This new phenomena or trend if you will has permeated every grocery store and market across the country from the dairy to the meat sections and every aisle in between. With literally hundreds of new companies offering consumers the presuppose ultimate health benefits of purchasing products that mirror traditional proteins sources that we usually buy like beef, chicken, pork, eggs, and milk. These companies are offering the imitation and/or alternative products with high tech visual marketing advertisements, organic certified labels, endorsements from celebrities and medical professionals and other social media influences that has made us all feel a bit inferior about what we traditional shop and purchase on a weekly basis from our favorite supermarket. And yes this new trend or discovery if you will is being eaten up like juju beans and butter popcorn at a Saturday matinee movie filled with pre-teens watching their favorite Looney Tunes cartoon characters running around doing their comedic acts with everyone laughing so hard that their stomachs are aching. The questions here lies before us: Are we suppose to change our whole way of purchasing, preparing and consuming food products? Are these protein sources actually organic, USDA certified, FDA approved and medically, bona fide true source of food for human consumption? Or is it all just a fad that millennial ex techies and MBA mongrels peddling to us that we’ve been doing it all wrong and that we should do a complete 360 and get on the plant protein train as they cash in millions of dollars in their venture capitalist account so they can buy up more stuff to help them enjoy the so called good life? What the hell is happening to us? Well, no one has really died from eating two real scrambled eggs, 3 strips of pork bacon, slice toast and a glass of real milk from a real dam cow right once or twice a week? Really? Well, these companies will beg to differ with their adds and the so called medical and nutritional research we have become old fogies and that we need to step into the new and improved way of being in the know of what’s happening to live a better, longer and more productive life. Or the contrary have Americans OD’ on a diet of high carbs, saturated fats, high sodium content and corn syrups over the past 20 years. Have we’ve been doped up with fake and synthetic food stuff that the medical community and top food producers have told us that we should abandon the old American meat and potatoes diet and get with the new program of clean eating with plant based protein alternatives? Is this actually going to be better for us or we being tricked into spending more money on the latest food trend that can do more harm than good?
Here’s an adequate definition of a plant based protein for us to consider from Wikipedia:
A plant-based diet is a diet consisting mostly or entirely of foods derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, and with few or no animal products. A plant based-diet is not necessarily vegetarian. Wikipedia
Early Beginnings: The Founders, The Real Movement of Plant-Based Diet
The term “vegan” was created in 1944 by Donald Watson — an English animal rights advocate and founder of The Vegan Society — to describe a person who avoids using animals for ethical reasons. Veganism refers to the practice of being vegan.
Veganism expanded to include a diet that excluded animal-derived foods, such as eggs, meat, fish, poultry, cheese, and other dairy products. Instead, a vegan diet includes plant foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Over time, veganism grew into a movement based not only on ethics and animal welfare but also environmental and health concerns, which have been validated by research.
People have become more aware of the negative effects of modern animal agriculture on the planet, as well as the potential negative health effects of eating a diet high in processed meat and choosing saturated over unsaturated fats.
In the 1980s, Dr. T. Colin Campbell introduced the world of nutrition science to the term “plant-based diet” to define a low fat, high fiber, vegetable-based diet that focused on health and not ethics.
Today, surveys indicate that approximately 2% of Americans consider themselves vegan, the majority of whom fall into the Millennial generation.
What’s more, many people don’t label themselves as being plant-based or vegan but are interested in reducing their animal consumption and trying foods that are popular on a plant-based or vegan diet.
The plant-based movement began with veganism, a way of living that aims to avoid animal harm for ethical reasons. It has expanded to include people who make dietary and lifestyle choices to minimize harm to the environment and their health.
Plant-Based vs. Vegan
This diagram gives the true differences of a plant based and vegan diet. The difference is the oil and high processed foods, animal proteins and lifestyle factors in the vegan, plant-based, and the whole food plant based diets. We all understand the vegan based diet is one of absolute. There is no animal based protein in the vegan based diet. But the the other two diets have some wiggle room regarding animal proteins and lifestyle factors which are left to an individual choice or preference. This can be interpreted as very loose or very stringent all depending on the person view of health, world and environmental outlook. I suggest that the FDA and Organic Association establish a real parameter for the plant and the whole food plant based diets. Without a guideline people are left to their own notion of what their diet restriction is based off of. So one can say that they have a whole food plant based diet, but they eat pork belly twice a month from their favorite Pho restaurants. I mean people can choose how ever they want to eat and whatever diet they want to practice, but please don’t say that you are a hard core plant based individual, but you’re on an IG post throwing down on some baby back ribs with friends!
Although a number of definitions are circulating, most people agree upon some specific differences between the terms “plant-based” and “vegan.”
What It Means to Be Plant-Based
Being plant-based typically refers specifically to one’s diet alone.
Many people use the term “plant-based” to indicate that they eat a diet that either entirely or mostly comprises plant foods. However, some people may call themselves plant-based and still eat certain animal-derived products.
Others use the term “whole foods, plant-based” to describe their diet as being made up of mostly whole plant foods that are raw or minimally processed.
Someone on a whole foods, plant-based diet will also avoid oils and processed grains, whereas these foods may be consumed on a vegan or otherwise plant-based diet.
