With trends such as meatless Monday and the expansion of fast food chains catering to vegetarians, it’s no lie that this lifestyle is becoming more than a trend. But, in a world of social media and food influencers, the depiction of a veg-head can be argued as whitewashing.

For most of those in western culture, the appeal to a meatless diet has been popularized by recent studies on the meat industry and is surprisingly more affordable than some think.

Adelaide Green

In 2015, the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition found that vegetarians spend on average $750 less on groceries per year than those that consume meat. This is because of the expansion of recipes available to people to help cut back on meat. 

In an article published by Vice, Afia Amoako, a vegan social media influencer, shared the same thoughts that TikTok creator and vegan influencer Tabitha Brown have, which is that most people think that vegans or vegetarians are white people, specifically white women.

“These white women, they are the gatekeepers of the vegan movement," Amoako said. "We Black creators have been here this whole time.”

In the interview, Amoako, a vegan social media influencer, shared that following the killing of George Floyd, there was a push for supporting black creators. However, there has always been this content, and the lifestyle of being veg is not primarily a white thing.

Vegetarianism is more than just a couple of people — this movement has real depth to it:

Adelaide Green
Adelaide Green

The fact that worldwide, vegetarian and veganism is driven by Brazil and India gives some framework to explain where a majority of the recipes people post are coming from.

However, food appropriation is a thing, and there can be a clear distinction. Elements of food appropriation are culture for profit, “lunchbox racism”, where one takes elements of a food and passes it off as theirs, or even shaming someone for the differences in their foods. Though these may seem like specific cases, they occur frequently within the veg community.

Taking a deeper look at who in the world is a part of this community allows for people to have a better outlook on why this is a community to get involved in. With the focus behind going veg being for the betterment of your body, it should also be for the betterment of your connections to different people.

That is just what content creators want to shed light on, and this focus has allowed for organizations such as Vegan Voices of Color to form to help create a conversation about the missing representation.