It dawned on me recently that most of the vegetarians and vegans I know are men. While it’s never seemed that girly to me (I went to an arts school for undergrad and eat nutritional yeast and kale on a regular basis—I know my perception may be skewed), there’s definitely room for the the crunchy-granola, hippie-dippy, male-vegetarian stereotype to keep floating around. Just this afternoon during my yoga class, I looked at a dude wearing beads, blissing out in wheel pose and thought, “Definitely did not eat bacon this morning.”

So I pigeon-hole folks too sometimes. We all do. I don’t even want to know what people thought of the yoga-elf outfit I wore out of the house, complete with clogs and a wraparound sweater. This is to say nothing of the messy braids I was sporting.

As vegetarianism and veganism have gone more mainstream in recent years, more and more men have been adopting the lifestyle as a way to get fit and healthy. While in some areas, this seems totally normal and garners barely the bat of an eyelash, I know a few folks who shudder at the thought. For example, I know that the chances of my dad suddenly deciding to eat less than two pounds of animal protein a day are slim to none.

For many, completely changing your diet so late in the game seems ridiculous, but growing numbers of men (and women) are indeed doing just that. This recent article from the Boston Globe talks to a few hegans—men in their 40’s and 50’s who embrace a meatless diet in order to make up for an unhealthy past—and proves that “real men eat plants.”

Also, for a thought-provoking read, check out Jonathan Saffran Foer’s Eating Animals.

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