How to get a vegan diet in China
In China, where meat consumption is at an all-time high, there is no shortage of vegans, but there are also some who are more sensitive to the issue.
According to an article published in the Shanghai-based publication, Food and Nutrition Bureau (FNB), the number of veg-eaters has risen steadily over the last few years, with about 30 million people having eaten a vegan lifestyle in China.
However, the FNB’s report states that only around 5% of the country’s vegans are in the 20-30-year-old age bracket, making them a niche group.
A growing number of Chinese vegans find themselves at a disadvantage in terms of their diet and food choices, because they are required to pay a portion of their income to the government and have to buy meat for their meals, the article states.
In a country where meat is widely consumed, the consumption of veggier food and foods that use meat is a major issue.
A majority of Chinese people believe that eating meat is detrimental to health and the environment, and it has been estimated that 40% of Chinese adults believe that meat consumption leads to an increased risk of cancer.
Even more so, a recent study found that a higher proportion of people are vegan, compared to vegetarians, due to a desire to eat less meat and dairy.
The vegan lifestyle, as the FNF states, is a choice that many Chinese people choose because they want to reduce the amount of meat in their diets, and the government is helping them by introducing laws that have made it easier for them to do so.
As for the health effects of consuming meat, it is estimated that, according to the World Health Organization, as much as 70% of global meat consumption comes from animals raised for food, and in China, that number is likely higher.
Although there is a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options available in China’s restaurants, many restaurants still require a veggie burger to be served.
“In the past, veggie burgers were not served as often, and there was a sense that there was not a place for veggie food in Chinese restaurants, especially for people in their twenties and thirties,” said Zhao Jianmin, founder of vegan food website Vegan China.
“Veganism is about taking care of your body and health, so the way in which we eat, we are also trying to make our health better.”