25 Reasons Plant-Based Food Owned 2015: Part 2

9. We discovered aquafaba (a.k.a. bean juice)

Latin for ‘bean liquid’, aquafaba (as coined by vegan baker Goose Wohlt) is a magical new plant-based ingredient being touted as the ultimate egg replacement. Aquafaba is, believe it or not, simply the leftover liquid or brine that you usually discard after straining canned beans or soaking dry beans (chickpeas, a.k.a. garbanzo beans are said to work best).

From meringues and marshmallows to mousse, muffins, and mozzarella, this versatile and practically free ingredient has ‘bean’ right under our collective nose the entire time. For more inspiration regarding everything aquafaba visit the 33,000+ member Facebook group.

10. Cavemen didn’t do ‘Paleo’

The British Dietetic Association judged the ‘Paleo’ diet a “Jurassic fad” and listed it as one of the five worst celebrity-endorsed diets of 2015, saying it was “unbalanced, time consuming, [and] socially isolating” and “a sure-fire way to develop nutrient deficiencies”. Nonetheless this wildly popular and environmentally destructive fad diet has been shunning carbohydrates or starches since it was introduced in 2002 – mainly due to the fact they there was very little evidence about early humans’ dietary habits – until now…

In a study published in the Quarterly Review of Biology this year, researchers from Spain, Australia, and the U.K. have provided evidence that not only were starch and grains eaten in abundance by prehistoric humans, but they may be the key to our intelligent brains and the success we enjoy as a species today.

So toast some bread, bake a potato, boil some pasta, or pop some corn. ‘Paleo’ is so 2014.

11. A plant-based fast-food drive-thru is born

In July 2015 Amy’s Kitchen, a company known for its vegetarian convenience and frozen foods, opened its first drive-thru restaurant in Rohnert Park, California (a city north of San Francisco).

Amy’s Drive Thru says their mission is to “return to the roots of American fast food and serve lovingly handcrafted food to nourish hard-working citizens, busy families and road-weary travellers.”

The catch? All their Burgers, shakes, and fries are made with organic and non-GMO ingredients, and they offer gluten-free and plant-based options for everything on the menu – including dairy-free shakes and mac and cheese. Now that’s a twist on your typical fast-food joint, and we hope to see the rest of the world following suit!

12. The Pope’s 2015 encyclical letter addresses animals and the environment

An encyclical letter is generally used for significant issues, and is second in importance only to the highest ranking document now issued by popes – an Apostolic Constitution.

Such a letter from the Pope is a major force for change, and whether you’re a God-fearing Christian or a devout atheist there is no denying that on May the 24th 2015, the Pope’s ‘On Care for Our Common Home’ was a powerful and heartfelt document that challenges us all to take a much closer look at how we are treating our fellow earth-bound creatures, looming environmental issues, and planet as a whole.

On the day Francis released the encyclical, he tweeted, “It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. #LaudatoSi.”

13. Cowspiracy re-cut and re-released on Netflix thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio

‘Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret’ is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary that investigates the most destructive industry facing the planet today and attempts to uncover why the world’s leading environmental organisations are too afraid to talk about it.

Following its initial release in 2014, a new cut of Cowspiracy has been exclusively released on Netflix on September 15, 2015 and executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson, and Appian Way Productions (DiCaprio’s film production company). Cowspiracy features the expertise of Dr. Richard Oppenlander, Michael Pollan, Dr. Will Tuttle, Howard Lyman, Will Potter, Will Anderson, and Dr. Michael Klaper.

If you haven’t seen Cowspiracy yet, and you’re interested in the state of the planet, there’s never been an easier time to check out this fantastic film.

14. The world’s first all-vegan fashion label continues to make ethical fashion even more fashionable

Vaute (‘haute’ with a ‘V’ for vegan, pronounced ‘vote’) is “the world’s first all-vegan fashion brand.” Vaute was founded by Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart with a goal to make a fashionable animal-free coat that was warm enough for a winter in Chicago, her hometown.

