In “The Tipping Point”, Malcolm Gladwell examines how social “epidemics” happen – how ideas, behaviors, or messages catch fire and spread within a culture. Through numerous examples, he illustrates that many small actions in the right place, at the right time, by the right people can make an incredible impact. Have you ever wondered if a vegan tipping point might be in the offing? Can a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet become the norm? And even further, can you help make it happen?
Take a look at recent events for some insight and some clues, to weigh whether the times really are a-changin’:
- Chipotle restaurants switch from pinto beans cooked with bacon to vegetarian. Also, earlier this year, Chipotle tested tofu as a burrito filling.
- Geico (an auto insurance company) offers a WFPB program to employees in an effort to reduce health care costs.
- Kaiser Permanente (the largest HMO in the US) endorses plant-based diets, suggesting that their physicians should recommend a plant-based diet to all of their patients.
- A New York City elementary school adopts an all-vegetarian menu.
- “Forks Over Knives” continues to be the #1 best-selling documentary at Amazon.com.
- Whole Foods Market brings education and support for adopting a WFPB diet to their customers and employees through their Wellness Clubs.
- Bill Gates promotes meat alternatives. (For a hilarious send-up of an evil corporate empire trying their hand at creating meat “in the lab”, watch “Better Off Ted” (season 1, episode 2, “Heroes”) on Netflix Instant Play).
- The California state legislature passes Senate Bill 380 requiring physicians to have ongoing training about human nutrition.
- Medical and health care studies appear daily that substantiate the powers and benefits of whole foods and a plant-based diet.
To keep tabs on new developments like those above, you might want to create a Google Alert. You can set the alert to deliver an email digest of the greatest and latest happenings – directly to your Inbox. Conversely, to look forward, to make change happen, and happen more quickly, you might want to create your own “wish list” – a catalog of your most-desired, hoped-for events, your sign posts of a vegan, WFPB tipping point. Here are just a few of the items on my list (and I hope you’ll send me the best of yours):
- The last CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) is shuttered.
- The most popular shows on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel are vegan chefs making low-fat, plant-powered meals – in 30 minutes or less.
- The footprint of the meat, cheese, dairy, and processed foods sections of grocery stores shrinks while that of the produce, whole grains, and beans sections grows AND provides more variety.
- Major capitalists and philanthropists (Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, George Soros, et. al.) invest heavily in the growth of the WFPB segment, in the US and worldwide.
- Your parent’s doctor, your friend’s doctor, and/or your neighbor’s doctor suggests a plant-powered diet – BEFORE recommending any medications.
- Your local mom & pop restaurant prominently adds vegan/vegetarian items to the menu.
- At your next professional conference, you can select from multiple vegan meal options.
- More films like “Forks Over Knives” are produced and reach a mass audience.
- Entrepreneurs start a health insurance company by vegans for vegans.
- Dr. John McDougall (or Dr. Neal Barnard, or Dr. Michael Greger, or Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, or Dr. Dean Ornish) is appointed Surgeon General of the United States!!!
It’s amazing how fast you can create a list like the one above – and how hard it is to stop. So why stop? Keep in mind the words of futurist Alan Kay, who said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” You can make the future a bright one, a WFPB one, if you have a compelling vision – and you’re dedicated to it. As Gladwell suggests in his book, social epidemics happen when highly infectious individuals act like a virus for an idea by adopting it and spreading the word. I’m looking infectious and feeling contagious! Are you?!