A recent feature in local media outlet Arab News uncovered the pervasive trend of Saudi Arabian residents adopting plant-based diets. The publication highlighted several residents who have chosen to go vegan for both ethical and health reasons in the country, where obesity rates are on the rise. “We recommend that those with high cholesterol levels and blood pressure, individuals who struggle with obesity, and even cancer patients steer clear of red and white meat and to eat more vegetables,” obesity specialist Vivian Wehbe, MD said. Resident Ahmad Abdulsalam explained that his veganism is a moral choice. “I became a vegetarian because I couldn’t fathom the thought of chewing a living, breathing creature,” Abdulsalam said. “The animal-rights advocate in me awoke, and I decided I was never going to put any kind of meat inside my body ever again.” In January, Saudi Arabian prince/vegan advocate Khaled Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud announced that he would open 10 vegan restaurants in the Middle East by 2020 to help the local population easily access vegan food.
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