Gratitude for an Ever-Evolving Plant-Based Journey
In 2018, when I penned the business plan for the first Plant Based World Expo, my conviction was absolute: the world needed to go vegan. Back then, my diet was heavily reliant on plant-based meat alternatives, which I believed were the linchpin for weaning the world off animal protein. My definition of an “ethical food system” was straightforward – no animal killings.
However, the ensuing five years, which saw the inception of seven Plant Based World Expos from New York to London, have been a humbling odyssey of personal and professional growth. In this journey, I’ve had the privilege to taste and experience nearly everything the plant-based food universe has to offer and connect with inspiring individuals from around the globe. This exposure has subtly yet profoundly reshaped my perspectives.
One of the most palpable shifts has been in my dietary preferences. Gradually, my body began to yearn for whole foods over heavily processed alternatives. While I maintain that plant-based meats will continue to play a crucial role in our collective dietary evolution, my personal diet has transitioned towards something more real, regenerative, and rejuvenating. I still crave a meaty treat from time to time, but am actively on the lookout for cleaner labels and novel ingredients that achieve that “meatiness” without excessive processing. Mushrooms have become my best friend, and the fungi kingdom remains my number one trend to look out for as our food system continues to evolve towards more natural and wholesome ingredients!
This evolution extended beyond just my physical diet; it was a philosophical awakening. Interacting with diverse individuals, I recognized that veganism isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. This realization compelled me to let go of my judgments and expectations of others. It’s a path of personal choice, and what works for one may not resonate with another.
Most importantly, my understanding of what constitutes an ethical and compassionate food system has broadened. True veganism, I’ve come to realize, is more than a dietary choice; it’s a way of life that embodies compassion in all dealings and interactions. The essence of the movement aligns closely with ‘Ahimsa’ – the Sanskrit term for non-violence in its highest form. Choosing to eat plants instead of animals is one way to embody this concept, but it cannot end there. Ahimsa extends outward, bringing compassion into all interactions, with humans, animals, my environment and most importantly, my own self.
Embracing this philosophy has allowed me to be more gentle on myself. To release my judgements of my own imperfections and feel more free. Simultaneously it has allowed me to develop a heightened standard for the businesses, projects and products I support. My eye is now more keen than ever to recognize when a company is truly “walking the walk”, from how they embody their mission to the way they communicate and how they show up in the community. I am less easily-fooled and more eager than ever to support the projects that resonate with authenticity and connectedness… the true essence behind the plant-based food movement.
As I reflect on this journey, I invite you, our readers, to introspect how your values are mirrored in your professional life. In a world craving truth, conscience, and balance, imagine the collective impact when each of us intentionally infuse our day to day work with a little extra honesty, empathy, and loving mindfulness. What kind of world will we create and share with one another?
This is not just a call to action; it’s an invitation to join me on this ever-evolving journey. Together, let’s redefine what it means to be a part of the plant-based world, not just in what we eat, but in how we live, work, and relate to one another and our planet.