I was inspired by a recent comment on Facebook to explore ways in which a simple plant-based diet has evolved into a significant worldwide movement. While at it's core, a person's decision to adopt a plant-based diet is a personal one, and requires personal decisions to stick to daily despite temptations to waver - it has managed to become a shared experience for people who like the sense of community.
The funny thing about a plant-based diet is that it is extremely simple, and evidence of humankind eating like this can be traced back to our earliest ancestors. Hunting for animal meat has significantly evolved in the modern world due to big industry, factory farming, breeding animals specifically to kill and consume, and not to mention the convenience of food available at grocery stores. Without this modern convenience, eating meat would be far less attractive as it would no doubt require much more effort to harvest - individual's would actually have to go out and kill their food themselves - and would likely lead to a larger number of people having their own gardens.
This history is often overlooked through modern education channels - due to the way the governments of the world and school systems teach about nutrition. Much of what is taught is the result of state and federal level mandates so everyone learns similar things, but some of the fundamental things taught are continuing to be shown as inaccurate.
The biggest problem that arises from this is when a young student in their prime for learning and absorbing information is forced to answer a question like "what is the best source of protein" with the answer being "meat" just to pass a test and proceed on with their education. When the Standard American Diet (SAD) is taught to us as healthy from the day we start our lives, it can be difficult to escape a cycle of disease that has been shown to come with it.
Fortunately, voices have begun to pop up more and more to go against the grain. It seems that many people who find the whole food, plant-base diet, do so as a result of coming face to face with poor health. For myself, being significantly overweight and experiencing many negative consequences of my diet and lifestyle led to me seeking out an alternative. This began with researching diets, and I found myself really connecting with the information provided by plant-based doctors like Dr. McDougall and Dr. Greger in books like The Starch Solution and How Not to Die.
Like most people, I also looked for living, breathing examples of the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. This included many "plant-based celebrities" as they can be viewed including people like T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. McDougall, Dr. Greger, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Goldhamer, Rip Esselstyn, Chef AF, The Happy Herbivore, and others. Of course, other examples of "cultural" celebrities like actors, musicians, film directors, etc. can be looked at too as evidence of people who have adopted a plant-based diet, too! This list can go on and on for many people.
With each of these voices popping in in different countries - and from different walks of life - the value of the plant-based movement notably increases. It is a powerful thing that is difficult to ignore - and has even caught on with some well-respected documentaries produced by Hollywood on this subject like 2016's Eating You Alive.
The whole foods, plant-based diet movement is real. I am happy to be a part of it as I bring my unique voice to the table. The more you speak up with friends and family, the more it will continue to grow as it changes lives. The changes I have personally experienced are too significant to ignore, and it is something I am thankful for as I reflect on years spend feeling sick and uneasy due to my previous diet and lifestyle.