Correspondent Ben Tracy asked actress Tabitha Brown, “Have you ever considered making a jackfruit taco for your lunch?”

“Honey, absolutely not. Four years ago, I did not think I would be vegan. Who knew? Isn’t that something life can change?”

If you were to ask someone to spread the gospel of plant-based eating, Tabitha Brown would have been an impossible messenger, given the food she grew up with: “Honey, I grew up with everything. I’m from Carolina. “North, baby; I ate a few things I should not have eaten – a lot of fried foods, a lot of pork and beef, chicken, of course.”

Tracy asked, “So what did you think of vegans?”

“I honestly thought, this is for white men, especially white women who do yoga, and maybe they are in a cult,” she laughed. “Honey, so thought Tab!”

Brown now believes that giving up all animal products and becoming vegan is what finally put an end to her chronic pain and fatigue. But she could never have imagined what would happen as well.

“And boy, did things happen – I could not have dreamed this or thought this.”

Tabitha Brown serves jackfruit tacos to correspondent Ben Tracy.

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She took her daughter’s advice and started posting videos on TikTok, a healthy mix of what to eat, seasoned with an idea of ​​how to live. The videos have garnered millions of views. She now has a bestseller, “Feeding the Soul” and several corporate partnerships.

She said, “My goal is not to judge anyone or force someone on my lifestyle. My goal is just to share what he did for me. And representation matters, right? So now, when people think about vegans, they also think of a Black Woman with an afro, okay? “

Recipe by Tabitha Brown:

Only 5% of American households are vegan or vegetarian. But these days there are many you can call “curious plants”. Many omnivores are now switching to a few meats with vegetables, in a diet often referred to as “plant-based”, or even “flexible”.

“Plant-based food is a big trend,” said Marie Molde, a food trend analyst at Datassential. She said about 25% of Americans now eat a flex diet and that plant-based is one of the fastest growing conditions on restaurant menus, with nearly 3,000 in just the last four years.

Much of this is thanks to plant-based meat alternatives. Beyond and Impossible burgers have proven that it is possible to make plants taste like meat – the innovation is now spreading throughout the supermarket.

Molde said, “Name any animal protein or animal product, and now there is a plant-based alternative.”

Seventy-one percent of consumers have tried a plant-based meat and more than half say they are willing to pay more for it.

“There are two main reasons why people are turning to plant-based foods,” Molde said. “The first is health, and the second reason, and this is a major reason, is that plant-based food is thought to be better for our planet and better for the environment.”

Global food production accounts for one-third of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change, and raising animals for food (especially cows) accounts for almost twice as much global warming emissions as plant-based foods. .

“No one wants to be told what not to do; they want to be given a solution,” said Ross Mackay, co-founder and CEO of Daring Foods, a California-based company that makes plant-based chicken products. away Scotland east of Mackay. “I was kicked out when I stopped eating Scottish beef!”

Cooking some plant-based alternatives to chicken, produced by Daring.

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Tracy said, “I gave up eating red meat but still eat a ton of chicken. Are you trying to convert people from real chicken to this?”

“Our mission is, of course, to rethink chicken from the food system,” Mackay replied. “How do we do that? We go after the chicken lover. It’s going to go after you. ”

The average American eats about 100 pounds of chicken each year; are 8 billion chickens, mostly raised on large factory farms. The Daring chicken product is made from soy protein and is created to mimic the structure of the real thing.

Tracy took some samples: “That sounds ridiculous to say, but it tastes like chicken!”

Daring launched its first product in the already crowded alternative poultry market less than two years ago. It is now in more than 6000 retail stores.

“So what is the chicken product you think you need to create to really disrupt this market?” Asked Tracy.

“Chicken cutlet is a very sacred chicken oyster,” Mackay said. “From an innovation perspective, it’s the hardest to follow. But we’re at the forefront of that. We’ve just got started.”

But Ran Nussbacher asks himself: what if we just liked to eat our vegetables? “People want real food, and real food should only be real food and not pretend to be something that is not,” he said.

Nussbacher is the founder of Shouk, a chain of Israeli street food restaurants in Washington, DC, where food, including their famous Shouk Burger, is proudly planted.

Vegetarian burger Shouk.

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“If the goal is to reconnect people with the plant world and eat more vegetables, grains and seeds, then why spend all this effort to hide it as something different?” tha Nussbacher. “Our philosophy is to do the exact opposite – to show people experimentally that cauliflower can taste great.”

Nussbacher said protecting the planet for future generations is his motivation for placing plants at the center of our dishes.

“I have two small children,” he said, “and unlike Elon Musk, I do not want my children or my future grandchildren to grow up on Mars because we destroyed this planet. There is a misconception that the solution “Climate change is about buying a Tesla. The solution to climate change is to reduce the amount of meat we eat and eat more vegetables.”

For more information:

The story produced by Reid Orvedahl. Editors: Ed Givnish.

Look Food Problem Recipe Index “Sunday Morning” 2021 for menu suggestions from chefs, cookbook authors, flood writers and restorers featured in our program, and New York Times Cooking writers and editors.