As you may or may not know, October is Vegetarian Awareness month. Seeing facebook posts, emails, or tweets from different people and companies got us thinking about Plant-Strong Awareness. Right now, depending on where you live, there may be a decent amount, or a sadly minuscule amount, of awareness for the plant-strong lifestyle. Sometimes we find ourselves in places where we are ostracized for avoiding animal products and highly processed foods, and sometimes we are surrounded by people who applaud our food choices. The concept of eating a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet is slowly gaining recognition as time goes on, but of course it is still nowhere near mainstream. And it is up to us, the plant-strong community, to spread awareness and share information regarding the wonderful world of plant-powered life! But doing this does not mean that we need to go out of our way or do anything extreme. The best way to spread awareness is to simply be a living example.
Just by eating the way that we eat is making a statement in itself. The food you pack for lunch or order at a restaurant is on public display. It’s like your own personal poster! And when you eat this way, you have higher energy and higher spirits, which makes an even more convincing advertisement! Just like with TV commercials, if people keep seeing happy people eating plants, then they will form an association in their minds between eating plants and being happy. And there’s no false advertising here ;). If people take an interest in your food and inquire… then WOO HOO!! Time to give the WFPB/plant-strong diet a shout out .
Also, when you go to a party or social gathering, offer to bring a dish or two! You don’t even have to say that it is plant-strong. In fact, sometimes it is better to not tell people beforehand so that they don’t go into their first bite with any preconceived notions. Once they ask for the recipe (which, seriously, usually happens) then you can mention it’s plant-strongness.
What we buy at the store also makes a statement. It’s putting in our vote as consumers. Companies want to produce what is in demand; the more people start buying healthier products (no-salt-added canned beans, whole grain pastas and breads, non-dairy milks, etc), the more companies will make them and the more stores will stock them! And maybe soon we will help get things like whole grain oil-free crackers or corn chips, oil-free hummus, and oil-free pasta sauce to be mainstream products stocked in all grocery stores!
Flaunt your merch. Wear your plant-strong t-shirts, put bumper stickers on your car, put stickers on your water bottle or laptop case. Just putting the name and idea out there will help to spread awareness.
And, of course, if people do ask, share your story! It’s a great way to plant a seed without being preachy or pushy. Don’t tell others why they should eat this way, just say why you do. It’s passive, but still active, positive promotion .
So be yourself. Be your plant-strong self, and live your plant-powered life. Just by doing that, you will be spreading awareness as a living example.
And if you do have the desire to rally the plant-strong lifestyle in more active ways, you can! Utilize social media: post articles on facebook, pin plant-strong recipes on pinterest, or tweet the Engine 2 blog posts. Send letters! You can write to your local congressmen, to food manufacturers, to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or to the USDA. Talk to your University or place of employment about adding more plant-strong items to your cafeteria/work functions. Talk to your local grocery store about the possibility of stocking more plant-strong products. If you want to be more active in the movement, you can speak up and let your voice be heard.
-The College Greens