Resolve to explore vegan options in '16

To the editor:

Once again, it's time for New Year's resolutions, particularly those to improve our diet and exercise routine.

Although gun violence and traffic accidents remain the leading causes of death among young people, the most dangerous weapon for the rest of us is still our fork. Well over a million of us are killed each year by high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other chronic diseases linked to our meat-based diet.

But times are changing. According to Gallup, 22 percent of American consumers are avoiding meat and 12 percent are avoiding dairy products. Supermarket chains, along with Target and Wal-Mart, offer a growing selection of delicious and healthy plant-based meats and dairy products. Animal meat consumption has dropped by 8 percent in the past decade.

Hundreds of school, college, hospital, and corporate cafeterias have embraced Meatless Monday and vegan meals. Fast-food chains like Chipotle, Panera, Subway, Taco Bell, and White Castle are rolling out vegan options.

Let's make this New Year's resolution about exploring the rich variety of plant-based entrees, lunch meats, cheeses, ice creams, and milks, as well as the more traditional green and yellow veggies. The Internet offers tons of recipes and transition tips.

Bernie Emmett, Pittsfield