Meatless Week: Exploring the Thriving, Misunderstood World of Animal-Free Eating

Over the years, we've been as guilty as any food-and-drink outlet of dispatching overzealous praise to the orthodoxy of meat. Burgers, chicken wings, bacon-wrapped chicken wings, and even more burgers -- we've been there, repeatedly and excitedly. Publishers have a house style; if we had a house protein, you can be sure it wouldn’t be tofu.

But all this week we're officially taking a break from extolling the decadent pleasures of eating fauna. Through a series of articles exploring the technological, cultural, and culinary impact of going meat-free, we'll dissect what beef substitutes will look like in the future, ponder the curious lack of mainstream vegetarian cooking shows, and visit a California town where the entire population is vegetarian. We also ask philosophical questions about the ethics of lab-grown meat, and dive even deeper into that topic on the Seeker Plus podcast. And because we're still list-ivores, we'll also taste-test and rank vegan- and vegetarian-friendly snacks, fake meats, and fast-food options.

The result is Meatless Week, and we hope you enjoy it. There's a lot to get to, so grab a plate and pass the seitan, would you?

Daniel Fishel/Thrillist

Vegetarians Will Never Be Cool

How meat-eaters and vegans are drowning out vegetarianism

by Jaya Saxena

Omnivores and vegans may get more attention, but vegetarians are very much still here. They just need a stronger message.

Cole Saladino & Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Home of the Fruit Burger

How cantaloupe may help fight the impending meat apocalypse

by Max Falkowitz

It's not sci-fi: New York chef Will Horowitz's cantaloupe burgers taste like the real deal. They're also proof of concept for a diet from the future.

Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

The Future of Vegetables

The big business of manipulating your produce

by Kelsey McKinney

Technology has sped up the evolution of fruits and vegetables. If only consumers could keep pace.

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Is Lab-Grown Meat Vegetarian?

Everyone has an opinion. Here are nine of them.

by Khushbu Shah and Leanne Butkovic

We posed the burning philosophical question to a vegetarian (duh), a scientist, an ethicist, a PETA honcho, and more.

Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

TV's Vegetarian Wasteland

The fruitless search for a meatless superstar

by Leanne Butkovic

America's growing interest in meat-free eating has yet to be reflected on mainstream television. But vegans and vegetarians shouldn't abandon all hope... yet.

Daniel Fishel/Thrillist

The Vegan Race Wars

How the mainstream ignores vegans of color

by Khushbu Shah

Veganism has existed in many communities for millennia. So why do white vegans get all the credit?

Joe Philipson

Old? I'm Only 100!

In the meatless town of Loma Linda, longevity is no big deal

by Liana Aghajanian

The California enclave is America's only Blue Zone, boasting more centenarians per capita than anywhere else in the country. The possible secret: They're all vegetarians.

Editors: Leanne Butkovic, John Sellers, and Khushbu Shah
Illustrators: Daniel Fishel and Jason Hoffman
Animator: Evan Lockhart
Photographer: Cole Saladino
Contributors: Liana Aghajanian, Leanne Butkovic, Carrie Dennis, Max Falkowitz, Rachel Freeman, Andy Kryza, Kelsey McKinney, Joe Philipson, Jaya Saxena, and Khushbu Shah
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