Post by Whitney Heckathorne, Public Relations Research
Happy New Year!!
We are 5 days into 2010 and I, like millions of Americans, made a resolution to eat more healthfully this year…but how to go about doing this is the real question.
Following some investigation that included watching Food, Inc., and reading Michael Pollen’s In Defense of Food, my NYR (New Year’s Rez) is to only eat real foods and eliminate processed junk from my diet completely (though at 11:59 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, I was practically shoving as many Doritos in my mouth as humanly possible).
In addition, one of the main points of healthful eating I’ve come across again and again in my research, should be no surprise to anyone: we need to eat more plants and consume fewer animal products. And, like many Americans, I am in desperate need to amp up my fruit and vegetable intake (and NO, the ketchup on my street vendor hot dog will no longer count as one of my daily vegetable servings).
According to a study Harris conducted back in May 2009 for the Vegetarian Resource Group, 8% of Americans said they never eat meat and 3% indicated they never eat meat, poultry or seafood, classifying the latter folks as vegetarians. About 1% say they are vegans, indicating they don’t eat ANY type of animal product, including meat, dairy, eggs, poultry, seafood or honey (….really? We’re grouping honey in with the other animal products? Learn something new every day!).
So, should we all be transitioning to completely vegetarian/vegan diets to live more healthfully? Or should we just be making sure the animal products we eat were raised and produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way (i.e., not industrialized and processed the way most are now)?
As the popularity for cruelty-free and sustainably raised animal products increases in the future (as I likely suspect it will) I will be interested in seeing if the number of vegetarians rises or falls...I suppose what I mean is: how many vegetarians currently maintain the diet they do because they don't like the way animals are raised for industrial food? And if more meat and dairy turn grass fed and organic, are vegetarians likely to begin re-incorporating these foods into their diets?
And going back to processed foods vs. real foods, do you think vegetarians are likely to eat more "real foods" than omnivores or, perhaps, do they eat even MORE processed foods…just processed foods that are sans meat?
Whew, lots of questions—share your answers! Happy New Year!