Time Magazine, Martha, Oprah….Oh my! It seems that everywhere I turn these days, people are talking about veganism. Just a few weeks ago I was shopping with my Mother and we stumbled into a bookstore on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley. Mind you, we were in Berkeley, but much to my delight the front table was covered in vegan cookbooks. Not just vegetarian books, but vegan books. After flipping through the books and salivating over all the tasty recipes, it dawned on me how far veganism has come.

I have been vegan for nearly twelve years and have seen the movement grow and evolve.  Over the years hundreds of vegan products have landed on the market, restaurants are popping up all over the country, not just in the cities, and an increasing number of cookbooks have been published. We vegans have been celebrating the expansion of our lifestyle, but something else is changing.

It seems the mainstream media has either just figured out what vegan is or more likely they have come to realize how much money they can make off the market.  In the last month or so, vegan shows have been appearing in the least likely places. In early February, the head mogul herself, Oprah hosted a “Vegan Challenge” show where she and her entire staff went vegan for one week. She also had high-profile guests such as Kathy Freston discuss the issues of food and veganism. To see a piece of the show, see below:

Then just a few months later, Martha Stewart produced her own vegan show, which she so thoughtfully titled “The Vegan Show.” On her show, she interviewed the lovely Farm Sanctuary founder Gene Baur about animal rights and tried out some of Kathy Freston’s tasty dishes. But the deluge of all things vegan didn’t end there. Time Magazine published the article “The Morality of Mealtime” where they discussed factory farming and spoke to Gene Baur. And finally at the end of last month Animal Planet released information that they would be producing a reality TV show around the vegan bakery in PA, Vegan Treats (which we have had the pleasure in gorging ourselves in).

Now you may think to yourself, does this mean the vegan lifestyle is growing and becoming more mainstream? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. While I think it is terrific veganism is getting so much attention, I hope it isn’t just a media fad, much like the Atkins or Blood Type diets. It seems the media seeks out about something interesting, focuses on it for awhile, and moves on. This may be the reason for all the coverage, however, all this attention is bringing awareness not only to the movement but to the abuses in the meat and dairy industries. The more people understand the many reasons behind going vegan, the less we will seem like extremists and the more options there will be for us.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter why people are covering the vegan world, but it matters how it will affect the movement. If people turn to their TV, their magazines and newspapers for answers, we might actually see some change for the animals and acceptance of those who chose to live their lives as vegans.

-Gina Williams