For many years living a vegan lifestyle has often been deemed a feminine way of life. However, thankfully these preconceptions are being turned on their head and more men are going vegan despite the stereotype. The Philly recently looked at this in closer detail and talk about it below.
Where once the image of the typical vegan was a woman with a fondness for sprouted seeds and swirling hippie skirts, or perhaps a green-juice-swigging supermodel, a wider swath of Americans (read: the male-identified) is embracing the animal-free lifestyle.
At HipCityVeg, where the menu reimagines vegan versions of such fast-food lunch staples as burgers and chicken sandwiches, the lunchtime crowd is predominantly men in suits. That wasn’t always the way, says owner Nicole Marquis.
Add male bloggers, cookbook authors, and food personalities proudly flaunting nutritional yeast and beet pepperoni, and it seems like a veritable culture shift. A 2015 study in the journal Appetite showed participants did not associate veganism with lower levels of masculinity, and the author concluded veganism was becoming more widely accepted as a mainstream diet for all.
“We’re seeing more families coming in and eating vegan dishes,” says Jesse Kimball, chef of Memphis Taproom, which has long made vegan bar food a priority on its menu. “It used to be the punk-rock vegans, but now there are people with their kids. We see same-sex couples and transgender people, too. It’s just a lot more widespread now across the board.”
Vedge and V Street owner Rich Landau reports that he now sees about 60 percent men coming in – as opposed to the random boyfriends accompanying skinny vegan women he used to see years ago at his previous restaurant Horizons.
“I don’t like to generalize, but I do think it’s fair to say that meatless diets don’t have the same perception they had 10 or 15 years ago,” says Landau’s business partner and wife, Kate Jacoby. “People care much more about the quality of their food in general, in having a cleaner lifestyle, and leaving less of an environmental footprint.”
Perhaps the best-known member of the male-vegan brigade is former President Bill Clinton, who adopted the diet in 2010 for health reasons and who now credits it with keeping him alive. Today’s power-brokers of Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and even Market Street recognize that money and prestige can go farther with longevity. Other examples of prominent male vegans are Steve Wynne, Olympian Carl Lewis, and Michael Dorn of Star Trek fame.
Of course, veganism has become more broadly appealing as the food itself has evolved. Chefs have developed clever workarounds that don’t involve prepackaged tempeh loaf, and adhering to the diet doesn’t require the (real or perceived) sacrifice of pleasure it once did.
“Dude food,” like bacon, nachos, and pizza can all be re-created more than passably without animal products, albeit with a longer list of ingredients.