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Here comes the new year along with the customary resolutions to recycle, reduce, reuse. This year, how about embracing a plant-based diet; it would do a world of good for the planet, your health and the animals, too.

A growing number of consumers report reducing their consumption of animal products. Today, schools, colleges, hospitals, and corporate cafeterias are embracing Meatless Mondays; fast food chains Chipotle, Denny’s, Panera, Subway, Taco Bello, White Castle, and even Carl’s Jr.’s have started offering plant-based options; start-ups, led by Beond Meat and Impossible Foods, are creating convenient, delicious, eco-friendly and healthy plant-based replacements for meat and dairy products.

Even meat industry giants Tyson Foods, Cargill, and Canada's Maple Leaf Foods have invested heavily in plant-based meat development, as have Microsoft, Google, Twitter, and PayPal pioneers.

Plant-based food sales grew by 20 percent last year -- 10 times the growth of all foods, according to Plant-Based Foods Association. Plant-based cheeses, creamers, butter, yogurts, and ice creams sales are growing at a 50 percent rate, and plant-based milks account for 15 percent of the milk market.

Best of all, adopting a plant-based diet resolution isn’t difficult or challenging; it’s exciting, healthy, compassionate and fun to explore.

Bradley Rasch

East Moline

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