#PlantBasedPath: Creating A Community
A few days ago I tweeted about how the Facebook community groups that I’m a part of, hosted by some of the most popular vegans on social media, have a tendency to very judgmental towards people who haven't fully adapted to a plant-based lifestyle. For the last 4 years since I’ve been on this vegetarian/vegan journey, I’ve come to notice how a large part of the community 'rubs me the wrong way,' as my momma would say. Due to the often rigid lifestyle rules, the judgment and the need to push thin white women as a face of the lifestyle over the years I’ve gradually pulled myself away from the vegan name and feel a lot more comfortable claiming a plant-based lifestyle.
In my mind being a plant based eater goes beyond self-control and the need to feel good, I view the ability to eat a plant-based diet as a privilege, a privilege that a lot of people in minority communities don’t have the option to partake in. It may be the sociologist in me, but I cannot judge people specifically in the African-American community, for saying a plant-based lifestyle isn’t possible to them when you look at the complexities of food insecurity, food deserts, economic inequality, and a lack of knowledge around nutrition. To some people eating foods of high nutritional value is an option that comes with associated risks and cost, whether that be the cost of the actually produce, the need to travel miles to access healthier options, or not being equipped with how to prepare plant-based dishes that appease to their cultural values or norms.
With all of that being said I’ve decided to partake in a series of post and tons of new content that push towards changing the perception of a plant-based lifestyle particularly in the black community.
I want people to feel accepted into this community regardless of their current size, body type, class status, or lifestyle. I want to change the face of ‘healthy’.
In order to build a community for everyone, at any stage of their plant-based journey, whether they’re entertaining the idea of becoming a vegetarian, pescatarian, or have been plant-based for a long period of time, I want this community to be for EVERYONE. I hope to inspire people at whatever age or body type to learn how food can be comforting and nourishing at the same time.
In order to get this motivation started, I’ve launched my food and lifestyle inspiration Instagram under the handle @plantbasedbre, where I show photos of the foods I eat on a weekly basis. I’ve also created a Facebook community aside from my Where She Begins page that creates a space for people to share their questions, experiences or thoughts regarding the transition towards a healthier version of themselves. For some that may be cutting or read meat, for other, that may be eating at least 3 vegetables a day into their diet, while for others it may be kicking emotional eating phases that a lot of plant based eaters deal with.
I hope that whatever phase of your wellness journey you’re in this community inspires you. If you have any questions, comments or idea feel free to reach out to me directly or leave them in the comments below.