Today I decided to embrace the word vegan for my marketing and educational purposes instead of using plant-based. In the past I've pussy-footed around using vegan mainly because I didn't want to offend or exclude anyone, but yesterday I saw a promotion so off base I felt it was necessary to draw a line in the sand.
The promotion was for a special dinner at a local restaurant promoting a plant-based path. Sounds wonderful! A friend had forwarded this email to me without reading the menu thinking that I would be interested in going. She's right! I would have been if it was indeed a plant-based meal.
I don't want to bash the restaurant or the woman doing this special dinner, but I do want to clarify that this is not in line with any of the main influencers in the whole foods plant-based movement. It's so problematic and misleading in my opinion that I feel it's necessary to ditch the sole use of plant-based for now as to not confuse my clients.
You are probably wondering what set me off so much? Are you ready? The menu for this event had a main course of chicken thighs! WTF, right!
I'm all for people incorporating more fruits and veggies into their diet. Heck I had to ease into eating this way when I started, but if you are going to host a plant-based event, leave the meat out! There are a multitude of amazing, delicious, 100% plant-based recipes out there to wow your guests. The point of eating plant-based is to get rid of the animal products, certainly not showcase them and at most keep them under 10% of your total calories.
I was so perplexed as to how this could happen in the first place that I did a little research. Wikipedia has such a wishy washy version of plant-based. Could this maybe, possibly, not really believing this as I type, give a small bit of merit to the aforementioned event?
There are definitely some gaps in what the public is perceiving as plant-based at the moment. Martica Heaner, PhD's article Vegan, Plant-Based Diet or… What Label Works? sheds some wonderful light on how our movement's influencers are too struggling with the terminology.
Plant-based and vegan eating is catching some serious momentum. People are ready to learn how a plant-powered or vegan diet can treat and sometimes reverse many common diseases. What scares me though is that some well-meaning businesses are trying to ride on the plant-based coattails delivering information that isn't inline with the leading plant-based doctors, scientists and data.
For now I will refer to what I teach as vegan with an emphasis on the importance of a whole foods vegan diet. A diet that encourages kindness, promotes peace and reaps the benefits of a whole foods plant-based diet.
For more information on the power of plant foods check out the following resources:
PCRM Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies
Dr. Joel Furhman
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
Dr. John McDougall