Why Plant Based… with Steak?

Ah, how do I make the f-cord again?

Ah, how do I make the f-cord again?

A guy with a long hair on his way to see Black Flag play live at a club in the 1980s Los Angeles risked a serious asskicking in the mosh pit. Hardcore punks, fuelled with beer and testosterone, filled these underground clubs and they were not kind to those who didn’t share their style of fashion. Above all, punks associated long hair with metalheads, loathing anyone who had any resemblance to them.

It made no difference whether the long-haired oddball entering a club was a metalhead with an ear for Mötley Crüe. Or a just a random long haired hippy digging The Grateful Dead. What mattered was that you looked like a metalhead and dressed differently to the stock standard punk. It wasn’t about anything else than the testosterone fueled, male high school level bullshit that said, you are not one of us; you don’t belong here.

Things didn’t change until Guns N’ Roses came along and started to attract a crossover following with their aggressive, proverbial kick-in-the-face live shows. They could blend the lines of punk, hardcore rock and, to a degree, elements of metal. The crowds at their shows included punks and metalheads with hairs short and long.

Everyone was welcome, regardless of who you were and what you wore. All coexisting in the small venue, even if only for 90 minutes. If punk on its own was about exclusiveness and elitism, GN’R was about inclusiveness.

That’s what plant-based... with steak philosophy is all about: inclusiveness. It’s not an exclusive club with “vegans/vegetarians only” sign at the door. Really, the only sign on the door is “don’t be a dick”.

A tribe of 1 million mostly plant-based eaters will make a bigger impact than 10 000 elitist vegan evangelists

Elitist vegan evangelists are the exclusive, angry, 1980s LA punks

It’s easier for 1 million people to adopt a mostly plant-based diet compared to trying to convince 10 000 people to go full on hardcore vegan. This might sound controversial, but being a mostly plant-based carries with it flexibility and inclusiveness that veganism can’t. While still allowing you to make a positive impact on your health and on the planet.

Like punks vegans can have a certain elitism about them. There’s a similar aura that we often see in religious cults. Sure, a mostly plant-based eater won’t get the shit kicked out of them when tempting to order a wheat grass smoothie in a vegan cafe. But sit down with a vegan and most likely he will bring his a-game trying to convince you how good, even holy his way of life is.

It can be hard to be a part of the vegan inner circle when you don’t want to stick with the strict rules of veganism. But, at least you don’t get kicked in the teeth, so there’s that.

Mostly plant-based philosophy can reach more people in a less forceful, non-religious cult way. It becomes easier to get people on board for a gradual change. Unlike vegans, a mostly plant-based eater doesn’t try to hammer their philosophy into the listener’s consciousness.

Mostly plant-based eating isn’t about strict rules determined by a group 

Living mostly plant-based is about your values. What separates it from veganism or any subgroup of vegetarianism is that being plant-based is based on what you feel and think. It’s not about fitting into the well defined box with wall constructed from what you should and shouldn’t do. A mostly plant-based living exists on a sliding scale without strict parameters. 

Plant Strength Horizontal Scale.png

Mostly plant-based living has nothing to do with labels of being something or someone. You eat the way you do because it feels right, regardless of where you are on the horizontal scale. If you eat meat once a month, fine. If you eat it weekly, fine. If you eat meat Tuesdays and Thursdays, but only during sandstorms, whatever, fine, good for you. There are no rules. Instead, you follow the principles that live at the intersection of your values and what your lifestyle allows you to do.

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People come to embrace plant-based… with steak for various reasons

Some loath factory farming. But maybe they eat meat from more humane sources, whatever that means to them*. Some might be ok with eating game meat, and a subgroup of them even hunt it themselves.

Then we have the environmental reasons and people shift away or reduce their red meat consumption to offset their input in global warming. But perhaps they still eat animals that are culled to improve environmental factors.

The more health conscious folk simply change their meat eating habits to improve their health. They might still eat red meat occasionally, or substitute it altogether for white meat and fish. Perhaps they’ll get to a point where meat doesn’t visit the plate at all anymore.

