FROM THE DESK OF BEN DAVIS
CONTENT & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
PLANT BASED WORLD CONFERENCE & EXPO
The state of our world from a food perspective is currently quite chaotic. Items up and down grocery store shelves are decorated with fancy new certifications, claims of life-saving superfood ingredients, CBD dosages, etc. Heck, even major meat producers are now jumping on the plant-based bandwagon to market products that are actually just chicken and beef with a dusting of cauliflower or pea protein. I got home from the store yesterday, excited about my new “plant-powered” deli slices, only to realize that they contain egg in the ingredients…
The point is, everything is shifting, and perhaps nobody really knows exactly what’s going on. It seems that for the most part we can agree that whole plant-foods are the best things to put in our bodies. The health benefits of processed plant-foods in relationship to their animal-based counterparts can be debated, but the former are undoubtedly more ethical and sustainable to produce, which I believe in itself promotes mental, emotional and physical human health.
Bottom line – these decisions about what we put on our plates matter for both ourselves and the world around us, but the criteria upon which we base those decisions is understandably quite tricky. With this in mind, I have come up with a a simple, 3-word strategy to help anyone in today’s hectic world make the food choices that are right for them:
The Strategy: Do Your Best!
Do your best. It’s that simple. Self love is so important in navigating life with ease, and being overly hard on ourselves can only lead to added stress and frustration that makes it even more difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle. If we can accept that there is no absolutely perfect diet, and it’s not possible to monitor and control every single nutrient and ingredient we put in our bodies, we are left with one question:
Can I trust that I am doing my best to eat in a way that is in alignment with who I am, what I believe in and how I want to feel?
I faced this challenge just this past week as I was in the midst of a 30-hour, solo drive across the country from Connecticut to Colorado. At just about the halfway mark I found myself driving through St. Louis, the now famous home of the original Impossible Whopper. It was nearing midnight and I was hungry, and the idea of a chomping into a burger sounded both delicious and energizing for the long drive ahead.
For context – I have not eaten any meat in about 3 years, but I haven’t eaten fast food in about a decade. The notion of pulling up to a Burger King drive-through window had not crossed my mind in all of that time, and as I leaned out my car window to place my order I felt like I was in somewhat of an odd, alternate universe.
“2 Impossible burgers, no cheese, add onion, lettuce, ketchup and mustard, please”, was my order. I realize that I did not know if the buns were vegan. I am not sure if the burgers were cooked on the same grill as the beef patties. I highly doubt that the veggie toppings were grown organically, or that the condiments were GMO-free. I’m sure there was some palm oil, or some high fructose corn syrup in there somewhere…
I also recognize that Burger King as a corporation contributes a great deal to poor human health and poor treatment of animals and the environment, but I also recognize that applauding, and in this case financially supporting Burger King’s decision to include a beef-free burger on their menu is a step in the right direction. To me, considering my options (or lack there-of) at the time, those positives outweighed the negatives and allowed me to enjoy the meal without guilt or self-loathing.
Were the burgers tasty? You bet they were… And the experience at the same time took me back to being a kid at a fast food drive-through while also inspiring me to imagine a future world where in any city, at any hour, a hungry vegan can find a satisfying meal without hassle.
So do I see myself going to BK for Impossible burgers frequently now? No, I don’t. Will I do it again if I happen to be in a situation where my options are limited? Perhaps… but what is most important to me is that in that moment, with what I had available to quench my inescapable human need for sustenance, I did my best to eat in a way that is in alignment with who I am, what I believe and how I want to feel. In a world filled with confusing labels, buzzwords and marketing tactics, doing our best seems like the very best way to continue enjoying the experience of eating food while maintaining our sanity as functional human beings.
Thank you for reading. Your feedback is always appreciated. Feel free to reach out to me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to mark your calendars for the 2nd annual Plant Based World Conference & Expo at the Javits Convention Center in NYC June 5-6, 2020!