So Far in Veganism, 2011

A look back at all the exciting, landmark events in the world of veganism since January 1.

We’ve just surpassed only one quarter of 2011, and already there have been huge strides in the word of veganism. Three New York Times bestsellers? Check. Vegan baked goods conquering the airwaves? Check. A vegan media blitz? Check (times seven). Compiling this list makes us proud of the great steps veganism has taken since New Year’s Day, and has us even more excited for what’s to come. No more puppy mills? Millions more go vegan? Anything’s possible.

1. January saw the rise of Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It to number six on The New York Times bestseller list. In February, Kathy Freston’s Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World debuted on the list in the number three spot, and in April, Wayne Pacelle’s The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them debuted at 11, ahead of books by Pope Benedict XVI and President George W. Bush.

2. What happens when Oprah devotes an entire episode of her show to veganism? Good things, that’s what. Almost 400 staffers went vegan for a week, and many of them decided to keep going. Now that’s progress.

3. Mercy For Animals released the new documentary Farm to Fridge in February, offering 12 minutes of heart-wrenching slaughterhouse and factory-farm coverage. The organization also began a nationwide film tour to open peoples’ eyes to the horrors of factory farming.

4. As if Oprah weren’t enough, Martha Stewart also devoted an entire episode of The Martha Stewart Show to veganism. From cooking seitan bourguignon with Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone to talking with Kathy Freston and Farm Sanctuary Co-Founder Gene Baur, the episode exposed the compassionate and delicious vegan lifestyle to even more viewers.

5. Vegan bakeries Sticky Fingers Bakery and C’est La V Bakeshop competed on a March episode of Food Network’s hit show Cupcake Wars, and Sticky Fingers came home with the grand prize. Additionally, Seattle, Wash.-based doughnut shop Mighty-O won the first installment of Food Network Challenge: Donut Champions in April, and Animal Planet recently reported news of their first food-based show, Sweet Avenger, about Vegan Treats owner Danielle Konya.

6. The fashion world is becoming more compassionate in 2011: West Hollywood made plans in January to become America’s first fur-free city, and the launch of Joshua Katcher’s Pinnacle: Reinvent the Icon print campaign during Mercedes Benz-Fashion Week shed light on the animal cruelty evident in the fashion industry.

7. Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, The Washington Post, The New York Times, TimeNational Public’s not just a list of some of the biggest names in media, it’s also a list of publications that have published articles on veganism this year. From Mark Bittman discussing our relationship with animals to Vogue’s look at veganism for health, these articles push veganism’s path further into mainstream.

8. Steve Wynn, vegan entrepreneur and owner of Wynn Hotels, signed vegan chef Tal Ronnen to his culinary team to revamp vegan menus, providing animal-free food to diners in all 22 of Wynn’s Las Vegas restaurants.

9. Science is backing up even more so what many already know: vegans are healthier. From decreased risk of cataracts, to disease-fighting veggies and muscle-building spinach, more and more studies are showing that a plant-based lifestyle is ideal for optimum health.

10. Political progress, while often thought of as an oxymoron, is happening. From federal and state bills protecting animals, to dietary guidelines and school-lunch standards calling for more produce, to the launch of FoodCorps, those at the top are paying attention to the benefits of a plant-based diet as a solution to the nation’s problems with obesity, climate change, and animal cruelty.

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