For some of us it’s all of the reasons combined. The environment, animal welfare and health. I for one switched because of the environment. Then with further research and contemplating the thought of factory farming and accompanied animal suffering became repelling. And as I’ve done more reading on the mostly plant-based diet I now believe it’s a healthier way to live. At least when done properly. You know, by actually eating plants instead of fake vegan meats and whatnot.

We also shouldn’t forget those who switch to support their partner who is already eating mostly plant-based. Maybe they only switch the meals they eat at home to streamline cooking and to avoid apocalyptic relationship tension in the kitchen.

How about those who only go plant-based for a week because it’s fashionable on social media? You know the type. Honestly, those folks might be better off by growing a set of balls and discovering their own principles to live their life by. Instead of following what’s popular in a given moment.

Just kidding. Anything is better than nothing. But really, stop copying what your favorite Instagram “celebrity/influencer” is doing.

It's not about being 100% plant-based

Focus on the continuous improvement towards what’s right for you. The inclusiveness of a mostly plant-based diet is what makes it powerful.You are simply doing your best within your current limitations. 

You decide your end goal

Is your impact bigger when being 100% plant-based vs 95% plant-based? Probably not significantly enough to justify stretching for the remaining 5%.

If you feel like your quality of life suffers because you have to live within the narrow margins of 100% plant-based then you’re likely better of giving yourself the flexibility to widen the margins with 95%.

The same conversation becomes different altogether when you feel that the missing 5% is what’s stopping you from living according to your values. In those cases, stretching your comfort zone to close the 5% gap is probably what you need to do.

100% plant-based better than 60% plant-based

However, let’s define what we mean by “better”. It means that your impact on the environment, the animal welfare and your health is better the more plant-based you get. That’s it. But if 60% feels like it’s at the maximum of your current flexibility while still living a satisfying life, then so be it. You are doing what feels right for you and it’s enough.

Let's make this clear, your level of plant-basedness isn’t a measuring stick on how good you are as a person. The goal is to become whatever feels right for you. Both emotionally and physically.

Save yourself first before trying to save the world

When you are a radiant example of what can be done with a mostly plant-based diet you are more likely to influence others to take the first step. You are more likely to influence others when your mind and body work better. 

You can provide better guidance and teach others on how to do the same. And  you can do it without getting full on evangelical on them. This will help us to get closer to that 1 million mostly plant-based eaters.

“If you believe in plant-based diet why aren’t you vegan? You are only turning a blind eye to the animal welfare, climate...”

Because we hate the restrictive label of being a vegan. And we don’t need a label to justify and explain our way of being.

Sure, I (Joonas here) eat 95% plant-based, that 5% coming from occasionally eating eggs, cheese or fish. To me having the flexibility makes my life easier. My wife sometimes cooks things with eggs in them, so I eat it to keep the peace at home**. Every now and then I eat fish. Because it’s delicious. I’m from Finland remember, I grew up on hot smoked salmon.

If I would have a strong urge to eat a steak, I would eat one too. As long as I could find it from a source that treats cows humanely. But for now the thought of eating meat doesn’t appeal to me.

Another scenario, say I am a guest in someone’s home in a poor third world country. They’ve just butchered their lone price goat, Barb, to serve a special goat stew for their guest, me. You think I’d sit there at the table going “oh sorry, I’m plant-based”? 

Let’s face it, I am a privileged person living a life in a first world country where I have the luxury to get worked up about the food choices I make. I’d be grateful for the stew and wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

At Plant Strength we are content with the choices we make and don’t really give a shit about what others think about our decisions. And neither should you.

Summary

Plant-based… with steak is about inclusiveness without rules or restrictions. You are an individual in charge of your own decisions. Listen to your values and follow them, regardless of what others might think. If eating a mostly plant-based diet means 60% of plants for you, so be. And if you feel more content at 99%, cool.

Plant-based… with steak is about the continuous improvement towards the intersection of your values and lifestyle and limitations. Family, job, income… you name it. The goal is to become whatever feels right for you. Both emotionally and physically.

Do your part and inspire others to follow, without being a dick about it.

In closing

Yes, I just typed 1800 words making a case that Plant-Based… with Steak is Guns N’ Roses in the 1980’s Los Angeles. The only sign on the door to our virtual club is “don’t be a dick”.


*Your definition of humane might be different to mine.

**Kidding! I eat it because it’s delicious.


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