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We can choose all kinds of food to satisfy our hunger and excite our taste buds, but which ones are actually good for us and the environment?

In the midst of the pandemic, we ought to be extra careful in choosing the foods we consume; and plant-based foods may be the answer we’re looking for. Aside from the nutritious facts that plant-based foods lowers the risk of heart disease, these particular foods are also known to be more environmentally friendly and therefore, more sustainable.

As the term suggests, plant-based foods focus on ingredients primarily sourced from plants, ie fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, whole grains and oil.

Contrary to popular belief, however, those who incorporate plant-based foods in their diets are not necessarily completely averse to meat products; instead, they simply increase the portion of plant-based meals served on their plates. Nevertheless, increased exposure to plant-based meals often leads to a significant change in one’s general diet.

Furthermore, emissions from livestock account for about 14.5 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, globally, and approximately two thirds of those emissions come from cattle —from methane burped by cows, growing feed and clearing land for grazing to feed crops.

It is widely acknowledged that in the times of Covid-19, people are quick to embrace healthy lifestyles to keep their immune defenses high against all kinds of viruses. Plant-based foods have become the go-to solution due to their advantages, such as the lowering of blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as the prevention of heart disease and diabetes.

According to a 2019 study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association, it is found that “foods in a plant-based diet supply more heart-and-digestion-friendly fiber” not to mention abundant vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These types of foods are also known to be low in saturated fats and cholesterol, reducing cancer risks and promoting weight loss.


A growing trend in Indonesia for healthy food alternatives

In February 2021, an Indonesian plant-based meat startup, The Green Butcher, officially secured up to $2 million in seed funding to grow its reach across the country.

A subsidiary of the hugely popular brand, Burgreens — a Jakarta-based eatery chain serving customizable plant-based foods — The Green Butcher is Indonesia’s first alternative meat analog company that offers plant-based meat alternatives, aka vegetarian or vegan meat, as well as an assortment of vegetal proteins.

The Green Butcher was selected by Starbucks Indonesia as the provider of the first plant-based menu in all its stores across the country. Among the selections are: plant-based wellington pocket, plant-based focaccia bread and plant-based Sloppy Joe sandwich.

Tara Basro, one of Indonesia’s most popular leading ladies, recently changed her eating pattern to incorporate plant-based foods. According to her testimony, after embracing a plant-based lifestyle and following through with the habit, she feels healthier and more energetic. Even when her friends question her choice to shift her lifestyle, Tara said it doesn’t bother her and instead continues to limit her food consumption to plant-based foods. 

Begin your plant-based journey

If you’re looking for ways to start your own plant-based journey, here are few tips you can use:

  • Substitute meat with plants

Don’t cross all animal products off your food list just yet, and rather try to substitute them with vegetal proteins like a legume (all variants of beans).

  • Formulate a meatless habit

Once you have aced the art of substituting meat with plants, you can try to go off meat completely for a short period of time.

  • Research popular plant-based menus

Don’t judge it until you try it. Most people think they won’t like plant-based foods until they give them a try, at which point they usually fall in love with the foods. By doing research, you’ll gain a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t for you.

At Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), we understand the incredible benefits of a plant-based lifestyle — it is the reason we encourage all of our employees to consume more plant-based foods. Moreover, we also support their healthy lifestyles by connecting them with local food producers around RAPP’s operational site through the Toko Andalan mobile app.

Easily accessible, the app provides options for RAPP employees to choose from a list of local vendors when purchasing fresh plant-based ingredients, such as fruits and vegetables. The service is similar to GoMart; and by promoting local businesses, we also aim to boost the local economy.

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