Leanne noticed wool was often one of the most difficult animal products for people to avoid, as they believed they would freeze without their wool or down coat during winter. So Leanne set out to create the most beautiful, warm, weatherproof and animal-free winter coat the world had ever seen. With her and her husband’s savings, plus a small loan from her parents, she funded all the initial research and development costs and spent 80 hours a week for the next eight months honing her vision.

When the line launched in summer of 2009, to Leanne’s surprise, production was able to be entirely financed through crowdfunding. Her enthusiastic supporters bombarded her with pre-orders and seemed perfectly happy to wait for many months for their coats to be delivered. Hilgart says Vaute’s winter coats use high tech fabrics made from recycled fabrics and materials and that they have the warmth of a Patagonia or Northface but the style of beautiful wool dress-coat.

Vaute made history in 2013 when it became the first vegan fashion label to show at New York Fashion Week. In 2015, Vaute tested two new retail markets, was featured on Forbes.com, developed vegan eco-conscious sweaters in a waste-free process, and even launched gowns made of recycled plastic bottles. The future of fashion is looking fantastic!

15. Scott Jurek breaks the Appalachian Trail world speed record

On July 12th, 2015 Scott Jurek broke the world record and became the fastest person to finish the Appalachian Trail by completing the 2,189-mile journey in 46 days, 8 hours, and 7 minutes. The trail conservancy claims that the Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only trail in the world.

Jurek is one of the greatest ultra-marathoners in history. Among his accomplishments are seven consecutive Western States Endurance Runs, two Badwater Ultramarathons, the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance run, and a runner-up finish in the Leadville Trail 100.

This latest feat however, the equivalent of 46 consecutive ultra-marathons, has been described by Scott as his “masterpiece”. Jurek is an advocate of plant-based eating for health, ethical and environmental reasons, and credits his diet as the key to his superior athletic performance and recovery. Scott gave up eating meat in 1997 and became fully plant-based in 1999. His original motivation stemmed from the belief that poor nutrition was responsible for the chronic illnesses he saw in his family and physical therapy patients.

16. America’s first ever completely plant-based school

Co-founded by sisters Rebecca Amis and Suzy Amis Cameron, wife of hollywood director James Cameron, MUSE school is an early childhood-through-12th grade school, and it adopted a completely plant-based menu in Autumn 2015.

MUSE is built upon a commitment to sustainability, reducing impact on the environment, and inspiring students to be stewards of the earth. “What has really been a major eye opener is the connection between food and the environment… You can’t really call yourself an environmentalist if you’re still consuming animals – you just can’t.” says Amis Cameron.

Between the school’s two campuses, students have built 28 raised beds to grow all their lettuce as well as peppers, greens, tomatoes, herbs, edible flowers and much more for their own cafeteria and also local restaurants. They are also learning about seed-to-table gardening, solar panels and many other sustainable concepts and practices.

Research indicates a link between healthy eating and physical exercise and improved student behaviour and academic performance – evidence that MUSE’s efforts could be beneficial for their students in ways far beyond their physical health.

17. The world’s first completely plant-based supermarket chain goes global

Veganz is a completely plant-based supermarket chain founded in Germany in 2011 by Jan Bredack, vegan and former senior manager with Mercedes Benz. When Bredack opened his first store in Berlin he had anticipated 100 customers a day, but instead averaged 400, and doubled his turnover after the first year to 1.5 million euros.

Presently there are eight Veganz supermarkets in Germany as well as one each in the Czech Republic and Austria. However in 2016, Veganz will open a store in Portland, Oregon and also plans expansion to London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Barcelona, Milan, and Copenhagen.

Veganz has over 4500 plant-based products and the company’s goal is to become synonymous with fair trade, ethical, and sustainable business. Veganz say they place the utmost importance on natural and organic food choices and that 85% percent of their products are certified organic.

Happy New Year! You can find part 1 right here, and part 3 right here

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