To help get you started, here are some useful resources related to plant-based eating and eating a low carbon diet which also helped me in my process of reducing my meat, dairy, and egg consumption. The good news is that there is a growing supply of plant-based foods, stores, restaurants, advocates, and lifestyle inspiration.
ZeroFoodprint is a non-profit that works with restaurants all over the world committed to fighting climate change by helping reduce the environmental impact of dining out. Their long-term goal is to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste in the restaurant industry. Read their FAQ page.
As a consumer, you can find restaurants that are consciously operating with a low carbon footprint, and if you are a restaurant owner, you can work with ZeroFoodprint to get your restaurant to operate in less climate change impacting ways.
Plant-Forward Global 50, developed by EAT and The Culinary Institute of America, is global list of 50 chefs and restaurants who are advancing plant-forward food choices like Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and David Kinch of Manresa. A great list for new flexitarians to get started, and for vegans and vegetarians to find some food inspiration from top chefs.
These chefs and restaurants focus on vegetable-centric dishes, and elevating plant protein. They showcase seasonal flavors, and farm-to-table which is good for shrinking your carbon footprint by eating local, and seasonal.
Happy Cow is a great online source and mobile app for iPhone and Android that helps you find plant-based food at restaurants, stores, and even B&Bs which is especially helpful when you are traveling or are just looking for plant-based food when you are out and about. They are kind of like a Yelp of plant-based eating.
Plant-based Meal Delivery Services
Purple Carrot is a DIY plant-based meal delivery service. Their in-house chefs create recipes and you do the cooking. You get the ingredients with the recipe and a picture of the final dish. Their “Why Plants” section has a great inclusion about how plant-based eating is good for climate action. They have a whole recipe section too if you just want to try out their recipes, and decide if you want to try the service later.
Purple Carrot is well known for Quarterback Tom Brady’s TB12 Performance Meals program. If you are training for a physically challenge event like a marathon or Spartan race, this is a plan to check out for performance nutrition.
Veestro delivers fully prepared plant-based meals to your door. Founders Mark and Monica grew up in Costa Rica where fresh, home-cooked meals with tons of vegetables and fruit were the norm. Their goal with Veestro is to bring some of that Costa Rican pura vida, happy, healthy outlook, to modern American life. Read their Plantifesto.
One thing that stood out for me was their a 21-day Kickstart Meal Pack with 3 versions which would be perfect to do as a Flexi 21 challenge. They also have other fun themed Meal Packs focused on weight loss, protein, and even Wedding Prep.
22 Days Nutrition is a vegan pre-made meal delivery service that also sells their own brand of vegan organic, gluten-free, soy-free protein bars and protein powders. Read their Manifesto. I first heard of 22 Days Nutrition when Founder Marco Borges, a Miami-based celebrity fitness trainer, exercise physiologist and plant-based evangelist did a podcast with Rich Roll. It’s a good podcast which I recommend.
22 Days Nutrition is well known for what Beyonce and Jay-Z used when they did a 22-day vegan challenge. You can choose from weekly meal plans or order a la carte.
Thrive Foods Direct is another pre-made, organic, plant-based meal service that is beneficial for those who want performance nutrition because you are training for something like a triathlon, fitness competition, or just want heavy on the protein. Founder Brendan Brazier is a former Ironman athlete, author, vegan advocate, and creator of the Vega line of food products and supplements.
Instead of offering weekly plans, Thrive Foods Direct offers a full day with the option of 3 meals, 2 meals, or 1 meal. This is good if you are starting out and want to slowly dip your toe in. This option is great if you’re doing the Flexi 21 Meatless Monday option as your first challenge.
Lighter is a DIY plant-based meal delivery service where you do the cooking. They have a unique approach to their service which is based on different membership levels, and meal planning based on lifestyle profiles like working pros, health gurus, athletes, parents, and world changers. Gotta fuel up well if you’re gonna change the world, right?
In their Elevated Membership, you get access to one-on-ones with a Lighter team member which is great to get guidance when you are starting new to plant-based eating. Lighter is another one I heard about when the Founders Alexis Fox & Micah Risk did a podcast with Rich Roll.
PETA has a great list of 11 other plant-based meal delivery services that include regional only service.
Plant-based Lifestyle and Climate Action Advocacy
These are some of the people, groups, and organizations that I follow that not only helped inspire me when I decided to go more plant-based and become a culinary climate action advocate, but also do a great job of helping to educate the masses.
The Rich Roll podcast. Rich is a vegan ultra-endurance athlete, and a wellness & plant-based nutrition advocate who used to be an entertainment attorney. His path to doing the work he does now started with a health crisis which resulted with him starting to do Ultraman races in his 40’s. Incredible. More on his story here.
Rich’s podcast features guests that not only are doing good works in the vegan and plant-based worlds but self transformation, business, athletics, spirituality (not religion but more about consciousness) and the arts. I find the podcast inspiring and listen while I do my runs.
Jane Velez-Mitchell #LunchBreakLIVE. At 12:30pm PST nearly daily, Jane does on her Facebook page a live videocast of someone or herself doing a cooking demo in a kitchen that looks like one we all have, or she is visiting a restaurant to showcase what vegan foods they serve. I like that her videos are just her or one of her team with their mobile phone. Nothing fancy.
Jane is a former television journalist best known for her show “Jane Velez-Mitchell” on HLN as well as appearing on Nancy Grace, TruTV, E!, and CNN. She is now a full-time animal rights, environmental and vegan advocate. Here’s her site JaneUnchained.
Dr. Michael Greger NutritionFacts.org videos and podcast. If you want to geek out with tons of data and analysis about nutrition research, Dr. Greger is your guy. His site is non-profit, and this is the place to go when you want scientific data to back up why plant-based eating is beneficial for health.
