25 Reasons Plant-Based Food Owned 2015: Part 1

1. Ben & Jerry’s announce plant-based ice cream

Ben & Jerry’s is likely the biggest name in ice-cream today. Thanks to a little encouragement from a change.org petition (signed by more than 28,000 people) Ben & Jerry’s announced they will be releasing ‘Ben & Jerrys Non-Dairy’: a new, entirely plant-based line of ice-cream made from almond milk in 2016!

The company revealed that, besides being quite popular among vegans and other dairy-alternative-seekers, almond milk also proved to be the best choice as an ice cream base, beating out soy milk, cashew milk and other contenders. Flavour Guru Kirsten Schimoler explained “Almond milk gave us the best blank canvas to carry the funky chunks and swirls that you know and love.” A portion of the almonds used will even be Fairtrade-sourced.

2. Bacon-flavoured seaweed?

Researchers at Oregon State University created an extra-special new kind of red marine algae. This recently-patented dulse tastes just like bacon when cooked! The savoury seaweed also happens to be a ‘superfood’, containing twice the nutritional goodness of kale, and can be grown in bulk right in the lab. DLT, anyone?

3. USDA topples the food pyramid

In March 2015, the USDA’s Dietary Advisory Committee decided for the first time to recommend a decrease in meat consumption. The committee’s report highlighted research that found plant-based eating patterns had the greatest potential health benefits. Not only did they conclude that a diet lower in animal-based foods is healthier, but also that it is better for the planet.

The committee has received backlash from organisations including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and North American Meat Institute regarding their decision to include sustainability as a factor in their recommendations. Miriam Nelson, a professor at Tufts University and one of the committee’s members responded to this specific criticism by stating: “If we’re thinking about the foods that are culturally appropriate, we need to start thinking about what’s sustainable… Other countries have already started doing this – including sustainability in their recommendations – we should be doing it too.”

The official ‘Dietary Guidelines for Americans’, which are updated every five years, should be released any day now.

4. ‘Guinness is good for you’ (and fish too)

Guinness is an Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness (1725–1803) at St. James’s Gate, Dublin. Guinness is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost 60 countries and available in over 120. Annual sales total 850 million litres (1.5 billion Imperial or 1.8 billion US pints).

In November 2015 the company announced that starting at the end of 2016, its beer will no longer contain trace amounts of fish bladder, remnant of an integral part of its current filtration process. It is surprisingly common for beer and wine to be filtered with isinglass, a gelatin-like substance made from the bladders of fish. Although this filtration process has been standard-practice since the 19th Century, Guinness knew a change was in order because they were unable to explicitly state that their famous brown liquid was suitable for vegetarians or vegans. For the first time in its 256-year history, thanks to a large investment in a new state-of-the-art filtration system, Guinness will soon no longer require fish bladders to produce the creamy-smooth deep golden stout that Ireland is world-famous for.

Adam Callaghan, beer writer and editor of Eater Maine, says consumers shouldn’t notice any difference on their end. “Plenty of breweries already use a vegan-friendly alternative” [filtration process] he says, noting that more natural ingredients like Irish moss can also be used.

Cheers, Guinness!

5. Tracey and Jon Stewart open animal sanctuary

Tracey Stewart and her husband, comedian and former ‘Daily Show’ host Jon Stewart, have started a sanctuary for rescued factory farm animals called Bufflehead Farm. The sanctuary, located in Middletown, New Jersey, is a 12-acre non-profit animal rescue shelter and home to everything from cows and pigs to sheep and turkeys.

Tracey Stewart has also published her first book: ‘Do Unto Animals: A Friendly Guide to How Animals Live, and How We Can Make Their Lives Better’ In it, “Stewart provides insight into the secret lives of animals and the kindest ways to live with and alongside them.”

Tracey eats a plant-based diet and confirms that Jon has recently made the shift to vegetarianism. We’re looking forward to hearing more about this exciting new chapter of their lives!

6. George Monbiot addresses the ‘elephant in the room’

George Monbiot is one of the most highly respected environmental journalists, authors, and activists in the world today. What distinguished 2015 for Mr. Monbiot was his particular focus on animal agriculture – the actual ‘elephant in the room’ at the Paris climate talks this year.

Animal agriculture has long been known to be one of the major causes, if not the leading cause, of climate change and in 2015, thanks to Monbiot (who didn’t even let up for Christmas dinner) and many others, the facts surrounding animal agriculture’s massive impact on our environment, and especially climate change, have gone mainstream and can no longer be ignored.

7. Best food blog 2015 and fastest-selling debut cookbook ever plant-based!

When 24 year-old Ella Woodward started her plant-based blog, ‘Deliciously Ella’ three years ago, she couldn’t even cook and certainly wasn’t trying to start a business.

Diagnosed with postural tachycardia syndrome, Ella felt she had to change her self-described unhealthy diet and started the blog to archive her recipes, monitor her progress, and as a personal motivational tool to keep her on track.

However, when in the first six months, the blog had attracted more than 100,000 hits and the number grew to almost a million after only a year, she knew she had stumbled into something quite amazing.

The blog, in a nutshell (no pun intended) is about “natural food with a plant-based emphasis”. Deliciously Ella now receives more than 5 million hits a month, has over half a million followers on Instagram and was named 2015’s Best Blog by OFM.

Following on from this success, demand for Ella’s first cookbook was so high that it was re-printed six times before even being released. ‘Deliciously Ella’ was #1 on Amazon for the first two weeks of its release, and is the fastest-selling debut cookbook ever. It has now sold well over 200,000 copies in the UK alone!

Ella now offers cooking classes, supper clubs, recipes through her online app and contributes a regular column to the Telegraph. We look forward to her second cookbook being released in January 2016.

8. Tim ‘Livewire’ Shieff continues to be awesome

If ever there was a poster boy for all that is epic for athleticism, environmentalism, and the plant-based lifestyle it would be Tim Shieff. At only 27 years old, Shieff is a professional free runner, Ninja Warrior, parkour spiderman, and outspoken plant-based and animal-rights activist.

When Tim isn’t scaling large buildings naked or getting arrested at peaceful protests against climate change, you can find him happy and active on social media, spreading a message of compassion, healthy living, plant-based eating, and wisdom well beyond his years: Tim states “Lions don’t concern themselves with the opinions of sheep. This is about caring about the environment. This is the empathetic side. If you’re against empathy, then you’re on the wrong side.”

Happy New Year! You can find part 2 right here, and part 3 right here

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