IFBC 2014: Vegetarianism Goes Mainstream

Monday, September 22, 2014

“Looking for next big food trend?  Vegetables vegetables vegetables….Vegetarians everywhere! We’re totally not in the south anymore!”

—South Carolina blogger Nichole Livengood @gapcreekgourmet

“Amazing keynote speakers @KarenAndAndrew thank you for bringing plant based trends to the forefront!  Made my day!!”

—San Diego blogger Kim Kelly @LivLifeToo

We loved keynoting this past weekend’s International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) in Seattle, which gathered more than 400 food bloggers representing 30 different states and four countries for some intensive talks and tastings and trading of business cards.

IFBC2014VegFromMarginsToMainstream

Keynote slide that seemed to sum up IFBC weekend: Vegetarianism is now mainstream

When organizer Sheri Wetherell contacted us a few months ago with an invitation to deliver the IFBC keynote address, we were delighted.  But as September 20th drew nearer, we were frankly uncertain how our new enthusiasm for plant-strong eating would be perceived and received.

Not that we had much choice in the matter:  Another theme we planned to touch on was the importance of living an authentic life.  After eating a 99-percent meatfree diet since May 2012, there’s really no way we could have avoided the topic, so we decided to be upfront about it.

Our concern turned out to be misplaced, and we should have taken more comfort in the fact that the numbers don’t lie.  As we shared during our keynote: Despite spending so many years on the margins, vegetarianism is now mainstream, with 54% of Americans either vegan (2%), vegetarian (5%), or semi-vegetarian (as in actively seeking to reduce their consumption of meat, or 47%).

IFBC2014SADSlide

Most Americans’ diet = SAD indeed — mostly processed foods and animal foods

But vegetarian and vegan diets do not always equal healthy diets, as we discussed in our keynote, too, when mentioning the importance of avoiding processed foods (which comprise the majority of the Standard American Diet) and embracing the kind of whole-foods, plant-based diet recommended by experts such as T. Colin Campbell, author of the million-copy bestseller The China Study and Whole.  THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE indicates many foods’ nutritional density to help guide readers toward the most nutrient dense (coded with dark green and green dots) and the least nutrient dense (coded with red and orange dots) ingredients when cooking and planning a menu.

We kicked off our talk by sharing some of the trials and tribulations of our journey to becoming published authors, which included having our ideas rejected time and time again by agents and editors alike (and btw showing actual clips from a number of our rejection letters!), yet somehow finding the perseverance through the years to get to that one, all-important YES.

IFBC2014AndrewAndKarenKeynoteAndSlide

As cliched as it may sound, it was a genuine pleasure to get to meet so many wonderful people throughout the conference weekend, with too many highlights to single any out.  OK, we have to single out our warm and welcoming conference organizer extraordinaire Sheri Wetherell, her other half Barnaby Dorfman, and Zephyr Adventures’s Allan Wright

IFBC2014EliseAndAndrew

….as well as the very lovely Elise Bauer of SimplyRecipes.com, whom we knew only via email exchanges (and her kind review of THE FLAVOR BIBLE as “a godsend”), but who very thoughtfully sought us out to say hello just after we left the stage!

And we also have to thank all of the bloggers who were Tweeting and Facebooking and Instagramming up a storm all weekend long, e.g.

IFBC2014FeedbackInRealTimeViaTwitter

BTW, special thanks to Little, Brown for making arrangements to share credit card-sized cards providing a sneak peek at the eBook for THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE via BookShout.com, which proved an exciting surprise to a number of fans of THE FLAVOR BIBLE in the crowd:

IFBC2014TVFBCards

We’ll have more to share soon, but in the meantime have to get ready for another wonderful annual event:  tonight’s 11th annual SHARE benefit “A Second Helping of Life” being held at Pier 60 in New York City starting at 6 pm, where we’ll hope to see you!

The next International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) will be held September 18-20, 2015, at the Sheraton in Seattle.  To register, visit foodista.com/ifbc.

Categorized: Other, USA