Approximately seven million Americans are vegetarians, and an additional 22 million follow a vegetarian-inclined diet, according to the Vegetarian Times.
Celebrities such as Anne Hathaway, Casey Affleck, Natalie Portman and Carl Lewis head the list of vegetarians today, and the vegetarian lifestyle seems to be growing, according to PETA.
A vast number of people are seeking to reduce their meat intake, creating a rapidly growing market for all things vegetarian,” said Bill Harper, vice president and publisher of Vegetarian Times.
There are several reasons that people choose to live a vegetarian lifestyle, including meat allergies, environmental issues, concern for animals and the food production process, according to PETA.
“I became a vegetarian after I took a class at Johns Hopkins when I was working on my master’s degree in public health,” said Barbara Nelson, a vegetarian and a professor at BYU-Idaho in the Department of Health, Recreation and Human Performance.
“The course was about food production and the environment. I learned a lot about factory farming, and honestly, it just grossed me out,”
Nelson said she usually prepares meals at home, but when she does eat out, she often orders from the appetizer or side-dish part of the menu.
“Da Pineapple Grill is good. They have some terrific vegetarian sushi,” Nelson said.
McKell Clayson, a senior studying social work, is also a vegetarian.
“Everywhere I go, I feel like there are vegetarian options,” Clayson said.
Rexburg has several restaurants that offer vegetarian options.
Pizza Pie Cafe has a salad bar (as well as vegetarian pizzas).
Costa Vida has a vegetarian burrito with beans and rice.
Jimmy John’s has vegetarian sandwiches.
Subway has a vegetarian sandwich.
Gringo’s has a vegetarian enchilada, burrito and chimichanga.
Ying Yang will make vegetarian dishes to order and has an entire vegetable section in its menu.
Mandarin Restaurant will make vegetable spring rolls, lo mein, cashew vegetables with a dark sauce, and moo goo gai pan with a white sauce on request.
Fong’s has a chef’s speciality ginger vegetable dish.
Most fast food restaurants will make accommodations for vegetarians. For instance, Taco Bell will take meat out of their menu by request.
Broulim’s has a section of green smoothie ingredients. They carry organic mustard greens, beet leaves and kale. They also carry vegetarian meat replacements, such as MorningStar Farms and BOCA brands in the freezer section.
For green smoothie ideas, there are 15 green-smoothie recipes available at www.rawfamily.com.
“In my hometown [Brigham City, Utah] I’ve come to know several people who are vegetarian; it’s not that uncommon,” Clayson said.
She said she does not know of any other vegetarian students in Rexburg.
Clayson said she enjoys the health benefits of being vegetarian. She has been a vegetarian ever since she was six years old, because she has never liked the taste and texture of meat.
“I do still get protein in my diet; I eat a lot of beans and rice and then protein shakes and bars and dairy products,” Clayson said.