“Make our lives healthy and sustainable through plant-based diets” – Plant-based chefs

April 9, 2021

MANILA, 9 April 2021 — Plant-based chefs highlighted sustainable food consumption through cheap and easy-to-do plant-based recipes, and its major opportunities and benefits in terms of human health, environment, and the economy during the 40th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways,” with the topic “Oh My Gulay!”

The online conversation hosted by three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, featured sustainable food enthusiasts including Chef Mae Dolonius of Studio Plantmaed; Chef JR Royol, Host of GMA’s Farm to Table; and Asha Peri of Ecology of Food.

The guests shared their journey on becoming plant-based advocates, and encouraged the viewers to switch to sustainable and a healthy lifestyle through plant-based diets.

“During this time of the pandemic, may dalawang word akong natutunan na sana maging convincing in transition to plant-based – asymptomatic and essential. One, essential. Alam dapat natin kung ano ang essential sa buhay natin. Second, asymptomatic. Hindi lang Covid ang asymptomatic, maraming sakit na biglang stage 4 na lang na hindi natin alam, at pwede nating ma-prevent kung sana ia-adopt natin ang plant-based lifestyle. Malaking tulong ito sa lahat ng pamilya natin,” said Chef Mae.

“One of the benefits of having this kind of platform or avenue to talk more about the benefits of it is because ‘what’s in it for them?’ When you try to talk about plant-based diet, lalo na ‘yung mga vegan dishes, natu-turn off sila, kasi they don’t see what they need to change. So we’re pointing at the health benefits and environmental impacts. And then, in a day-to-day person’s life, yung economical side din ‘yung gusto nating i-highlight. Doing a plant-based diet should not be complicated. A plant-based diet should not be uncomfortable,” said Chef JR.

“I-encourage na mas i-integrate pa ang plant-based diet kahit hindi 100%. Importante po ang plant-based diet, eating more plants for our defense system lalo na ngayong may mga problema sa heath, global crisis, environment, at climate change ay makakatulong talaga ang plant-based diet. At very important ang diversity sa nutrition, kaya pinapa-uso ko itong mga undervalued and forgotten crops kasi andaming nagsa-suffer ngayon sa malnutrition, kung ida-diversify natin ‘yung diet natin at kainin yung mga dati nating nalilimutan, then ito ‘yung key sa very good nutrition natin. Hindi lang sa plant-based, but let’s also support local industry, organic farmers, NGO movement, and diversify our diet,” said Peri.

Legarda then urged the viewers to patronize local, plant-based, and in-season foods, purchase fresh local foods from farmer markets and food supplies from the local market, and to grow fruits and vegetables in our own backyards.

“Sa buong 12 months ng pandemic, actually way before the pandemic, talagang nagtatanim na ako. Talagang praktikal na magtanim sa sariling bakuran, kung may maliit o malaking lupa, sa probinsya man o sa siyudad, mahalagang magtanim. I believe in growing my own food, I believe in sharing the food that we grow, I believe in my law, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law, which is to segregate garbage at source, recycle and compost, so ang bote, lata, at plastic, ay pwedeng tamnan,” Legarda concluded.

As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, “Stories for a Better Normal” aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities.

This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Department of Education, Philippine Information Agency, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines and Mother Earth Foundation. ###