Plant-Powered Meat Month launches in July 2020. It is in response to the inevitable failure of the animal meat industry as the current pandemic rips through the planet, and to promote a vital part of the solution—plant-sourced/vegan meats.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, finding solutions to feeding the world, such as those implemented by A Well-Fed World, has been an ongoing challenge. As the pandemic rages on, it has become more apparent that plant-sourced food systems are imperative. The popularity and proliferation of plant-sourced foods, especially meats and dairy options, are helping to create a sustainable world. A major misconception and barrier to change is that people are not yet convinced that plant-sourced meats are real food.
People Love Meat
Most of us still love meat, even if it’s in the form of plant-sourced meat—the greatest invention since sliced bread and cell phones. “I love meat!” as an expression of sheer delight is quite often the unmitigated response of sworn omnivores when presented with a plant-based food message. Yikes! Should we pull out our paddle-board of justice and tell them they’re heartless and cruel? Should we cry in agony and protest, make them feel guilty? Should we quickly recite every data point and all scientific evidence to prove they’re wrong? (Confession: I’ve tried all these.)
Understanding the Meat Culture
The short answer to all these questions is a resounding, “NO!” They’ve already told us they LOVE meat. Condescending to people or expressing anger towards them are just disrespectful and will never win them over or help them understand. Meat has always been a source of great pleasure and social connection for people. This well-established, deeply-rooted, cultural norm is a form enjoyment that’s not about to crawl off into the unknown, with its guilty tail cringing in shame. Among the many factors influencing food choices, taste, pleasure, and social connection are primary. Living in a society that intentionally shields its citizens from the awful realities of turning animals into food, people choose to remain comfortably numb and emphatically claim they do not want to know.
What’s a Dedicated Vegan Supposed to Do?
How can we normalize plant-based meats? First and foremost, people need to understand the many positive reasons to embrace a plant-based/vegan diet. In addition to actively promoting and providing plant-based meats, an extremely effective solution is to inform people they’re already eating meat that was sourced from plants. The mammals and birds people eat are plant eaters. This always elicits an “ah ha” moment! Even fish eat other fish who ate algae, a plant. These consumed plants are digested then transformed into the muscle tissue or flesh referred to as meat. BOOM! All meat is literally formed from plants and substances our body produces on its own.
Invention of Plant-Based Meats as the Real Thing
Modern food-cultivating methods and a lot of science have invented ways to transform plants into meat without going through an animal or any other living, breathing body. This process is imperative for supporting every benefit of going vegan with food. Better for us, for those with whom we share the planet, and the very best way to produce food that doesn’t destroy the Earth. Plant-based meats are now so close to “the real thing” that most people can’t tell the difference. And many say they like these even better. Pass the ketchup, please!
Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise
While a whole-food, entirely plant-based diet is the healthiest (I know, I know), we have to prioritize even greater goals: ending animal, fowl, and fish agriculture and developing sustainable plant-based food systems. Meat lovers are not about to give up meat any time soon. Advocating for plant-based meats and dairy while also advocating for well-balanced, plant-based, whole foods are among the most important things we can do to create a healthy, kind, and sustainable world.
Let’s help lift others up. Be honest, informative, compassionate. Frame our messages, even the most direct “abolition of all exploitation,” in ways that build bridges, not barriers. This is essential for sustainable activism. Co-create living from the goodness that is at the core of every human heart.
Nancy Poznak, MS, VLCE is a passionate vegan and plant-sourced food advocate, since July 2014. Her first career was as a graphic designer for print publications. She was an art director for Muscle & Fitness, which inspired her to pursue a personal training certification, followed by a career in health and wellness. She completed a Masters of Science in Health Science and still teaches exercise classes. In October 2017, Nancy created BotaniCuisine: Plant-Sourced Dining Outreach to increase plant-based, vegan-friendly foods in restaurants. Since then she’s branched out into organizing engaging dinner + social events, the first Vegan Burger Smackdown in Baltimore (June 2019) and now the Plant-Powered Meat Month, July 2020. She also has a booth for BotaniCuisine at farmers’ markets and other public venues to sell food and provide free literature.