Sourcing, Diversity & Moderation
Here at Planted Cuisine, we believe in principles, not fad diets, lifestyles or elimination diets. There’s a reason why one moment sugar is good before it is bad, or oil is good and then it is bad and back again. There’s a reason why everyone got excited about paleo and now it is keto. These are not simply band aid solutions to the greater problem, they are blanket band aid solutions.
First and foremost, we must remember that we are all individuals with individual, unique systems that don’t conform nicely into any one lifestyle or diet. Secondly, the key to unlocking optimal health doesn’t lie in avoiding foods as much as it relies on knowledge. That’s the catch-22 of course, it’s easier to understand and sell a list of things to avoid then it is to provide you with the knowledge needed to understand what your body needs.
If you’ve read our philosophy, you’ll know where we are headed. The key to optimal health is ensuring you are getting the nutrients, healthy bacteria and vitamins your body needs. The place where you find these in their pure, unprocessed form is soil. Healthy soil is teeming with everything your body needs to thrive. However, conservative estimates would say that less than 10% of the food grown is grown in soil health. Soil degradation is the world’s most pressing health issue but instead we have and are continuing to put the blame on other factors due to the industries they support.
At Planted Cuisine everything we do is plant-based. Yet you’ll see that we don’t market ourselves as “vegan” or plant-based in any overt way, that’s on purpose. Let us be clear, we strongly urge everyone to eat primarily plants, ideally all plant-based. Simply put animal agriculture is to blame for not only serious health concerns but environmental and contamination ones as well.
We do believe that regenerative grown animal products in very small amounts (we are talking 5% of less of your total diet) is completely acceptable if you would like to keep it in your diet. But it is critical to understand that we cannot in anyway shape or form continue to keep industrial animal agriculture and have a regenerative future. And regeneratively grown animal products will be far more expensive and they’ll be less. If you are a proponent of a regenerative future, your animal consumption must be cut way down and be coming from local sourcing producing in a responsible way.
And in general, unless you have a specific health concern we believe strongly that you should eat gluten, fats, sugar and whatever else you might like to enjoy! No, seriously, we do. Except you need to understand the three principles while doing so:
This is the most critical. First and foremost, it means that whenever possible you are sourcing from local farms that have soil health in mind. Get to know your farmer, and if you can’t do you best to research the growing practices of where your food is coming from. This is the baseline of your health. Organic is important, but not the end all be all. Many local farms have fantastic soil health practices (soil health and chemical ag are incompatible) but don’t go through the organic certification process due to limited budgets.
Sourcing is important in understanding why you can eat gluten, sugar and fat. Everyone loves to blame bread for all manner of things. But is it the breads fault? Or is it because instead of growing a hearty, heirloom variety of wheat that has high mineral, protein and nutrient levels we grow modified wheat that is processed to remove the only parts of it that were actually good for us and then proceed to throw in a bunch of subsidized ingredients and processed for shelf life? You know the answer.
We must toss out everything we are told about what foods are good and bad for you because none of it is based on the foundation of health (nutrients/soil health). Sugar, fats and gluten aren’t inherently bad for you, it’s the growing, processing and added ingredients that take something that used to be healthy and turn it into a monster.
Sourcing also means that you are choosing whole foods with little to minimal processing. Most processed foods are a no-go. And when consuming processed goods, take a look at the ingredient list, you shouldn’t be consuming anything that either has a paragraph of ingredients and/or includes words you don’t know how to pronounce…period. Most processed (not all) foods contain ingredients that were simply not designed for our bodies to process.
Sourcing also includes being aware of your footprint. Perhaps you have found a great farm that is supplying your grocery store or local market with avocados. However, if you’re living in New York, we encourage you to think twice. Imported goods, regardless of growing practices, have a large footprint. We encourage you to eat locally and seasonally. This is near impossible to do 100% of the time because of beloved items like coffee, spices and cacao. That’s all the more reason to give up items like avocados and out of season fruit.
It’s also important to remember that food traveling long distances is often picked unripe and various techniques are employed to keep them looking perfect. These practices stand in direct contradiction to nutrient density and optimal health. The closer to harvest and peak ripeness, the more nutrients for your body.
This is rather straight forward. Eat more of different foods! Over the years the amount of crops grown has sharply declined to the point that it is now becoming a global threat. Lack of diversity threatens the resilience of ecosystems. As we have “mainstreamed” our crops to conform to standard American diets (which simply put, are capitalistic stains on what our natural system used/could offer) are bodies are struggling to find the nutrients in needs in the limited offerings we provide.
In this light, start consuming new foods and varieties. More local farmers are starting to bring back heirloom varieties of seeds, support the effort! Instead of having beans, try lentils. Instead of eating lettuce greens, try mustard greens or rapini. Introducing new foods into your life has an immediate positive effect on your gut health. Remember, your gut is a diverse and complex system that thrives on a vast array of nutrients and minerals that can only be found by eating diverse foods.
Diversity also means a diversity in flavor profiles. Your body doesn’t just need salt, fat and sweet. It needs acidity, tart and most important, bitter. Bitter foods are critical for healthy digestion. Tart and bitter foods are often repulsive to most of us because we didn’t grow up with them. We know now that someones palette for different types of foods and tastes begins in the womb. If you mother wasn’t eating bitter or tart foods, nor were you provided them during childhood, there’s a good chance you won’t enjoy them!
The good news is that it’s a learned skill! Your body is truly amazing, and has the ability to adapt and grow with the foods you provide it. As you introduce bitter, sour and tart foods into your life your palette and desire for them will change and grow to the point that you will start to crave them.
Ever seen a cow standing in a huge field of grass only to be reaching across a barbed wire fence to eat a particular grass? It’s because their body is intuitively telling them that they need that particular grass. It turns out that humans are no different. If we have a clean system (most of us do not) we have the ability to intuitively know which foods we need. As in, if you’re in the store or market you will be drawn to certain foods because your body remembers and understands what nutrients lie in them.
Rather straight forward. Remember when we said you could eat gluten and sugar and all that jazz? Sure you can, if you’ve sourced it properly and you’re consuming in moderation. Too much of anything is a bad thing and in no place more critical than in what we consume and drink.