Part 3: A Journey Into Plant-Based Eating

Replacing one meal a week with a plant-based meal can allow for less pressure and a gentle introduction into this way of eating.
Men's Health, Plant-Based Diet, healthy food, Vegan

“This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy.” – Joel Salatin

Welcome to my third and finally installment of A Journey Into Plant-Based Eating. I’m sure you’ve gathered that transitioning into a healthier, more sustainable way of eating, requires much more than simply eating different foods. And that if one person has access to important healthy foods, everyone deserves access.

Like the quote above suggests, food tells a story. Who grew and maintained the crops? Are they immigrants who came to America for a better life? Working on farms to help feed their families?  And why do we eat the foods we eat?

In the last installment I talked about

• Dismantle some myths around eating plant-based.
• Ways to slowly incorporate more Whole Foods plant-based meals.
• Why I decided I didn’t want to identify as a vegan.

Now I’ll discuss:

• Discuss more about food equity and accessibility.
• More ways to incorporate and prep plant-based meals into your routine.

When I originally thought about food, I only thought of it in terms of food as an escape. I did this ever since I could remember. Up until a few years ago, I hadn’t realized that food, health and food accessibility is in terrible trouble in our country.

Accessible food means that all citizen of the US (and outside) should have access to all foods. Especially whole foods and produce. Foods like “organic” and specialty organic whole foods like the kind you can find at health food stores, shouldn’t cost an exorbitant amount of money. When a jar of plant-based mayonnaise costs $16 there is something inherently wrong with the food system.

Same with food equity. Communities with limitations in resources and income, are communities who are not informed about the knowledge and assortment of healthy foods in their area, and often times those healthy choices are in no near proximity, and instead replaced by fast food chains and take out.

I lived in a neighborhood in the Bronx, where I frequented mostly all of the food outlets, and the truth was staggering. Every grocery store had poor quality produce and processed packaged foods. Also the neighborhood was peppered with fast food chains, take out and small shops that only sold sugary and salty snack foods.

This brings me to ways in which we can promote a more healthier way of eating and preparing plant-based foods so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. My idea is to introduce more healthier foods into the homes of people who don’t have access to healthier food choices, by way of plant-based eating, and also through education, outreach and activism.

I’m currently on a fixed monthly food income of about $250 and I’m teaching myself to use this money only for plant-based meal preparation and for other healthier food choices like popcorn, almond milk and stevia for sweetener. It isn’t a perfect skill, but definitely getting strung as a plant-based eater.

What I’m finding to be really inexpensive and relatively easy to prepare are dried beans. Dried beans are less expensive because they are not as processed as canned beans. And they also don’t contain additives and preservatives. Take a bag of dried beans of your choosing and soak them for up to 6 hours or over night. Then rinse, fill with water and boil until beans turn soft. The beans I’m buying are around 89 cents per 1 pound bag.

This sounds like a minuscule step towards conscious plant-based eating, but remember, if we’re transitioning out of years of unhealthy eating and eating meat, small steps like these can produce long term adherence. And the more conscious we become around these food issues, hopefully will spark inspiration towards helping to make these changes for everyone.

Replacing one meal a week with a plant-based meal can allow for less pressure and a gentle introduction into this way of eating.

I hope through this three part series, you’ve begun to think about food in a different way. About how food and accessibility can affect communities and as individuals. Thinking about how food and the way we eat, can tell a story.

Let’s write a new story of food equity, better health and food accessibility for all!

Have any questions, comments or feedback, please send me a message at eatplants@greghalpen.com

Eat plants, eat consciously,

Greg

Categories
Food & Nutrition

Greg Halpen is a plant-based food coach who is helping men unpack their eating challenges while helping them to dismantle internalized unhealthy views of their body.

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