Dr. Greger is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Agriculture and the Tufts University School of Medicine. He is a licensed general practitioner specializing in clinical nutrition and teaches part of Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s nutrition course at Cornell University.
My Plate, My Planet. In 2015, our country got *this* close to including sustainability recommendations in the U.S. My Plate like reducing red meat consumption. Despite public desire, Big Ag lobby influence won. My Plate My Planet was created during this round of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans process. The next round will be in 2020.
My Plate, My Planet seeks to encourage dietary guidelines, countries, organizations and individuals to link food and sustainability and to save our world one meal at a time. Their Resources page has a good list of Government-Backed Dietary Guidelines that Include Sustainability.
Plant-based News. PBN, based in London, England, is a fairly new media site that came out in 2015 focused on the latest news and opinion pieces about animal rights, ethical consumerism, and plant-based food trends. I like their videos and Subscribe to their YouTube channel.
My favorite videos are the ones where they interview people in the movement like this interview with Dr. Anthony Lim, MD, JD, Medical Director of the McDougall Health Centre who quit eating Paleo and Ketogenic, and went plant-based, and this interview with Dr. Neal Barnard on why doctors don’t recommend veganism.
Mercy for Animals is an international non-profit focused on farmed animals advocacy. If you want to get involved in ending factory farms like me or get involved in advocacy to create a less cruel farmed animal system, this is the group to follow. MFA does undercover investigations, legal advocacy, corporate outreach, and education.
Although the videos MFA shows of the inside workings of factory farms are painful and often horrific, they do a good job of keeping it straight to the point and they balance it out by also posting videos of farmed animals living happy, peaceful, emotional lives like humans.
Here are some other great organizations to follow that include a focus on food and climate change:
- Center for Food Safety who has a good campaign on Animal Factories focused on the topics of animal welfare, public health, environmental pollution, and corporate control. They also have a Cool Foods Campaign that inspires people to make climate-smart food choices and help support their policy initiatives.
- Menus of Change is a partnership between Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Culinary Institute of America that integrates optimal nutrition and public health, environmental stewardship and restoration, and social responsibility concerns within the foodservice industry and the culinary profession. Their goals include bringing attention to protein, both animal- and plant-based, to show how that macronutrient has the largest impact on the environment including climate change, and making plant-forward dining a mainstream concept in the culinary profession and foodservice industry.
- EAT. The EAT foundation’s intention is to reform the global food system to feed a growing global population with healthy food from a healthy planet. The C40 Food Systems Network is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. EAT emphasizes the linkages between food, health and sustainability, as well as serving as a bridge between governments, the private sector and civil society.
- Food and Water Watch who has a good program focused on Factory Farms, and also covers Flexi 21 related issues of climate change and environment, corporate control of food, GMOs, and money in politics impacting food policy.
- Friends of the Earth has an Animal Agriculture Project which includes this handy guide great for Flexitarians on how to avoid factory farmed meat and dairy.
- NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is basically IMHO Mother Nature’s legal advocacy team. For advocates like you and I, they are a great resource for laws and policies. NRDC does a great job on issues related to overuse of antibiotics in industrial animal agriculture. They have a whole program on Climate Healthy Eating and Livestock Production.
- Plant Power Task Force is a newly launched initiative in 2017 between the Avatar Alliance Foundation and the Craig & Susan McCaw Foundation to raise awareness on the impact of animal agriculture on climate change and the environment — and illuminate plant-based food solutions. And yes, that is Avatar as in James (Terminator) and Suzy Amis Cameron.
Plant-based food sites and blogs
The exciting news is that there is a growing number of plant-based blogs and food sites. These are some of the ones I visit and are heavy on global cuisines.
The image of vegan and plant-based eaters tends to be white, young, and affluent. I would like to help expand that image to include more people of color and foods of various cultures. If you have any recommendations, please share and I can add on.
- One Green Planet is a platform for the growing compassionate and eco-conscious generation, and is the biggest vegan/plant-based food and recipe site on the Internet. They also have an #EatforthePlanet campaign which includes a podcast show with Founder Nil Zacharias. Their campaign is like The Flexi 21 encouraging people to reduce their consumption of animal-based foods to help stop climate change and environmental destruction.
- VegNews is a vegan lifestyle magazine both in print and online. I like to follow their news on new plant-based foods and brands, and their recipes.
- Vegetarian Times has a plethora of vegan and vegetarian recipes.
- VegWeb has the largest online collection of vegetarian recipes.
- Veganuary has a collection of global cuisines but is most famous for their yearly January vegan challenge
- Vegan Recipe Club: Based in the UK, a hub of vegan and plant-based recipes and articles.
- Avant-Garde Vegan who also has good recipe videos on YouTube.
- Bosh who also does some awesome Tasty-like quick cooking video clips.
- Vegan Richa
- Minimalist Baker
- Chocolate for Basil – some seriously gorgeous photography
- Thug Kitchen
- The Korean Vegan
- Astig Vegan is Filipino food
- Dora’s Table is Mexican cuisine
- Sweet Potato Soul
- Blacks Going Vegan
- Hola Vegan
- Vegan Yack Attack
- One Arab Vegan
- Wicked Healthy
- The Healthy Apple with focus on food allergies and sensitivities
- Brown Vegan does podcasts and videos
- Oh She Glows
- Connoisseurus Veg!
- The Viet Vegan is Vietnamese and American food and also does videos
- Vegan Miam
- Isa Chandra who also has restaurants called Modern Love in Omaha and Brooklyn.
- Keepin’ It Kind
- Mexican Made Meatless does videos too
- No Meat Athlete
- Kris Carr