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Connecting with our roots

Every culture has a history of embracing plant-based foods

No matter where in the world your ancestors come from, if you look hard enough into your family’s heritage, you’ll probably find a rich tradition of plant-centered eating.

The so-called “western diet” in which meat and dairy make up more than a third of people’s caloric intake is a historic aberration.1 Plant-centered cuisines are still the norm in many of the world’s food cultures. Globally, the vast majority of protein – about two-thirds – still comes from plant-based sources like beans, lentils, tofu, and rice.2 In recognizing plant-based foods’ rich history, we can better understand and appreciate our own upbringings and heritages.

“Despite how significant food is in Latinx culture, I thought my veganism was unconnected from my heritage when I started my transition. One afternoon, I came home from the supermarket with quinoa and [my father] laughed, saying when he was growing up in Peru, they ate quinoa with apples every day … I started to learn about how my indigenous ancestors called quinoa ‘the mother grain’ and ate primarily plants.”

“By adopting a plant-based diet, and in the quest to veganize all my favorite Korean foods,  I am also being truer to myself, and my roots, than I ever was as a meat-eater. I am my halmunee’s granddaughter.”

“With respect to Black foodways, I suggest that black veganism . . . is the ideal form of soulful eating and the way Black people can decolonize our diets and delink from coloniality.”


Plant-forward thinking is not only sprouting a better future, it’s the way we connect with our roots.



Future Foods: Global Trends, Opportunities, and Sustainability Challenges, 2022,


Stacy Pyett, “It’s not as simple as replacing animal- with plant-based protein,” Wageningen University and Research, accessed August 14, 2023,