Veronica Menin Shares How to Not Get Duped By Earth Month Gimmicks
Switching up your diet can sometimes seem a little intimidating at first, but as the habit forms and time progresses those small changes can amount to a big success.
Earth Month (and Earth Day on April 22) seeks to bring a wider awareness of the need to take care of our planet (we only have one, after all) and shines a light on sustainable practices like eating a plant-based diet.
For Veronica Menin, co-owner of Love Life Cafe, living a plant-based life was a no-brainer, but she notes that if this is the path you want to take you must conduct your own research because there are a fair amount of brands that aren't always necessarily walking the walk.
The Chica Boss tells People Chica, "There are so many different gimmicks to make people feel good about doing the right thing when they end up not being authentic or in line with sustainability itself," and continues, "I think if you really want to live a sustainable life you need to do your own research and really understand the brands you support because we cannot trust that all brands are speaking the truth."
Menin dishes to People Chica where she and her husband found inspiration to launch their Miami-based restaurant as well as shares her tips for switching over to a plant-based diet.
More and more people are making the necessary lifestyle switches to live more sustainable lives. But not all is as it seems usually. What are some ways people can assure themselves that the products they use and choices they make are truly sustainable and not just a marketing ploy?
This is an interesting question. There are so many different gimmicks to make people feel good about doing the right thing when they end up not being authentic or in line with sustainability itself. To me, the biggest one is when people campaign against plastic use to save the ocean and they eat seafood themselves not realizing how fishing destroys the ocean, in addition to the seafood that was killed for their own consumption.
I think if you really want to live a sustainable life you need to do your own research and really understand the brands you support because we cannot trust that all brands are speaking the truth. We need to do our own research and find what we believe is the best way.
You own and run Love Life Cafe in Miami and serve up plant-based, healthy, and sustainable options. What inspired you to go down this path? What has been your biggest reward?
My husband and I are not restaurateurs and never had any previous hospitality experience. Love Life Cafe was born from our own passion and drive to create awareness toward the health benefits of eating plant-based and loving yourself and your planet. It happened the other way around of the usual business model, which I think is why we have been successful.
It is truly our life purpose and we did it with the intention of serving delicious and healthy foods and creating an authentic company where we create an environment of integrity for our team, our community, and a positive impact in the world. We feel that we can change the world one plant-based meal at a time.
When we look at how many dishes we serve a day, the feeling that we served [something healthy] to our guests, and saved animals from being consumed, while reducing the impact our food has on the planet, is how we go to sleep happy at night.
There is a perception that eating plant-based is difficult when in reality it's not. What are some tips people can use to help them get started down a path to more sustainable eating practices?
Everyone is different. For some, the cold cut is the easiest way to transition and not look back. For others, it is a matter of transitioning slowly, by adding more plant-based items to their plate while reducing the non-plant-based. Eventually, your microbiome and gut flora change, and start craving plant-based foods.
It takes 21 days to change a habit, but if you stick through it, changes do happen. Also, nowadays there are so many delicious options to help when you crave cheese, [and] meat, even vegan crab cakes today taste just as fishy. It is also important that you eat whole foods, and not processed [ones]. You can be plant-based but be unhealthy [also], so it is important to eat whole foods.
If there was one cuisine that could be seen as a "gateway" into plant-based cooking, which would it be? Why?
Believe it or not, foods eaten in underserved countries and cultures are the healthiest. Rice, beans, potatoes, [and] corn. Latin, Indian, and Japanese cuisines all have a lot of delicious whole-food options.
April has been designated Earth Month. What's your favorite way to celebrate it?
Every day should be Earth Day! My way to celebrate is to remind and create awareness by exposing how much the Earth is longing for us to take care of it and live more consciously. I don't like to preach, but [...] Earth Day is a good opportunity to do so.