Plant-Based for the Planet

By Aimee Jodoin, Adult Parapro at the Kentwood Branch

There's no second-guessing that food is very precious to us — to our culture, to our day-to-day experiences, to our finances, to our taste buds. Changing the way you eat is no easy task, but it has great benefits to the environment, opens a new window. Just eating plant-based for a single day, opens a new window saves 1,000 liters of water, 40 lbs of grain, 30 sq. ft. of forest, 20 lbs of CO2 emissions and one animal life.

Instead of digging into the depressing and sometimes controversial research and reasons to eat a more plant-based diet, let's talk about the wonderful world of colorful, delicious, varied and affordable vegan food! Even replacing a meat-centered meal here and there with a vegan one has positive impacts on the planet.

My favorite vegan meal? Indian curry! A delicious dal brimming with lentils, onions, peppers and delectable myriad spices always makes my day. Asian cuisine is the easiest to choose from — ever tried vegan sushi? I also gravitate toward Latin American-style cuisine; anything with rice and beans is great!

Homemade ramen with rice noodles, miso paste, minced ginger, mushrooms, bok choy and fried tofu is a go-to of mine. Cereal topped with fruit and nuts is a great breakfast option, or oatmeal on a cold day. Banana bread is easy to veganize, as are stuffed bell peppers and pasta salad. There is a wide variety of veggie burgers to choose from!

Some recipe sites I love are From My Bowl, opens a new window for budget-friendly meals and Chocolate Covered Katie, opens a new window for desserts. To eat out, Indian cuisine is the way to go, but most restaurants have at least one vegan option these days that goes beyond a boring salad! Burly Bison Bakery, opens a new window is an AMAZING local business for healthy vegan desserts.

KDL has countless vegan cookbooks, opens a new window to help inspire you in the kitchen! The resources are boundless, including some of your KDL colleagues (i.e. me) who would happily offer plant-based advice to anyone interested!

What are your favorite plant-based recipes?