Kilusang Plant-Based is an ongoing health and holistic wellness advocacy spearheaded by Radio Veritas which promotes a once a week PLANT-BASED diet ( every Friday) whose main thrust is for us to eat during the day meals which only includes foods from plants — fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans and peas), grains, seeds and nuts.

Why go PLANT-BASED (Vegetable) FRIDAYS? Rev. Fr. Anton C.T. Pascual, Radio Veritas President, identifies five (5) major reasons for this health and diet initiative — (1) Spiritual, (2) Physical, (3) Environmental, (4) Animal Welfare and (5) Stewardship.

First, is there SPIRITUALITY in eating a PLANT-BASED meal? “And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food” (Genesis 1:30). Darleen Pryds, a professor of Christian history and spirituality at the Franciscan School of Theology in Oceanside, California, says that being mindful about the food you eat can be a spiritual practice. “It’s a Franciscan approach to spirituality, focusing on poverty and simplicity,” she says. “For me, the very basis of that habit has always been food.”

“Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants. So he consented with them in this matter and tested them ten days. And at the end of ten days, their features appeared better and fatter in the flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables” (cf. Daniel 1:12). The prophet Daniel himself experienced a renewed sense of vigor and strength after following a plant-based diet for three weeks achieving results for a greater spiritual, mental, and physical health.

Secondly, a plant-based diet improves one’s PHYSICAL nature through good health and growth. In a book entitled, “THE CHINA STUDY” (composed of 417 pages) T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and his son, Thomas M. Campbell II, MD, asserts through 367 variables, 65 counties in China, and 6,500 adults — that there are more than 8,000 statistically significant associations between lifestyle, diet, and disease variables.

In fact, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., a physician and researcher at the best cardiac center in the US, The Cleveland Clinic, treated 18 patients with established coronary disease with whole foods, plant-based diet. Not only did the intervention stop the progression of the disease, but also 70 percent of the patients saw an opening of their clogged arteries. Dr. Dean Ornish, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, completed a similar study with consistent results. This is actually encouraging — heart disease can be reversed.

Dr. Campbell also explains that in multiple, peer-reviewed animal studies, researchers discovered that they could actually turn the growth of cancer cells on and off by raising and lowering doses of casein, the main protein found in cow’s milk. “People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest” (Dr. Campbell). Their research likewise showed that a Plant-based diet might also help protect you from diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases, bone, kidney, eye, and brain diseases.

Thirdly, a PLANT-BASED FRIDAY cultivates an ECO-FRIENDLY mindset. Another reason for bringing about a change of diet is respect for the environment born from an understanding of the damage to the ecosystem caused by the intensive rearing of cattle, pigs, chickens and hens for egg production. According to a study by the WWF, to produce one kg of beefsteak, it takes 15,500 liters of water and 70 percent of the world’s fresh water used to grow plants as fodder for livestock. Moreover, a Plant-based diet does deliver a decreased carbon footprint.

Animal waste contains many pathogens including salmonella, E-coli, cryptosporidium, and fecal coliform, which can transfer to humans through water run-off or manure or touch. In addition, millions of pounds of antibiotics are added to animal feed a year to speed the growth of cattle. But this contributes to the rise of resistant bacteria, and so makes it harder to treat human illnesses. Anyone who has lived close to a large factory farm knows the smells can be extreme. Aside from greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide, cows and pigs produce many other polluting gases. Nearly two thirds of the manmade ammonia – a major contributor to acid rain – is also generated by livestock. In addition, concentrated factory farming of animals contributes to ozone pollution.

Fourthly, a PLANT-BASED meal promotes ANIMAL WELFARE. Eating a plant-base meal nurtures a deep sense of relationship with God and creation that comes to that point where the person is truly convinced about the connection that we all have as God’s creatures. A good example of this is Saint Francis of Assisi; his relationship with God and the rest of creation took him to see every creature as his brother or sister. While God has given us dominion over the earth and animals, he expects us to be compassionate, wise, and not wasteful.

Morally the reason that motivates people to embrace a Plant-Based diet is their love for animals. Those who are vegetarian demonstrate the sincerest form of empathy towards others and reluctantly eat those that must die because of them. A famous phrase is attributed to writer George Bernard Shaw who said, “Animals are my friends, I do not eat my friends.” It is the motivation that drives people to change their diet: so as not to inflict suffering on creatures that do not hurt you.

Finally, PLANT-BASED Friday promotes stewardship. By avoiding Processed, Junk and Fast Foods individuals start spending wisely and actively promote stewardship through “value for money”. The Concept of Value for Money (VFM) in everyday life is easily understood as not paying more for a good or service than its quality justify.

In stewardship, Value for Money is about maximizing the impact of every money spent to improve people’s lives. VFM does not mean to do the cheapest things. The important thing is to get better understanding of what the main drivers of costs are and how to get the desired quality at the best price.

So for healthy, spiritual, eco-friendly and holistic wellness join us as we collectively promote a PLANT-BASED (Vegetable) FRIDAY diet … Join us in this LENTEN SEASON PLANT-BASED CHALLENGE for “we’ve only just VEGAN”.