The Plant Pantry: My Story, How I Eased Into a Plant Based Lifestyle
by Tara Thomas; Culinary Editor
“I do not believe everyone should be vegan, but I do believe that everyone should fuel themselves with plants. There is no easy way to make a change in your lifestyle in anyway, the challenge and journey is so beautiful and motivating because you are tackling all the learning curves head on and creating something for yourself. “
Plant forward lifestyles are on the rise. Largely in part to the growing awareness that a plant-based lifestyle shrinks our individual footprint on the planet, not to mention the consumers who are taking pause now that we are, collectively, more aware of the cruelties and environmentally detrimental acts of animal agriculture and factory farming.
The animal agriculture industry is responsible for over 97 percent of the land animals killed each year for human consumption are raised for slaughterhouses. The animals turned into products include, but not limited to; chickens, turkeys, cows, sheep, and rabbits. According to A Well-Fed World 10 billion animals are slaughtered every year, and trillions in the ocean die everyday through fishing. Now that is a lot of violence, injustice, exploitation of lives and our planet.
I remember my first interaction with the plant-based lifestyle was with a new girl in school fresh from Los Angeles. You would think a Portland girl like me was just swimming in the vegan culture from the beginning...but...not really. Our friendship bursted from taking trips into the city after french class to have lunch and shop. Experiencing her interactions at food establishments around her vegan diet educated me on the accessibility of plant-based meals.
Thai and Indian usually the ‘easiest’ (always ask about the fish sauces and ghee), delicatessens allow you to pick and choose ingredients to build personalized sandwiches or plates, and cafes supply you with delicious coffee with nut-milk alternatives and usually some form of vegan treat! Making those plant-forward choices while you’re out can be so powerful, you can taste different foods, and get inspired to create your own at home.
Now you are thinking, she’s got all the tools, insight, and knowledge of the lifestyle, now what? Well I was a vegetarian for 8 months and really enjoying the power of eliminating ingredients from my life and making room for plants. Most days I was truly plant-based which is what inspired me to be 100% vegan today. My body just wasn’t at it’s best with dairy and eggs, and I felt amazing being powered by plants. I never put pressure on myself to be a vegan, I allowed myself to be open to new ideas, lifestyles, and experiences.
My morals around veganism have allowed me to be the person I want to be, I feel good without supporting animal cruelty, responsible for my carbon footprint, and totally empowered in myself. The truth is that it is challenging to be plant-based at first, you have to really think about yourself in relation to the environment to delegate how you’re going to fuel yourself everyday, to be present today. You learn so much about what your body wants, how it feels, and the whole lifestyle becomes an asset to your well-being.
I do not believe everyone should be vegan, but I do believe that everyone should fuel themselves with plants. There is no easy way to make a change in your lifestyle in anyway, the challenge and journey is so beautiful and motivating because you are tackling all the learning curves head on and creating something for yourself.
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