Is this the year of the vegan? According to some, 2014 just might be! A recent New York Magazine article proclaims that “perhaps inspired by Jay Z and Beyoncé’s 22-day vegan diet or the recent outing of Al Gore as a ‘newly turned vegan,’ news outlets on both sides of the Atlantic are already declaring 2014 ‘the year of the vegan.’”

While celebrities dabbling with a plant-based diet are often fleeting, the piece does provides a history of vegan eating over the last seven decades, focusing on the original coining of the term “vegan,” celebrities joining the vegan ranks, and breakthroughs in medical organizations touting a plant-based eating strategy. The author posits 2013’s big vegan event as Domino’s Pizza Israel’s first-ever vegan pizzas.

“Such popularity was unfathomable 70 years ago, when Vegan Society founder Donald Watson first created a separate term for milk-and-egg-free vegetarians,” the author stated.

So, as popularity soars, just how many people are vegans, anyway? According to a Harris Interactive study commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group, approximately five percent of the U.S. is vegetarian (close to 16 million people) and about half of these vegetarians are vegan. While this may sound like a small number, what’s amazing is that the number of vegans in the U.S. has doubled since 2009 from 2.5 percent of the population. This means that 7.5 million people in the U.S. now eat diets that do not include any animal products. The study also revealed that 33 percent of Americans are eating vegan/vegetarian meals more often, though they are not vegan or vegetarian. That is over 100 million people, or one third of the country consciously choosing more plant-based foods! With mounting evidence that abstaining from animal products may be a key ingredient to good health, this number can only be expected to grow.

While we’ll have to keep posted as to whether these overall numbers increase, if this is your year to eat more plant-based, check out One Green Planet’s enormous selection of vegan recipes that will knock your socks off and make this your year of the vegan, no matter what anyone else is doing!

Image Source: Baked Broccoli Burgers