It’s significant that our collective perception of veganism has also evolved: we think of it as something accessible and appealing. As what we eat becomes more entwined with our social consciousness, food choices are shifting toward personal and political statements we often broadcast to our friends, co-workers and social media audiences. Those making the choice to eat plant-based meals, whether occasionally (hey, #MeatlessMonday) or all the time, are buoyed by blogs, Instagram accounts, cookbooks, YouTube channels, Netflix documentaries and an influx of menu offerings and plant-based products on store shelves. Going meat-free isn’t as challenging as it was for vegans of the eighties, when you had to seek out tahini and no one had heard of quinoa.
“Veganism is having a moment,” says Ruth Tal, who launched her career almost 30 years ago with a travelling juice bar, has five cookbooks under her belt and is about to open her fifth Fresh Restaurant location in Toronto. “When I told my parents I was vegan, they thought I had joined a cult. But now we’ve hit that tipping point – with rising awareness of the environmental impact of the meat industry, combined with great restaurants – you don’t feel like you’re sacrificing to make the change.”