It’s as if vegans collectively realized that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, or at least that you spread the message more easily when you don’t start preaching about how eating honey represents an exploitation of bees. Vegans like Mr. Ronnen, Ms. Piatt and Mr. Roll remain highly fluent in the political arguments for plant-based eating, but they’re less likely to be sanctimonious about it, Mr. Ronnen said.

And nonvegans, in turn, seem less likely to be dismissive. Chad Sarno, a 39-year-old chef and culinary educator in Austin, Tex., remembers a time when you’d step into a restaurant and “you would say the vegan word and the chef would look at you like you had three heads and just got off the commune.” Now, with influential nonvegan chefs like David Kinch and Alain Passard rhapsodizing about the glory of vegetables, the dialogue has shifted. “Plants are so sexy,” Mr. Sarno said.

Jeff Gordinier, writing in The New York Times about how veganism has crossed from the subversive, co-op fringe into mainstream America, with delicious new strains of cooking and marketing attracting people concerned with nutrition, physical appearances and activism.

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