The first official Earth Day dates back to April 22, 1970, starting as a way to educate the general public about environmental issues.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and now, more than ever, we have the power to contribute to the planet’s well-being. One of the changes we can implement in our everyday lives is transitioning to a plant-based diet. There are many benefits that accompany this lifestyle, one of them being that it positively impacts the environment.
The Healing Factory Juice Co. is a vegan restaurant in McAllen. It opened as a result of Ingrid Monserrat’s personal health journey.
“I started this place because at the time, there was no other whole foods/vegan/juice bar restaurants in McAllen,’’ she said. “Through my own personal health journey, I realized that plant-based was my ideal diet.’’
Upon transitioning to a plant-based diet, she began to research its benefits and found they outweighed everything else.
“The main reason that I switched, after my health, was because of the animals. I didn’t want to participate in the whole factory farming/animal cruelty, etc.,’’ she said. “That was why I chose to go vegan/plant-based, and why I opened the Healing. Then I also learned it was good for the environment.”
Meatless Mondays is an international campaign whose sole purpose is for people to unite and join the movement by not consuming meat on Mondays. This is to put in perspective the drastic change we each have, as individuals, on the planet as a whole.
“Over the years, the number of participants in this movement has increased,” she said.
By switching to a plant-based diet, you save lives, alleviate hunger, reduce the impacts of climate change, save water and minimize agricultural land use. In addition to these benefits, eating plant-based also allows us to save 1,100 gallons of water, 30 square feet of forested land, 45 pounds of grain, one live animal and 20 pounds of CO2 a day.
“To me this is the most eco-friendly way to go. Nowadays you can’t just think about yourself anymore. You have to do something that is good for other beings as well, including Earth,” she said.
Learning the how impacts the why
Monserrat loves using social media as a platform to educate others on the benefits of transitioning to a plant-based diet.
“A lot of people’s first thoughts when they hear about going plant-based are, ‘Where will my source of protein come from?’ But there are about 80,000 choices of plants out there as opposed to a limited number of meats,” she said.
“We’ve been programmed to eat the way we do with the mix of cultures in the Valley,’’ she said. “It’s nobody’s fault, a lot of our parents didn’t know any better. We grew up eating tacos, gorditas, guisados, carnes asadas, etc.
“But now we have the internet and tons of information/resources available to learn – we need to brainwash ourselves into knowing what’s good for us and what’s not,” she said.