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Guest Posts / Nutrition

Plant Based Spotlight: Alex Foucre-Stimes

I’m scared. The entire planet is in a crisis (duh) and what scares me is that when we come out of this, we’re going to be so excited to get back to how things were before. I wonder why of all the dialogs happening 24/7 I don’t see any about the root cause: animal consumption. 

Contagion (2011, dir. Steven Soderbergh)

Not an endurance athlete? Do you feel as if you are healthy – you maintain a healthy weight, you feel generally great with the current diet you are eating?  Ok…What about the planet? Have you made a connection with the animal on your plate? Are you passionate about sustainability?  

Meet Alex.  Alex probably has a very similar story to many of you. In my observations, most people find Plant-Based diets through many different avenues, whether it be Athletic Performance, Decrease inflammation, Weight Loss, Weight Maintenance, Animal Cruelty, Other GI/Stomach issues, passion for the Planet, or any number of other personal reasons.   I ALSO believe, that cutting animal and dairy products out of your diet 100% may not necessarily be the easiest way to go for every single person.  Alex has a great story about diet moderation – someone who doesn’t like to label his diet and put constriction on what he eats.  He eats for health – for long life – for animal rights and planet sustainability – and has a story that is very relatable to many of you, a story that may resonate with you to inspire a more plant-curious lifestyle.  

I’m not vegan, I’m not vegetarian, I’m probably closest to an ovo-pescatarian. I believe that your diet can exist on a spectrum, it’s not binary, it changes. Food is a comfort, tied to memory, and able to emotionally soothe us (if not nutritionally). I love Chicago style hot dogs because they taste amazing, they are beautiful, they remind me of being a kid, they are old-school, they are semi-European but uniquely American, and are an icon of where I’m from. But now I treat them like a shot of Malort: an indulgence for special times and fun.

A couple years ago I started thinking about the meat I was eating and asking myself, “would I have killed this chicken to eat it? This pig? This cow?”. And the answer was: not unless it was a life or death situation. If I’m not willing to do it why is it ethical to let an abstracted supply chain do it for me? 

I decided to make some small changes. Started cutting out red meat from nearly every meal then did the same with poultry. The key word is nearly. I’m not at the point I’m willing to give up on a filet mignon forever. Of course, I love how it tastes and how special it feels to eat it. But do I need to be eating the chicken at Chipotle? Nah, the veggie burrito is incredible!

If I wasn’t going to be eating meat, what was I going to eat? Plants. My cousin Izzy had been posting a lot about plant-based nutrition and she is someone I trust with having done thorough research. We started messaging to learn more about my diet goals and how a plant-based diet might help. 

What I learned from her is that you’ll get the protein you need eating lots of veggies, stay away from sugar and refined oils, and explore the cuisines of the world. A year later I’m loving being primarily focused on eating plant-based when I cook at home, go out for lunch at work, or even to dinner with my wife. My week is a mix of pad thai, paneer curry, veggie burritos, sushi, falafel plates, pizza, and lots of salads and bowls. 

I’m not dieting, I’m eating in a way that maintains my health and makes me believe I’m doing something positive by not eating another animal I’d not be willing to kill myself. 

I hope that coming out of this pandemic we see a lot of changes, specifically our animal consumption.”