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Plant-Based Lifestyle [publisher's letter]

Publisher Tracy Patterson with her dog sitting in the desert resting up from a hike

Tracy Patterson

This month’s feature article, got me thinking about the plant-based lifestyle. To me, “plant-based” means just that, based on plants, but it can also include some meat, although in lesser quantities and specific kinds, such as fish or white-meat poultry. The problem with replacing animal proteins entirely is that I do not do well on beans, and find some of the faux meats unpalatable (and they, along with tofu, are processed!).

One of the things I keep in mind is that not all vegetables and fruit are created equal. It never occurred to me back in the day when we used to rid our broccoli and cauliflower of worms by soaking them in saltwater, that a time would come when I would actually wish for this problem. I don’t think there’s ever any fear of a worm within a mile of cruciferous vegetables these days, thanks to the multitude of pesticides that are liberally applied. Same goes for black spots on tomatoes and peppers—they may look beautiful nowadays minus the blemishes, but their taste leaves much to be desired!

My husband and I usually eat organic now, but often the produce comes from commercial greenhouses (so still no worms!). Greenhouse organics may have the health benefit of no pesticides, but aren’t often teeming with flavor and may be low in nutritional value, especially if they aren’t grown in soil—where the vitamins and minerals we get from vegetables and fruit actually come from. And when grown outdoors, large commercial producers often practice monoculture farming, which depletes the soils of nutrients, leaving the produce sadly lacking.

The good news is that there are still local organic farmers who plant crops in the great outdoors and practice soil conservation. Not only are we supporting their efforts when we buy from them, but we can find an array of tasty and nutritious veggies and fruits that go a long way to keeping us in the plant-based lifestyle that many of us are striving for.