It’s hard to pin point the exact moment it happened, but veganism is no longer the hemp-clad social outcast it once was.
A raft of A-list support from the likes of Beyonce, Karlie Kloss and Stella McCartney, plus an explosion of cooking inspiration from chefs and food bloggers like Deliciously Ella, have helped to rebrand what it means to be vegan.
Once shunned and ridiculed, it’s now a stance welcome at (almost) every table in town. You could say, it’s even on trend.
That’s certainly the angle Kerry Diamond, editor of Yahoo Food and editorial director of Cherry Bombe magazine, took when interviewed by The New York Times recently.
“Being a vegan has crossed over into fashion territory,” she says. Adding that while there was “nothing chic about it” for years, being a vegan has now become a ‘thing’.
In the feature focusing on the glam vegan shift, NY Times journalist Jeff Gordinier spends time with the family behind new recipe book The Plantpower Way.
Penned by vegans Julie Piatt, a ‘plant based chef, singer songwriter and spiritual guide’, and Rich Roll, a former entertainment lawyer turned writer, the book is intended to be an aspirational guide for all those who wanting to expel meat from their diets.
And true to the plan, it reads like a highly stylised coffee table book.
“It was a very conscious effort to kind of counterprogram,” Roll says of the beautiful images, all shot in the couple’s incredible Malibu Canyon home.
“Our whole idea was to present this lifestyle in an aspirational and modern way. We want to present it in a way that looks appealing, as opposed to deprivation-oriented.”
In Piatt’s words: “There’s no body odour coming off the pages.”
The fact that Gordinier also observes the youthful appearance of both Piatt and Roll, is no coincidence either. The much talked about ‘glow’ of veganism is another tack that’s been used to promote the lifestyle choice to the mainstream.
With barely a line on her face, 53-year-old Piatt credits her “nonalcoholic, meditative, yogic, vegan lifestyle,” with keeping her skin looking impressively radiant.
Ella Woodward of food blog Deliciously Ella, also notes: “There are definitely some really nice superficial benefits to the whole thing. My skin is so much cleaner and clearer.”
Beyonce says it was a vegan diet that helped her get in shape for the Drunk In Love video, after giving birth to her daughter Blue Ivy. The Oh She Glows cookbook is a best-seller among those in pursuit of a clear complexion.
Does it matter that veganism is no longer strictly a political stance? Is the glamour distracting from the cause?
“You really want to hope it’s not a trend,” says Amanda Cohen, the chef behind New York vegan restaurant Dirt Candy. Who also notes the expense that comes with living the glowy vegan lifestyle depicted by the likes of Woodward, Beyonce and supermodels such as Karlie Kloss. “It’s a big commitment to get that glow, and it’s not cheap. It’s not for the peasants.”
“Being a vegan is still a political act in America,” insists Kerry Diamond. “But having all these beautiful people rebelling in this way is really compelling.”
Read the full New York Times feature at nytimes.com
Top image: Deliciously Ella/Instagram