By Molly Patrick
Jul 18, 2020,
Making the choice to eat a healthy plant based diet screams empowerment and revolution. When we make food choices that are different from the ones that are ingrained in our society, we break the predictable cycle of:
If everyone in this country had the knowledge and the access to make the not-so-radical decision to eat plants, there would be no need for massive pharmaceutical companies or health insurance as a for-profit business.
Doctors could be trained to focus on the physical and mental health of their patients, instead of writing prescriptions.
Factory farms would not exist, in turn helping the environment and saving millions of animals from tortuous and inhumane conditions (where death is likely welcomed because the conditions are so horrendous).
We could live in a society where the vast majority of people maintain vibrant, active, healthy lives into old age and avoid the long slow decline associated with complications from preventable lifestyle diseases.
Kids would no longer suffer from such high rates of obesity, having energy to play instead of feeling lethargic and staring at a screen.
We could make organic farming the priority, where the food goes directly to humans rather than planting unsustainable crops grown with poison to feed animals so that we can then eat the animals.
We could spend more quality time with our loved ones laughing, cooking, swimming, having meaningful conversations, hiking, playing games, and having fun, instead of trip after trip to doctors’ offices and hospitals.
THIS is what I call empowerment and revolution. When individuals in a society do not have to rely on a system that is set up to keep them down. Since the system isn’t going to change anytime soon, it’s up to us, as individuals, to say no thank you, and step out of the cycle.
But stepping out of that cycle is a fuck-ton easier if you’re White.
This is because, for many historical and systemic reasons, Black and Brown Americans are much more likely to live in low-income communities with little to no access to fresh food. Easy access to healthy food, along with resources like money, reliable transportation, good health, and extra time are privileges that stem from race. Systemic racism is woven right into the fabric of this country and our food system is part of the racist web that needs to be untangled and dismantled.
My White ass could talk all day about how revolutionizing it would be if everyone in this country ate a healthy plant based diet, but a revolution isn’t a revolution if it doesn’t include everyone, especially the people who are the most disadvantaged.
It’s time for people who have the resources and who have benefited from White privilege (me and possibly you) to lovingly, bravely, and unapologetically step up and help people who don’t have those same privileges. You can help by getting familiar with the resources below and taking whatever action you are called to take.
- Can you Dig This (movie // Amazon Prime streaming)
- The Invisible Vegan (movie // Amazon Prime streaming)
- Food apartheid: the root of the problem with America’s groceries (article)
- Food deserts more abundant in minority neighborhoods (article)
- Ron Finley TED Talk
- Shantell Bingham TEDx Talk
- Ask a Sista Farmer (podcast)
- Farming While Black (book)
- BIPOC-led how to videos, gardening projects & online learning resources
- Keep Growing Detroit
- Planting Justice
- Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburg Co-op
- Food Empowerment Project
- Cultivate Charlottesville
Pizza Burger Patties
- 2 slices sprouted-grain bread, processed into bread crumbs, instructions below (60 g)
- 1 ½ cups kidney beans, drained and rinsed (225 g)
- ½ cup red onion, diced (65 g)
- ½ cup red bell pepper, diced (65 g)
- ½ cup raw walnuts (55 g)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 packed tablespoon fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (AKA flaxseed meal)
- 1 tablespoon tapioca flour or starch
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (about 10 turns)
- ⅛ teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Tear the slices of bread into quarters and place them in your food processor. Process until you have small bread crumbs, about 20 seconds. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside for now. (No need to wash the food processor bowl.)
- Place the kidney beans in your food processor. Pulse about 10 times, until they’re broken down into smaller pieces. Transfer them to the mixing bowl with the bread crumbs. (No need to wash the food processor bowl.)
- To the food processor, add the onion, red bell pepper, walnuts, tomato paste, basil, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, ground flax, tapioca flour, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and red chili flakes. Pulse 10 times and then scrape down the sides of the food processor. Pulse another 10 times until everything is mixed, but not mushy. Transfer to the mixing bowl with the beans and bread crumbs. Stir until everything is mixed well. The mixture should be a little sticky but not wet and falling apart.
- Form six burgers (about ⅓ packed cup / 95 g each) and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes then carefully flip the patties over and bake for 15 – 20 additional minutes. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.
- Top with your favorite pizza toppings, add a bun, and enjoy!
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with helping people step out of the cycle.