Eating right is getting easier for local vegans, vegetarians
Contributed by VeggieGirl
Lou Tinel of Ventnor, a vegan for more than 20 years, found it easy
over the decades to find foods to fit his no-meat, no-dairy diet, but
he struggled with locating organically grown food - food raised on
farms that didn't use fertilizers or pesticides.
"Fifteen or 16 years ago, I ordered from a co-op in upstate New York,
$500 worth of stuff," said Tinel, 61.
Tinel would purchase organically grown olive oil, grains, dates,
raisins, nuts and other items from the cooperative. He would share his
bounty with friends also interested in eating well. That's what you
did when organically grown food was hard to come by.
Nowadays, Tinel need not place mega-orders to make sure he constantly
has a supply of organic stuff available. This means he's not sharing
as much either, but luckily his friends can find their own organic
foods at the local grocery.
"For the last 10 years, it has been much easier to find organically
grown food," said Tinel, who added more people are eating organic food
as they become aware of the environmental harm of pesticides,
herbicides and insecticides.
Southern New Jersey residents, who have adopted healthier diets -
whether vegetarianism, veganism, raw foods or organic foods - have
been finding it easier to both shop and dine out in recent years.
Local stores and restaurants have added organic and vegetarian fare to
their shelves and menus, moving to serve the growing market of people
who are turning away from processed foods and meat-based diets.
A 2003 Vegetarian Resource Group/Harris Interactive Survey found that
2.8 percent of Americans are vegetarians and more than half of
vegetarians can be classified as vegans.
"It's a lifestyle thing. People want to eat lighter and healthier
food. We have a mix," Till said. "People are getting more discerning.
People are starting to realize the way you eat affects your health.
There is a correlation between what you put in your body and your
Rebecca Davis of Villas, Lower Township, has been a vegetarian for
more than 20 years. Her choice to avoid eating meat was a medical one.
Davis said her body lacks the enzymes to digest meat. She stopped
eating meat when she was about 5 years old.
"People have had a visceral reaction to me (when they find out she's
vegetarian). ... People automatically assume it's something about
you," said Davis, who encountered stereotypes about vegetarians since
she was a teenager.
"It was hard to find tofu when I first came here. Soy beans were hard.
Veggie burgers were hard to find, organic food in general," Davis
said. "(Now) it's easier to eat in a restaurant and order something
other than a salad. ... People realize vegetarians don't eat sticks
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Approved by andyba on June 11,2008 | 08:42:36