Newsworthy: China’s growing vegetarian community now larger than in U.S.

Apparently, this is rather old news (from July), but my own time in Beijing, struggling for vegetarian food (which becomes mostly vegan by default) makes this particularly interesting to me.  More, it just points to a change in eating in meat-heavy food cultures, globally.

Posted on PRI’s The World
June 25, 2013 · 5:30 AM CDT

Beijing’s Gingko Tree café fills up fast at lunchtime, with its vegan buffet, and flavorful dishes, offering all the taste but none of the meat that many Chinese love.

Long Kuan was an early follower of urban China’s growing vegan trend.

“It started when global warming was a big issue, and I looked into a lot of information about food’s impact on the environment,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about it before. I was just loving the animals and didn’t want to eat them.”

That already put Long Kuan outside the norm in China, where eating meat is a sign of prosperity — and for many, the more the better. As more Chinese become more prosperous, that’s put an increasing strain on the environment.

Four years ago, Long Kuan was a pop singer, pixie-faced, in her late 20s, with little pig tails — bringing to mind a Chinese Bjork. A song of hers out at the time, “LOHAS Queen,” was an ode to LOHAS – “lifestyles of health and sustainability.”

She decided to switch from just being vegetarian to being vegan, after reading a United Nations report that said that raising, slaughtering and processing livestock produces more greenhouse gases than cars. And these days, she says, it’s a lot easier to be a vegetarian or vegan in China than it used to be.

Read the rest, here.

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