal health. Others look at it as a way to reduce harm to the environment and the animals that live on it; however, a new motive is revealing itself. With the rise of social media and people’s desire to share every aspect of their life on such platforms, such as their whereabouts, daily activities, and certainly what they eat, users have begun to admire others’ eating habits and follow suit. According to Senior Yana Artemov, who has been a vegan for two years now, outlets like Netflix have contributed to the rise of this dietary trend.

“There was a documentary that came out called What the Health,” Artemov said. “It is really eye opening. There are a lot of vegan documentaries that have come out, but as more people start watching Netflix, it really exposes a lot of the food industry and how it all has to do with how to make money.”

Public figures on Instagram post pictures of their plant-based diets. As more people join the social media community, more people are exposed to vegetarianism, in which consumers refrain from eating meat, and veganism, in which meat nor any animal products such as eggs, milk or cheese are taken in.

“You keep seeing more and more videos on veganism,” Frey said. “And with the whole YouTube community, it’s (now) a very common trend to be vegan or vegetarian.”

The more information that is shared about vegetarianism, the more misconceptions about the diet are proven wrong. Many people think that a plant-based lifestyle would be too hard to try or would not sustain them long-term. Artemov said that she, too, had misconceptions about veganism before she started researching but has since adopted a new mindset.

“Before I became vegan, I would always hear people make jokes about these crazy hippies who only eat grass and weeds and salads,” Artemov said. “I was just as ignorant as everyone else. Then, I became curious because I’m on the internet a lot, and there are a lot of bloggers (that) show how to have a well-balanced vegan diet, and I was like, ‘Wow, these people are so happy and so healthy and never have an issue at all.’”

Veganism and vegetarianism have a chance to bring positive change in the future, according to Junior Sunny Patel, who has eaten vegetarian all his life. Patel believes that the more people follow this “trend,” the healthier the world can be all around.

“I think it’s better that more people are joining in in having a better diet and saving animals,” Patel said.  “I don’t see it as a bandwagon, I think it is a good thing.If you do say it’s a bandwagon, then it’s a bandwagon to do good.”