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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

More Plants Please

Feb 27, 2022 06:46PM ● By Sharon Bruckman

In the early 1970s, when I was in my 20s, I decided to give vegetarianism a try, hoping to reap the health benefits of eating more plants and less meat. Pregnant with my first child, Frances Moore Lappe’s 1971 bestselling book Diet for a Small Planet became my bible for wholesome recipes to maintain my strength and nourish the new life growing in my womb. In those days, a meat-free diet was quite the exception. Luckily, my husband was up for the adventure. We had fun exploring new flavors and loved the notable health advantages.

Today, newcomers can find plenty of support, as evidenced by the newly-revised, 50th anniversary edition of Diet for a Small Planet, and the proliferation of books, documentaries and products that celebrate plant-centered eating to restore our damaged ecology, address the climate crisis and help us live healthier lives.

In this month’s feature story, “Plant-Based Eating Goes Mainstream” on page 28, Carrie Jackson focuses on the latest trends, including veggie burgers at the ballpark, vegan dairy in cafés and tuna substitutes in grocery aisles. Rising to meet market demand, companies are developing novel, plant-based versions of seafood and dairy; growing mushroom-based “meat” in labs; combining home-delivered vegan meals with vegan and lifestyle coaching; and helping eateries and breweries create vegan alternatives for menu favorites.

In “Easing into a Vegan Lifestyle, Clever Meat Substitutions” on page 34, Sheila Julson suggests a gentle transition toward plant-prominent eating by switching to one vegan meal a week at first, and then gradually adding more. It’s a smart technique for long-term adoption. She also offers yummy ideas and recipes that feature ingenious ingredient-swaps, such as meat substitutions for pizzas and pasta sauce, cauliflower and eggplant “steaks”, jackfruit and banana peels to mimic pulled meat and chickpea flour to simulate ground beef.

Southwest Florida food entrepreneurs also are responding to the increased demand for organic, plant-based foods, making it much easier to find dishes on restaurant menus and supermarket shelves. You’ll discover plenty of local resources in this month’s issue.

Whether you’re a full-time resident or visiting Southwest Florida for a winter warm-up vacation, everybody wants to feel their best and enjoy a vibrant life, and that depends on the kind of fuel we’re feeding our bodies. I hope this month’s edition inspires you to make the best possible choices for the well-being of your family and Mother Earth. 

To your health,

Sharon Bruckman

NOTE: This month we reluctantly say farewell to our calendar editor (goddess) Sara Peterson, who has been assisting us in various ways the past 17 years. We will miss her dearly and are looking for someone who has the skillset and interest in this position. It requires approximately 10 hours a month, primarily between the 10th and 15th. Please email inquires to: [email protected].