The “whole foods” part is an important distinction, as so many processed vegan foods exist. For instance, certain varieties of boxed mac and cheese, hot dogs, cheese slices, bacon, and even “chicken” nuggets are vegan, but they would not fit on a whole foods, plant-based diet.
What It Means to Be Vegan
Being vegan reaches beyond diet and also describes the lifestyle that one chooses to lead on a daily basis.
Veganism is generally defined as living in a way that avoids consuming, using, or exploiting animals as much as realistically possible. While this leaves room for individual preferences and barriers, the overall intent is that minimal harm is done to animals through life choices.
In addition to excluding animal products from their diets, people who label themselves as vegan typically avoid purchasing items that were made from or tested on animals.
This often includes clothing, personal care products, shoes, accessories, and household goods. For some vegans, this may also mean avoiding medications or immunizations that use animal byproducts or have been tested on animals.
“Plant-based” refers to a diet that solely or primarily consists of plant foods. A whole foods, plant-based diet also excludes oils and processed packaged foods. “Vegan” indicates that animals are excluded from the diet, products, and lifestyle decisions.
You Can Be Both Plant-Based and Vegan
It’s possible to be both plant-based and vegan, as these terms are not meant to divide people based on the lifestyle they choose.
Many people may start out as vegan, avoiding animal products in their diet primarily for ethical or environmental reasons, but then adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet to achieve their health goals.
On the other hand, some people may start out eating a whole foods, plant-based diet and then decide to expand into veganism by aligning the rest of their lifestyle, avoiding animal products in other non-food areas as well.
Being plant-based and vegan can go hand-in-hand. Some people may start out as one and adopt the intentions or ideas of the other approach, applying ethical, health, and environmental considerations to their lifestyle as a whole.
The Bottom Line
Many people are choosing to reduce or eliminate the number of animal products they consume. While some people choose not to label their dietary choices, others consider themselves plant-based or vegan.
“Plant-based” typically refers to one who eats a diet based primarily on plant foods, with limited to no animal-derived products. A whole foods, plant-based diet means that oils and processed packaged foods are likewise excluded.
The term “vegan” extends to one’s lifestyle choices beyond diet alone. A vegan lifestyle aims to avoid causing harm to animals in any way, including through products used or purchased.
Someone who is vegan also tends to take into account the potential negative environmental effects of animal products.
While these two terms are fundamentally different, they share similarities. Additionally, both are increasing in popularity and can be healthy ways of eating when planned properly.
Ms. Frances Moore Lappe’ The woman and the book that started a shift in food, agriculture and environmental activism.
Ms. Lappe (pronounced Luh-PAY), an American researcher and author that provoked and started a new thought process concerning food, consumption, the environment and diet with her 1971 book Diet for a small Planet. This book challenges societal norms as it relates to the vast amount of agricultural land space that’s dedicated to livestock and how its affecting the environment and how a plant based diet will conserve the environment for future non meat food crops and the greater health benefits this undertaking will affect us as humans. The plant based diet will also slow down the vast climate change back in the early 70’s and the future if we to action to her data and research findings.
Lappé has argued that world hunger is caused not by the lack of food, but rather by the inability of hungry people to gain access to the abundance of food that exists in the world and/or food-producing resources because they are simply too poor. I can write more about her work, but this video gives an complete synopsis of what’s taking place today on this issue that everyone should consider and make a change for ourselves, our world and the future generations of people who will have to eat healthy, natural food regardless if its plant and/or animal based.
So after watching this video I learned that the issue and concern is much deeper than becoming a vegan or vegetarian, but its about our the future of the climate impact that food will have to be raised on and how much land will be available to grow and harvest. I don’t believe that any one will look forward to eating a nice dinner that comes out of a tube that looks like mush and toilet water mixed together like what was served in the movie the Matrix! This is what I’m not looking forward to or my great grandchildren will have to eat because I couldn’t adjust my diet in order to have animal proteins for my future family to have access to. Now think about that! This will force you to make a change real quick. No issue with the movie or Kenau Reeves, just the food that we made have no other choice but to eat and wish we did better now before its too late!
The New Diet: Companies that are cashing in on the plant based products
Below is a partial list of the top 10 plant based protein brands in the grocery market. Research them to learn more about their mission, ingredients, processing and their effect on global climate change. How many brands do you recognize and/or use?
- Beyond Meat
- Field Roast
- Impossible Foods
- MorningStar Farms
- Simply Balanced
- Sweet Earth Natural Foods
- Tyson Raised and Rooted
- Yves Veggie Cuisine
Top 10 Plant Based Food Companies
The global plant based protein market will grow at a CAGR of 8.1% from 2019 to 2025 to reach $14.32 billion by 2025. This segment of the food production market will make a lot of money over the course of time. I think its time to invest in some shares now.
Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company
Roquette Frères Le Romain
E.I. Dupont De Nemours And Company
NOW Health Group, Inc.
Tate & Lyle PLC
Axiom Foods Inc.
Food for Thought…
There’s so much more to share on this topic which I will continue to blog about in the future, but consider your diet, your health and the climate change that’s drastically changing for the worst. We can make real individual change on how and what we eat to preserve the world’s climate for future generations to come. There’s very little time for contemplation and reviewing data to make a decision. We must be the change and therefore make the change before its to late.
Wikipedia plant based protein definition